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Multiple Literacies & Web 2.0

ShaZam! Multiple Literacies in the 21st Century School Library

How To Flip This Lesson

Step by Step Tutorial on how to flip your classroom using TED-Ed and YouTube

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Creating a Screencast

·         Screencasting software. The bad news is that free screencasting software doesn't cut the mustard. The good news is that there are options out there for all budgets. Camtasia is my personal favorite, and if you have the budget, it's worth the investment. Camtasia is so easy to learn and use, you'll be up and running in no time. Another option is Adobe Captivate, which is definitely for the advanced user. The advantage with Captivate is that you can add quizzes and interactions for enhanced learning. And blending Camtasia and Captivate together can result in pure awesomeness! But, if you don't have the budget for either one of those (or both), Screencast-O-Matic PROis a viable option. And it will only run you $15 a year.

·         Microphone. Do not overlook the all important mic. Don't be tempted to use the built-in mic in your computer - it won't sound good. And buying a super cheap desktop mic will also ensure poor sound quality. Invest a little in a decent USB mic, and you should be happy with the results. A USB headset mic is another reasonable option. Either one can be found in a range of prices, but the better models out there run around $100. Also, don't forget that mics can easily pick up background noise, so make sure to record in a quiet area.

·         Scripting. Before you sit down to record, write out a script of what you are going to say, screen by screen. Scripting alleviates the need to record audio over and over again, and it also forces you to analyze each step the learner needs to know to accomplish what you are trying to teach. If you think of a screencast as a mini-movie, think of the script as your dialogue. Unless you are a brilliant improviser, scripting saves you a lot of time!

·         Voice. If you can, find someone with a good recording voice. Although we can't help how we sound, scratchy or pitchy voices, or voices that are too loud can really irritate a listener.

·         Length. Keep the length of the screencast to roughly 3 minutes. If you find yourself going longer, consider breaking it down into two or more screencasts.You will likely lose the attention of your learner if you go much longer than that.

·         Editing audio. For audio, you have two options: record screen action and audio at the same time, or add the audio later. This is a personal preference, so figure out which one works best for you. Either way, with good screencasting software, your audio should be very easy to edit.

·         Adding graphics. Don't go overboard (simple is best), but using graphics such as arrows or other shapes is a good way of drawing the learner's attention to the important action on the screen.

·         Adding captions. The major rule for adding captions is to limit the text to two or three keywords that describe what is going on in the tutorial. NEVER include the exact same narrative that you are speaking in the caption. This distracts the learner and can lead to cognitive overload.


What You Get When You "Flip This Lesson"
Playing on the recent "Flipped Classroom" craze popularized by the Khan Academy, Anderson and the TED Ed team have stepped into the fray with a platform that allows educators to remix TED videos to supplement them with additional content. Here is what it looks like:



What You Get When You "Flip This Lesson"

The new platform allows some nice enhancements of TED videos. In fact, it now seems quite a bit like the Khan Academy – which is not surprising since Salman Khan is listed as one of the contributors to the project. In addition to using the platform with any YouTube video, you can take an interactive quiz associated with the video, "Think" about the video, "Dig Deeper" into the content of the video, "…And Finally," leave your students with something to ponder. Here is a bit more about each new feature:

  • Open Content – The ability to plug any YouTube video into the "Flip This Lesson" platform is a really nice feature that allows teachers to develop flipped lessons around any video they might find on YouTube or to create their own that they can then use the platform to enhance. Though not yet available, this really is a fantastic feature and one that might help with ushering in the future of the flipped classroom.
  • Interactive Quizzes – This is a nice concept, but in my attempt to flip a lesson on my own I was limited to only the pre-determined questions that were set in advance. Perhaps this will change when the platform is finalized. It would have to if teachers are actually going to be allowed to upload their own videos or flip non-TED YouTube videos into lessons. According to the press release, there will also be a function which allows teachers to track student progress. If this proves to be similar to the robust tools in Khan Academy, it will be an excellent feature.
  • "Think" – This feature gives students the capability to share their thoughts about the content and was fully customizable when I tried to flip the lesson. This is a nice feature to allow for reflection on the content or to provide an opportunity for the teacher to prompt deeper thinking.
  • "Dig Deeper" – This is a catch-all category where the instructor can add enrichment links or activities. It is very open right now and might benefit from some more structure and a more robust interface beyond just adding text and links. What about assignments sheets and the possible need to print things out? Minor tweaks, but important.
  • "…And Finally" – This is just a blank space for instructor thoughts or ideas to ponder. This space seems superfluous as it can easily be incorporated into the "Dig Deeper" section.  It also only allows for 150 characters, so it might as well contain a social media plug-in that allows for an actual Twitter conversation.

Checking My List of TED Ed Suggestions
In my original article on TED Ed I suggested five features that I would like to see in the final version of the platform. Here’s how the beta version of Ted Ed stacks up to my ideal model.

  • Linked resources – TED Ed beta meets this criterion to a limited extent through the "Think" section which allows teachers some flexibility in including additional resources for student enrichment. But there is no area in which resources can be shared to help other teachers implement these flipped lessons with their own students.
  • Social collaboration for lesson development – This is a feature that is not present, but one which would be extremely useful for teachers. There is no reason that a single teacher needs to be solely responsible for flipping a lesson when they could be supported in collaborating with their colleagues to make the entire process less of a burden.
  • Associated discussions of lessons – Currently there is no dedicated space for teachers or students to discuss the lessons or post questions that they might have.
  • Curation /sharing of lessons – This is where the model seems like it is going to work, but falls short. It appears that every lesson that gets flipped could be shared publically by clicking on "Flips," but this is not the case. Right now only the pre-made content is shared publically and teachers can flip that content, but they cannot view the efforts of their colleagues. This limitation isolates teachers when the platform could be used to bring them together.
  • Full lessons available – Each of the flipped lessons that I looked at was a stand-alone mini lesson and none contained support to help teachers integrate the TED Ed content into a larger lesson or unit. While these are very interesting videos, it would help teachers much more to have guidance on how they can be used in the broader classroom context
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