How to Flip Your Classroom Without Screencasting Your Face
Updated: Jul 23, 2018
A few years ago, I took an online graduate course for continuing education credits on an emerging idea in education: the flipped classroom. Flipped learning involves the teacher recording lessons, mostly through screencasts, and assigning these video lessons for homework in hopes to introduce new concepts to students outside the classroom, saving class time for what is traditionally assigned as homework.
Flippers argued that students of the “digital age” were used to learning content through videos (My own children have certainly become examples of this) and that we were doing a disservice to students by assigning the challenging work, evidence that they’ve grasped the concepts, as homework, when students really needed the teacher’s help and guidance during this work. In addition, flippers suggested that a lot of class time was wasted reteaching concepts because students were daydreaming, distracted, in the bathroom, or absent during the traditional, in-class lesson.
Flipped learning struck me. It made sense to me that in the invention of the institution of school years ago, teachers had to teach through direct instruction in class and assign the challenging work for homework. Students came to school to learn because it was one of the only places a student could learn from an expert. And teachers did not have enough time to both teach and have students work through problems in school. In addition, school was created to develop compliant workers. Sit and learn was, of course, the go-to method after the Industrial Revolution.
However, the world is different now. It’s smaller. As the Industrial Revolution changed education a century ago,
globalization is changing and should change education now.
We have access to information on anything we want to learn about and we can learn about anything through almost any method we want. Learn visually? Learn through demonstration? Learn by reading? Learn by listening? Learn by interviewing? Any and every method of learning is available to us. (In fact, here's a spot-on video about flipped learning for you visual and auditory learners).
Nevertheless, when I took the flipped classroom grad class a few years ago, flipped learning was demonstrated as recording screencasts or straight-up recording traditional lessons and delivering these lessons through a website, LMS or YouTube.
There were tips: Use good lighting, buy a decent microphone, use a whiteboard or PowerPoint, and, of course,
show your face.
And so, I tried it. I recorded a few screencasts. I recorded a couple lessons. I compared. I contrasted. I criticized.
And I hated them.
Why did I sound so flat? Why was I standing like that? Where did my humor go? Why was I rambling? Where was the energy?
Where was my creativity?
I’m not saying that there aren’t teachers who can create amazing screencasts. I watched my coworkers’ videos. I watch hours and hours of great screencasted lessons on YouTube. I got it. But mine? I was too much of a perfectionist (I blame it on being an English teacher).
So I began to search for others ways to flip.
And thus, my series on How to Flip Your Classroom without Screencasting Your Face
This series will be broken down by flipped lesson type (I know “type” is an overused word, but until vocabulary has never been my strong suit). Please feel free to steal, comment, and give recommendations. I would certainly love to keep this as a living list of tools and examples as we all know how quickly the edtech world changes.