Monday, March 4, 2013

Ten Do's and Don'ts for the Flipped Classroom

Have you Flipped Yet?

My blog post in February 2012 discussed the flipped classroom model. One year later, the Flipped Classroom Model  has become more and more commonplace in classrooms everywhere and at all levels. In the  Flipped Classroom Model, teachers record and post video lectures to explain the lesson instead of providing the lectures in class. The students then view the videos on demand or at home on their computers or mobile devices. When students arrive to class, they spend class time actively engaged working on the lesson objectives instead of  listening to a lecture and taking notes. If you haven't tried this model yet and want to, or if you have just started, it is a good idea to know what should you do and not do to make this work for your classroom.


  1. Communicate with parents and students first! Write a letter or  post a video to explain this style of learning. Be prepared for questions and ready to help both  parents and students understand that the flipped classroom is not anything new; it is just a new way for students to prepare for class.
  2. Provide an alternative for students to view the video in case they do not have access to the internet or technology. Some teachers make a DVD of their recordings and allow students to take that home or check out.Even if the student doesn't have a home computer, chances are they have a DVD player of some sort.  Some teachers offer before or after school viewing times as well. 
  3. Organize and maintain consistency when posting video lectures.  If you have a teacher web site or if you use an LMS such as Edmodo or Schoology, or a combination of resources,  just make sure students have a consistent place to retrieve the lessons. Choose one place to upload and stick with it.   
  4. Ensure the students are participating. Create a short handout, quick interactive poll (using a site like Socrative), or a short Google form (<click this link)  for students to submit to document they viewed the lesson. 
  5. Produce your own content too. Don't rely solely on external resources. Students value their teacher's input! Just remember to keep video lessons under 5 minutes whenever possible. If the lesson is involved and requires a longer video, then section the lesson in 5 minute increments.


  1. Think that once you create a flipped lesson, that you won't have to recreate it again next year. A successful flipped classroom updates information with current resources and tailors the lesson to meet the current student needs. 
  2. Rush to flip every lesson. A flipped classroom can't be built in a day! Start slowly by posting a few video lectures and evaluate and make changes as needed. 
  3. Assume that students will watch the material. Students will have to be held accountable for viewing the material. Knowing that a quick pre-class assessment will be waiting for them, encourages students to view and participate.  
  4. Assume the flipped classroom is rigid. It's not. Be prepared to be flexible more than ever before. Expect an increase for 1:1 time and the need for more extended activities. 
  5. Be boring! Practice your video voice and presence! Nothing will cause a student to lose interest faster than a monotone boring voice. Try some of the resources listed below to provide excitement to your lessons. 

Flipped Classroom Tools

Screencast-O-matic is a free desktop screen-casting tool that lets you add audio commentary and use your webcam too. This tool works great for more detailed lessons too. There is nothing to install. Just one click and you are ready to record. A free subscription provides 15 minutes of recording time and 15 minutes of free video hosting per upload. It can be published directly to YouTube or students can easily download the files.

Explain and Send: A New Google Chrome Extension

Explain and Send is a a new feature in Google Chrome that allows selection of all or a portion of your screen.Writing tools such as type, arrows, and more allow annotations to be made directly on the image. It works with Google docs too, allowing  copying and pasting.  After you have created your screen capture, a link will be provided that you can post or share.

Explain Everything
The Explain Everything App does it all: annotations, animations, narrations, explanations, and presentations. You can create interactive lessons, activities, and assessments too. This app turns your iPad into an interactive whiteboard using your video display and microphone. You can also import images, powerpoints and more. Just export your project and post for instant access.

Use What You Already Have

Microsoft PowerPoint (2007 and greater) makes it easy to create a narrated video of your presentation. Just get a microphone and present from your computer, save the video file, then post it to your flipped classroom site. For more information, check out detailed instructions here.

ActivInspire has a recording feature built right in! This tool will record all your actions, annotations and all things associated with your flipchart. For more information on how to use the screen recorder, login to Promethean planet and download the ActivInspire User Guide. Page 44 details information about how to use the screen recorder.

What are You Doing?

Have you flipped your classroom yet? How did it go? Do you have questions? We would love to hear your comments and suggestions. 


  1. I love your posts! They are always helpful. Thank you!!!

  2. I got some great ideas here. I love the form idea. I am going to try this for the first time after spring break. Thanks for a great informative posting.

  3. We have had lots of success with the Flipped Classroom model at Carroll Middle. Jennifer W.

  4. I have been "flipping" my classroom for about 5 years now. Never had a name for what we were doing - we just did it! I love it! As a science teacher, this gives me so much more time to do hands on activites and science labs so that my students can really experience what they have learned. There are definitely some ups and downs, but the good truly outweighs the bad. I love helping others get started on flipping their own classrooms.