Screencasting Tools for 2014: The Flipped Classroom

Lots of teachers across America have inverted their classrooms, and have found tremendous success doing so. I’m here to tell you what tools they’re using and where to find them. This post is also for those who still need convincing that 21st Century Learning encompasses much more than online research.

Flip Your Classroom and Stop Flipping Your Wig!

Flipping the Classroom. Is this yet another buzz phrase that will ultimately phase out before you can say, Smart Board? I’ve been into a few classrooms this week and I’ve seen some students nearly unravel at the seams trying to remember what their teachers said during lecture on the day before, and use that information during practice or an activity. Frustrations began to mount for both the children and their instructors.

I wondered if I could convince a few math teachers to consider flipping their lessons. I got a few raised eyebrows, but I’m convinced that with the know-how and the proper tools, they can turn things around, and make class much more pleasurable for all parties in the process. But first, there are a few questions I’ll need to answer.

What is it, exactly?

Flipping the classroom takes the pain out of lecturing (for you and your students) by recording lessons and posting them online. In the traditional setting, you’d stand before your pupils talking and presenting for ten to twenty minutes (for some it can top thirty), three to four times per day. In a flipped setting, a teacher can record that lesson once, have students view it before class, and use instructional time for hands-on activities and clearing up questions and misconceptions about the lesson.

If you do not record a screencast, simply upload (or share via Google Docs) a presentation to your LMS (Edmodo, Schoology, Canvas, etc.) or website, and assign a note-taking task, or questions that can only be answered by previewing the lesson.

STOP: Before you click away from this page, understand that screencasts can be saved as MP4 files onto a flash drive for students who do not have internet access at home.

How will it benefit my students?

Think about it. How many times have students returned from an absence during which time, they missed your lecture? For years, we told students, “Oh, you’re back…ok, get the notes from someone.” It’s sad but true. That student spends the rest of the unit in a fog because he or she cannot rewind the lesson and get a clear understanding of what you taught.

Let’s also consider the surprising fire drill, or the scheduled assemblies that may throw your second and fourth block classes out of synch with your first block students, causing you to deliver lecture on separate days. It’s likely that you’ll forget to tell one group something vital that you did remember to tell another.

If you flip your lessons, then all students can watch at their own pace, and review it when they have questions about concepts that you taught when they’re not with you.

How will it benefit me?

This is the number one question! The answer is simple: all things that benefit your students and their learning, ultimately benefit you. Period. Do it for the kids. Besides, once you’re comfortable with it, you can increase the level of technology infusion by teaching your students how to create screencasts, themselves!

The TechChic Recommends…

  1. Screencastify – Works well on Chromebooks with the Java plugin. Get the extension from the Chrome Store!
  2. Google+ Hangouts On Air – Broadcast your hangout, screencast a “How-to” demonstration, and share with the world.
  3. Educreations – Download from iTunes and use your iPad as a portable whiteboard. Animate your lessons and share with kids.
  4. Screenr – Easily make screencasts and share them to Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Download the MP4 file for children who are not connected at home.
  5. Jing – Capture stills or videos of sections of your screen, or in its entirety. Share everywhere!
  6. SlideSnack – Upload your PowerPoint presentations in a PDF file or any PDF document and record your voice as you explain for your viewers.

The biggest hill to climb is knowing where to start. Begin by converting current lessons, then when you’re ready, create new lessons. You can do it!

You can also share this post and follow the TechChic on Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe before you go. Now, let’s start screencasting, and flip those lessons! I promise, you’ll feel so much better…your students will too.


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