You are on page 1of 8

Creating your own Flipped Class

How to Create Videos that Engage Students and What your Classroom
Looks like After Flipping
eduCanon - February 18, 2015


What do the best videos look like?

As a teacher, you may think slick production is the way to go in building engaging
learning videos, but data out of MIT's edX1 shows that variables within your control (and
budget!) have more of an impact. I'm going to display two different types of video lessons
and I want you to consider which one would lead to higher student engagement:
Video 1 - This

10-minute video on the atomic structure is produced by a well-

respected production company. It is comprehensive and includes


advanced computer graphics with detailed visualizations of protons,


neutrons, electrons, and more.

Video 2 - This


six-minute video on the same subject is recorded by a teacher with no

background in video production. The video was recorded using a
consumer recording device and visualizations were hand-drawn.
While the video has a logical flow, it includes a lot of informal or offthe-cuff speaking that was clearly not scripted.

Teachers might assume that the first video, with its more professional production
quality and comprehensive overview of the subject material, would lead to better results and
higher student engagement. Considering our traditional relationship with video, through
pre-recorded televisions shows or DVDs made by experienced video producers, it is logical
for educators to assume the highest "quality" videos are most effective.
But new research and performance improvements we've tracked through the eduCanon
platform suggests otherwise. edX recently commissioned a study of nearly 1,000 videos,
segmenting them out by by video type and production style, and discovered this among their
other findings:
Shorter videos are more engaging. Engagement drops after 6 minutes.
Guo, Philip J., Juho Kim, and Rob Rubin. "How Video Production Affects Student Engagement: An Empirical
Study of MOOC Videos." EdX, 1 Mar. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.


Videos with a more personal feeling are more effective than high-fidelity studio
Videos in which the instructor speaks quickly and with high enthusiasm are more
Khan-style tablet drawings are more engaging than power point slides. You can find
more details on the edX study and the findings here.
Now lets break down the components of an engaging video lesson delivered through
eduCanon. This lesson made by Mr. Leatherwood, a math teacher from Bledsoe Elementary
School, and his colleagues covers adding and subtracting decimals:

1. Video length: Though there is a lot to cover on this topic Mr. Leatherwood kept his
video down to six minutes. He created other videos on related topics (like decimal place
value and comparing decimals) rather than try to cram everything into one video. He
segmented out the video with multiple choice questions from eduCanon so that his
students are engaged throughout the video and accountable to his lecture.
2. Personal feeling: Throughout the lesson Mr. Leatherwood makes jokes with his
colleagues and the lesson feels more like a conversation rather than a boring, dry runthrough of the topic. While there is a lot of extemporaneous speaking, there is a clear,
logical flow to the lesson with the examples building up in difficulty.


3. Presentation stye: Notice how the presenters speak quickly, but never at a speed
that is difficult to keep up with. The energy and enthusiasm is palpable, but never tiring.
4. Production style: No fancy equipment or editing was needed to make this lesson. A
simple iPad recording app like Explain Everything was used to create the video, uploaded
to YouTube, and delivered to the classroom through eduCanon.

5 Steps to a Perfect Flipped Video Lesson

We just discussed the pedagogy behind some of the highest-performing lessons video
lessons. Now I want to dive a little bit more into the nitty grittythe best techniques and
strategies that we've seen teachers use in effective lessons. Much of the information below
has been gleaned through direct interviews with eduCanon's master teachers.

Step 1 - Finding a purpose

Before jumping straight into the production of the video, have a clear instructional
vision. The instructional value can be virtually anything, but here are a few examples we've
seen videos being used for:
Content delivery -
Skills modelling -
Differentiation -
Review -
Introducing an assignment -
Step 2 - Finding the right tools
I'm going to divide video capture into two camps: screen casting and traditional video
recording. While there is some evidence to support the theory that Khan-style tablet
recordings perform better than standard powerpoint lectures, for the most part the
effectiveness of the video is less dependent upon the medium and more upon your comfort


If you are running a laptop or desktop device, Screencast-OMatic is a great place to start. It is free, web-based, and directly


records the audio and visuals on the screen at the click of a button.

