Guest Post on an Overview / Intro to Flipping

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My thanks to Heather for letting me post this email that she sent to the foreign language group that’s going to be flipping some lessons and the end of the month.

In order for us to get the most out of the day, there are a few things to consider in advance — 1) which device do you want to use to create these lessons — the laptop or iPads?  2) what types of lessons are you interested in flipping?  This will help us decide which tools  will be the most helpful in creating these lessons.

Finally, I have been taking an on-line class with Ed and also went to Mary Barber and Ed’s flipped technology resources work day and so I’m going to send you a few links that might be of interest.  The first ones will be about the flipping concept in general — they are short and quick (modeling what ours should be!).  The other links are a couple of possible tools.

General Intro Info: – a schematic with overview — Aaron Sams – one of the first people who kind of got this approach going….a quick video with an overview  — a slide share (lots of slides but don’t be intimidated, it goes quickly) – main purpose is to see the framework for flipping on the first slide if you just want to look at one thing!

For laptop: this is free – — there is a tutorial here (and then you can get a free t-shirt if you actually go through the quick tutorials and create your own lesson!).    I think I may use Sophia a lot this year – I’m going to try a lesson now and can let you know, but it is pretty easy and you can bring in your own powerpoint, videos, audios, and can do screen capture (video what is on your screen, including a picture of yourself in the corner if you want).  You then can create a quiz, discussion thread, etc…and monitor how the kids do (they have to log in, but it’s free).

IF you just want to have them review a powerpoint or video at home and nothing else, I think I’m going to go with It’s Learning, trying to simplify for the kids (and me) and keep everything in one place.  You can also put in an assignment, or a quiz, or survey and have them respond to it as part of the flip.

Finally – quick and easy if you want to use videos from YouTube (and there are a lot) – TedEd –  check it out.  It is truly quick and easy and if you create your own videos you can put them on YouTube and flip them here.  There is a big “FLIP NOW” button if you want to just give it a try.  There are a couple steps as you can create a quiz, discussions, post links for further exploration.

For iPad: I would go with Doceri at this point. (You might try to download at the iTunes store, don’t know if you’ll need administrator permission).   The free version has a little water mark with Doceri on it, but it does not bother me or the kids.  This is perfect if you just want to write (on the iPad) a few slides – like how to conjugate -er verbs – and then record your voice over and annotate on your own slides as you talk.  You can easily export to YouTube and post for kids.

Flipping Experiment: Knowmia


Knowmia is a teacher community that is focused on and based on video lessons to be shared among both teachers and students. There is a website where teachers can save their lessons; import material from YouTube, Vimeo, and Prezi; share them with others; and access others’ shared lessons; and there is an iPad app that allows for lesson creation. They also have in beta an Assignment Wizard, which seems to allow interactivity to be added to lessons (questions, etc.) whose data can be tracked by the teacher (similar, it sounds like, to Ted.Ed but, it seems, with more versatility as Ted.Ed can only interact with YouTube videos; see here for my take on Ted.Ed).

Knowmia seems to have a lot of potential. The idea of the community is intriguing in that it collects already made videos for teachers to search (yes, YouTube does the same but there’s a lot more chaff to go through there to get to the wheat), and it seems to be very flexible in that I can create my own lessons using the iPad app (similar to other flipping apps) or I can use  already existing material on common sites (Prezi, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). The Assignment Wizard seems to almost take an iMovie approach to a lesson, i.e. you build a single video out of clips, some of which might be pre-existing clips (YouTube, your own lessons, etc.), some of which are the questions that the Assignment Wizard lets you create. They questions can’t be integrated with or overlaid on a video but can follow, precede, etc. Not quite the gamechanger I was hoping for but an interesting possibility.

