The Flipped Classroom – Simplicity Reply

Many people make the mistake of starting something that is too complicated. This same mistake can easily be made when flipping the classroom. First of all teachers should start small. Start flipping with just one class or maybe start with just one topic. Although ideally flipping should start on day one of the academic year, that is the ideal. There is no compelling reason why a teacher can’t try flipping in a particular topic.

Very important is  how one creates the screencasts. There are very sophisticated programs out there that can help one to create and edit a screencast. I would NOT recommend using any of them at first. Start simple. The cloud-based program Screencast-o-matic is a wonderful piece of software to begin creating screencasts. It is simple to use and can be accessed at http://screencast-o-matic.com from any computer. It records all movements on the computer screen within an adjustable rectangle along with audio. If you pay the $12/yr fee you can get the pro version which allows you to save files in screencast-o-matic format for future editing. What I like best is that it also can save your screencast as a video file and you can easily upload your screencast to YouTube as long as you have an account on the youtube site. Screencast-o-matic has very basic and simple editing features that is all most people need.

It is also important that teachers do not feel that they have to make a polished screencast. I have found that it can take 1 hour to make a 10 minute screencast. This includes preparation time. The amount of time devoted to creating a screencast could easily double and triple if you are a perfectionist. That is not the point. When you are lecturing in front of the classroom you are not perfect. It is OK to make mistakes and then immediately correct them. Watch some of the screencasts at the Khan Academy site and you will see what I mean.

Simplicity is the key. Plan your screencasts, use easy software to record them such as screencast-o-matic and don’t be a perfectionist. The place where you want to be most creative is in the classroom. That is the point of the flipped classroom. Devote your time and creative energies to implementing a dynamic, creative and collaborative classroom. That is where all of your efforts will be rewarded.  Good luck!

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