For an eduCanon lesson built with Screencast-O-Matic, check out

m/public/ For more


advanced editing, ScreenFlow is great, but does require a purchase

($99 in the Mac App Store).
If you are creating videos with an iPad, Explain Everything and ShowMe does all you
need. The functionality is comprehensive and you have the option to export the recording
straight to YouTube (or use the ShowMe url with eduCanon).
Video Recording
Thankfully, it is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a video camera if you
already own a smartphone. Many eduCanon users build their video lessons with their
iPhones, iPads, or other smartphone device. If combined with a tripod (~$15 on Amazon),
you will have the steadiness and production capacity to create a high-quality recording.
Step 3 - Find your presentation style
This part is pretty easy. If you are screencasting or video recording, choose your form of
presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Presentations, whiteboard drawing, etc.).
Go through your presentation just as you usually would, but now your screencasting device
will capture your screen and voice. Of course, if you are using a tablet device you will be
using the presentation style of the chosen app.
Step 4 - Production!
For those in the traditional video recording camp, the most common mistakes we see in
video production relate to lighting, sound quality, and camera orientation. The light should


never be behind the subject (which is most likely you). If it is, shift the subject or the
recording device so light is facing the subject and not creating shadows. If you're using a
smartphone or other smaller recording device, try to get as close to the camera as possible in
order to have good audio while still maintaining decent visuals. It is common to see people
holding their smartphones vertically as they take a recording. Unfortunately, this is a bad
idea. In everything from YouTube to television, the aspect ratio is suited for horizontally
aligned recording.
As far as video length goes, try to keep the length down to 1.5 times the grade level of
the student. For instance for a fourth grade student, keep the lesson under 6 (4 x 1.5) minutes.
Step 5 - Share Away!
At the end of your recording, you will want to find a video hosting site to share the
lesson with your students. The most popular are YouTube, Vimeo, and (if your network
blocks the former) TeacherTube. If possible, I recommend YouTube as it is the most reliable
and the host adjusts the video resolution based upon the viewer's network strength.

What a classroom looks like for teachers and students

after flipping
Flipping your classroom is not just about the videos. Often times the discussion
surrounding the flipped classroom centers on the technical aspect of video creation and video
delivery, but in reality the flipped classroom revolves around the increased face-to-face time
that it affords teachers to interact with their students.


By taking the lower level Blooms activities outside of class through video, podcasts,
texts, or other medium, teachers are able to spend class time on higher-order activities.
And when the flipped classroom is coupled with the right technology, even more of
class time is devoted to active learning (as the beginning of class does not need to be spent
checking whether students watched the video or not).
So what are a couple of teachers doing with the increased class time they have due to
their flipped instruction? The examples below are taken from direct interviews with users of
1. Building a Music Video with Students
Carolyn Daniels teaches middle school literature, science, and social studies at OLMC
and is no stranger to the flipped classroom.
She flips her classroom so that she can spend more time connecting and working
through activities with her students rather than just talking at them. Moreover, she finds that
because her students are visual learners, watching a video is much more engaging than
reading a textbook.
She recently built an eduCanon lesson out of a Scientific Method rap video. With the
data that Carolyn captured from eduCanon, she understood before class where student
misconceptions lay and how to best group students for the next day's lesson. In class she
worked with her students on building their own scientific method rap video.
Scientific Method Rap Video by Carolyns students:


As Carolyn puts it, "It was an awesome experience for them", after all the students not
only watched a lesson, but also engaged the highest Blooms (creating) as they built their
2. Working on problem sets
Lawrence Whisenant teaches AP Physics at Arab High School in Alabama. Although he
loves working on problem sets with his students he found during his first year of teaching
that little time was left to work hands on with his students. Rather, the majority of his class
time was spent reviewing concepts and examples through traditional lectures.
Last year, Lawrence flipped his class for the first time so that he could work on problem
sets with his students in class and get a better understanding of the concepts that challenge
his students. Moreover, he wanted to make sure that he was with his students when
questions arise so he could correct misconceptions in the moment.
He used the iPad recording app, Explain Everything to deliver the basic concepts and
introductory examples outside of class. In order to ensure his students watched the video, he
embedded questions into the video lectures with eduCanon.
Lawrence attests that his lessons are more student-centered than ever. His students are
more engaged and class time is now used exclusively for student understanding.