An Essential Guide to Videos for a Flipped Classroom

39267299_sSince 2007, flipped classrooms have gradually risen in popularity as a mode of education throughout the country. Students and teachers alike have embraced the concept of maximizing class time with an instructor to work with and understand new concepts as opposed to introducing material which students are expected to comprehend at home. Instead, students are introduced to ideas during “homework” and complete school work during class when the instructor is available to assist them.

Instructor made videos are a primary way through which faculty “teach” students at home. As opposed to assigning reading about the topic or directing students to online resources, instructor made videos are a fantastic way to instruct students in a personable manner. But many instructors do not know how to create such videos or how to distribute them to their students.

John Bregmann and Aaron Sams, pioneers in the flipped classroom experience, outline simple and easy-to-use video tools in their article, Flipped-Learning Toolkit: Let’s Talk Tech on Edutopia.org. Popular solutions which they detail include:

  • Screencasting
  • Tablet Software
  • Document Camera-Based Solutions
  • Camera-Based Solutions

For more information and to learn how to improve your flipped classroom check out this article here.

Five Questions to Ask When Integrating Educational Technology

question mark with laptopThe technology boom is quickly catching up with education. New educational technologies appear on the marketplace every month on top of the already existing and constantly improving methods. While every technology might seem appealing and applicable, it can be difficult to sift through them all and choose which ones to implement in your traditional or online classroom.

Ask yourself these five crucial questions when you explore the educational technology. These questions can act as a guide and support you in your efforts to find the perfect new tool for your course.

1. What problem does the new technology solve?

Each tool is made to solve a problem, never to reinvent the wheel. Since the field of educational technology is quickly growing, there are usually dozens of tools which seem very similar. If you can understand what issue the technology was created to solve, it can aid in your decision whether or not to implement it in your course.

Many companies publish articles, shoot videos, or host webinars explain their technology. Check out those resources to uncover the essence of every new educational technology.

2. Will this technology help my students?

Once you understand what a technology does, turn to see if it would benefit your students. For example, while a Prezi might be an excellent way for students in a history course to present their research, students in a computer science course might need to practice coding instead of explaining the concept.

Implement the technology only if the problem which it solves is one that your students have.

3. What type of assignments will be the most effective with this technology?

Just like each technology serves a specific purpose, each technology also has a best way for it to be used. Do not assume that an old assignment will be transformed for the better once paired with the new tool. Rather, adjust the assignment to work with the new technology.

For instance, if you will be implementing a collaborative research tool, consider changing the assignment type. Instead of requiring students to use their textbooks as the primary source, encourage them to pool online resources and take full advantage of the technology’s collaborative capabilities.

Review existing assignments to pinpoint learning objectives. Once those are clarified, pair the learning objectives with the new technology. In doing so, you will fully utilize the tool and effectively teach the learning objectives.

4. How should I teach my students about the new technology?

It is important to remember that your students will most likely be unfamiliar with this new method of instructions. Therefore, be sure to instruct your students in how to use the learning technology.

It might be helpful to link to the tool’s website or share videos which the company produced outlining how the tool works. Additionally, you can provide your own written explanation. Be sure to have a “practice assignment” so that students can familiarize themselves with the technology before they need to use it for credit.

5. Who should I ask for help about the new technology?

Ask your institution’s Instructional Designer for guidance regarding which technologies he recommends and how to best implement it. He can help you navigate which technologies will be best for your course and assist in the implementation of the tool.

What questions do you ask when you start using a new technology?

Video Animation in an Online Course

tv photoThis title might seem like an anomaly. Animation brings to mind silly cartoons and juvenile programming. Animation, however, can be an appealing and advantageous supplement in an online classroom.

Here are five great benefits of using animated videos:

  1. Create a “trailer” for your course – Spark interest. Show by example that the course will be dynamic and exciting, not a simple correspondence course.
  2. Demonstrate professionalism – Fireworks and special effects are not enough to grab a student’s interest. While students value technology, they appreciate technology that makes sense. A video animation tool assists you in merging your logic and creativity to produce a clean and exciting delivery of your ideas.
  3. As an assignment – An instructor needs to evaluate a student’s progress. Generally, evaluations are conducted in the forms of writing responses. The assignment to create a short, animated film can be a different and compelling way to encourage student involvement and assess student progress.
  4. As collaboration – Group work is always important. Videos can be produced in groups and easily shared through many social media. This can generate stimulating discussion about the subject matter.
  5. Provide visual instruction – Educators know that it is important to teach to all types of learners; audial learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Animated videos can serve as visual and audial instruction and even create a broader learning experience.