I used the Knowmia iPad app to create a lesson. Although the interface was a bit busy at first, once I got used to it it was very easy to use and very user friendly (some improvements here over Explain Everything). The left column and bottom column, with the ‘Create Step’ and ‘Add Prop’ buttons is somewhat counterintuitive, but once you confirm that indeed ‘step’ is slide and ‘prop’ is media the interface is very easy and very quick. Another nice feature that took a bit to get used to was the Knowmia will pause the recording as it does something add in a picture or slide.


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Perhaps the only downside to Knowmia is its proprietary nature. As far as I can tell, it holds everything on its site and students access everything through its site. This is fine if you (or I or a school) is going to commit to it but as an add-on it seems an unnecessary extra account for students to have. I understand their perspective and its focus on community and sharing but such a focus requires a commitment, a commitment that I might not be willing to make because of all of the other accounts that both I and my students are now juggling.

Flipping Experiment: Stage

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Stage is an iPad app that is free but that costs 1.99 to add video recording (and uploading, etc.). It is a simple and clean interface (although defaulting to the iPad’s camera as the background was both disconcerting and misleading; I wasn’t sure if it was a flipping / white board app at that point) with two simple icons at upper right and an collapsing arrow at the top of both sides. These arrows are the two tool menus (the image / space below is a screen shot of the Stage screen; note the arrow below that indicates this).

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The left arrow opens the background and pen menu: pretty standard stuff. Not a lot of options for backgrounds: white, black, photo, or camera, but that’s fine by me; sometimes too many choices is unnecessary and distracting, though perhaps a neutral would be a nice third color option (the throwback chalk board green seems a popular one). There are five colors for the pen with three weights each, an eraser tool, and a pointer tool.

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The right menu is the intriguing one, and Stage’s potentially unique feature. It is a series of labels, much like the stickers used by lawyers to indicate where to sign a document. Some come premade but you can add your own, which is a nice touch. I do wish there were some flexibility in them, i.e. they could be rotated, but it’s an interesting idea.

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You’ll note that in neither menu is there a slide button. It seems (and this may change with the record option purchased) that Stage functions like a straight blackboard, i.e. you have one surface that you use and reuse (fill, erase, fill again, etc.) rather than the likely more customary slide structure, which allows previous notes to be preserved, even if not recorded (think PowerPoint).

Overall, Stage is probably not quite enough of anything to be a go-to or a first attempt at flipping. It has some nice features, the labels especially, but the in-app video purchase feels a bit like a bait-and-switch and the lack of a slide structure is something I miss.

Flipping Experiment: Explain Everything

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I’m trying out some means for flipping the classroom and just used Explain Everything on the iPad. The basic format is a board on which to write and a series of tools at left with some additional tools and status information at the bottom.

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Overall, Explain Everything did a nice job of combining the graphic and the aural. The interface itself is smooth and largely intuitive, though there were a few ambiguities I had to get used to: the insert object and insert new slide buttons were a bit confusing at first, especially with arrows on either side of the slide-number indicator at bottom that would suggest the addition of a new slide. Also, the buttons toggle on and off, such that you tap, say, the pen to turn it on and then tap it to turn it off; other programs use this active tap to display options (pen color, weight, etc.), which I would have preferred here. It is difficult to include media without interrupting the flow of the recording (and I simply forgot to hit pause) and playback defaults to playing a slide at a time, i.e. whatever work was done for one slide plays and then stops until the slide is manually advanced to the next and play has to be hit again. I suspect this is more for the teacher than the student so that the teacher can assess the work but it was slightly frustrating to have to do that for each slide.

So overall, Explain Everything is a good iPad option for flipping the classroom. My criticisms are largely minor and it produced a decent, if awkward and stilted, 4 minute video with little trouble. Here’s the video if you want to check it out (and keep in mind that the focus here is on the tool rather than the content; I didn’t script or plan much of the video and that shows in the final product).

UDL and the Flipped Classroom

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Another reading for the Framingham State course included this post on UDL (Universal Design for Learning). UDL takes the basic idea of flipping the classroom and fine tunes it a bit, with an emphasis on greater student autonomy within the flipped model, including multiple means of representation within the flipped resource and multiple means of expression for the student. (One question that arises is whether multiple means of representation can occur within one medium, e.g. the video, or whether they should be separate, i.e. a video is provided as well as a website, rather than including a link within the video to that website. I’m guessing the former.)

When I was designing the TEC Latin I course, I started to include videos from YouTube as part of the ‘readings’. These videos were of course flipped classroom-type videos (OERs, I’ve learned: Open Educational Resources) made by Latin teachers. I was struck by the different approaches that each teacher / video took and thought it would be interesting to categorize them here, especially in terms of the UDL concept of multiple means of representation. (And these categories can of course apply to any flipped video, but the Latin videos are the ones with which I have the most experience.)

  • the videotaped lecture: a teacher giving a lecture and videotaping that lecture; the graphics are provided by the teacher writing on a white board (one teacher varied this approach by using a pre-made handout as the ‘white board’ and videotaping his hand supplementing that handout has he spoke)
  • the annotated powerpoint: a pre-made powerpoint that the teacher then supplements with her voice and/or annotations, the former in one case being provided by a screen-in-screen head shot of the teacher talking (perhaps the most literal incarnation of the talking head)
  • the hybrid: some combination of teacher lecture (usually voice only) with a combination of other resources (graphics, other videos, etc.); this is a variation on the annotated powerpoint, and in fact powerpoint is an option for organizing these resources but I at least find the powerpoint format somewhat limiting
  • the borrow: using another’s lecture wholesale in place of one made by the teacher (this of course is what I did for the TEC Latin I course)

My goal is the hybrid but of course this is the most labor-intensive approach. My concern about the flipped videos is bringing some order to the vast number of resources out there, not only digital resources but also print resources that I would incorporate as well. Any thoughts on how to do that…?

Here are some Latin video collections / teachers that have produced flipped classroom videos on YouTube:

  • VisualLatin (taped lecture): not a full curriculum but a promo series of videos of VisualLatin but nonetheless some good vidoes
  • LatinTutorial (hybrid): an attractive set of videos, using Prezi-like presentation techniques
  • LearnLatinOnline (annotated powerpoint): not many videos and pretty simplistic that focus primarily on vocab but most videos are topical (numbers, animals, etc.) rather than grammar-based
  • Bob Smith (annotated powerpoint): a series of lectures based on the chapters in Wheelock
  • Marcus Apollonius (annotated powerpoint / hybrid): a bit of an eclectic collection, some on grammar, some on literature, and many using more text than voice and using Latin for grammatical terms
  • TuTubusLatinus (annotated powerpoint / hybrid): a good collection of well produced videos on a number of topics

There are some others, but I’ll leave the list at this for now. An interesting perspective I think on how different videos look to the viewer / consumer (and back to my original question above: how to bring some order to all of this…?).

Flipped Classroom Infogram

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Reading this post for the Flipped Classroom class at Framingham State, I came across this infogram (inforgraphis? typo? infographic?) and thought it was useful and interesting:


Flipped Classroom Resources

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I’ve begun my Framingham State course on the Flipped Classroom and here at least are some initial resources provided by the course:

  1. Google Art Project
  2. GoogleEarth Showcase. Includes monuments and other historical information.
  3. 100 Virtual Tours. A good collection of virtual tours of cities, monuments, history, etc.
  4. Khan Academy
  5. neoK12. Don’t know this one; will have to explore.
  6. Don’t know this one either.
  7. YouTube Education. Different I assume from TeacherTube?
  8. Academic Earth. ‘Online courses from the world’s top scholars.’
  9. MIT Open Courseware.
  10. iTunesU.
  11. Directory of Open Access Journals
  12. Flatworld Knowledge. ‘The First and Largest Publisher of Free and Open Textbooks’
  13. PrimaryPad. ‘A web-based word processor designed for schools that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time.’
  14. TodaysMeet. ‘Helps you embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience in real time.’

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