Video Animation Tools

Though it may look difficult, it is easy for instructors to produce professional-looking videos. Check out these five video animation tools which empowers design novices to create incredible productions.

  1. VideoScribe – This tool specializes in whiteboard animation, a very popular promotional animation style. Images are drawn on screen imitating what an instructor might do on a whiteboard in front of the classroom. VideoScribe can be accessed on a computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle.
  2. Go Animate – This tool aims to give their customers a professional style videos which are easy and fun to create. Users can choose themes, backgrounds, music, and even animated characters to enhance the presentation.
  3. Wideo – With the ability to choose pre-existing templates or start from scratch, Wideo users can take advantage of the intuitive interface to easily create modern and sleek animation.
  4. PowToon – This animation tool strives to enable users to design exciting and professional videos. Recognizing the importance of education, PowToon also specializes in enabling and training teachers to use it in their classrooms.
  5. Moovly – Complete with state-of-the art animation features, Moovly can students and teachers with special deals and educational licenses in order to harness its functions in the classroom.

How do you use video animation in your online classroom?

5 Effective Ways to Communicate Expectations Online

Effective communication road signsStudents want to succeed. They want to manage their time well, learn new information, and submit assignments on time. Each online course is structured differently, so at the beginning of the semester, students try to understand what each professor expects of them.

Sometimes, it is more difficult to communicate expectations in an online course. But it is crucial that the professors and students all be on the same page to have an enjoyable learning experience together.

Here are five tips to clearly communicate expectations to students and, in doing so, enhance an online course:

  1. Maximize the syllabus. Each Learning Management System (LMS) has various ways to organize information. In the syllabus, inform students under which categories they can find different assignments or resources.
  1. Make a routine. Students often feel more comfortable if they know what to expect. Just like each class period in a traditional classroom usually follows a certain pattern, it is ideal if each week or module in an online course has a routine as well.
  1. Post instructions. Even if an assignment seems self-explanatory or identical to a previous one, post instructions. This technique will clarify the assignment, mimic a traditional classroom, and put students at ease because they will know what their professor expects of them.
  1. Offer clarification. Make it clear to students that they should ask for clarification if an aspect of the assignment seems vague. Be sure to respond in a timely fashion and address the student’s concerns.
  1. Provide Feedback. Whether negative or positive, beneficial or neutral, tell students what you think of their work. In a traditional classroom, students receive verbal, non-verbal, and written feedback from their responses to questions, classroom comments, and submitted assignments. Since students are looking for these cues, be sure to provide them so that they can improve.

Do you have any other online communication tips?

Using the Explain Everything iPad App to Give Feedback on Student Work

Explain Everything app logo

Explain Everything is a powerful iPad app that provides an interactive whiteboard for creating screencast presentations.

With the Explain Everything app, you can import documents, pictures, videos, sound files, or browser windows to your project, and then add drawings annotations, animations, or voiceover narrations. The final project can then be recorded and shared with other people.

Here are 4 examples of how instructors can use the Explain Everything App to provide feedback on student work:

  1. In this video, Mark Anderson goes through many of the tools included in the Explain Everything app. At 4:00 in the video, Mark starts to explains how you can use ExplainEverything for feedback, and the sample feedback itself begins at 6:20.

  2. Jon Tait demonstrates how he provides feedback on a student’s work using Explain Everything.

  3. T. Wood gives descriptive feedback on how a student attempted to solve a math problem. At 2:54, he gives handwritten feedback, and at 3:51 he gives the feedback in the form of an audio narration, together with Explain Everything’s laser pointer tool.

  4. Janet Neyer gives audiovisual feedback on her student’s paper.

Learn more about the Explain Everything app by watching these video tutorials.

* The Explain Everything logo is the sole and exclusive property of MorrisCooke.

49 Ideas for Online Learning Activities

Online Teaching Activity Index

Online learning does not have to be limited to video lectures, quizzes, and written assignments. With a little out-of-the box thinking, professors can construct activities that stimulate students’ minds and keep them interested.

For a resource of ideas for online educational activities, check out the Online Teaching Activity Index from the Illinois Online Network.

The website suggests 49 activities that can be used in either online or hybrid courses, including some creative activities such as Internet Scavenger Hunt, Concept Mapping, Fishbowl, and Socratic Dialogue.

Each activity includes a description, examples, appropriate content categories, goals & objectives, prerequisites, materials and resources, lesson procedures, and more.

Tell us about your experiences with online teaching: What activities do you use in your online courses?

*The Online Teaching Activity Index logo is the sole and exclusive property of the Illinois Online Network.