Just another Flipped classromm

Month: November, 2011

Making of the Screencast

One of my biggest hurdles to overcome in implementing the “Flipped” classroom is making screencasts. Not that the content is the challenge, but the technology behind the screencast is. Once I found a storage place for my screencasts that enabled all of my students to view them from home, I figured that hurdle was behind me. Not so. My students started complaining about a “humming noise” in the background when they watched the screencasts. They said it was hard to concentrate and hear my voice. Ugh!!!  Back to the drawing board. Instead of throwing in the towel, I started troubleshooting and researching for answers. I tried muting the sound system, using an external microphone, changing the settings of the microphone, and changing the sound settings in the software. The problem could be my external microphone or it could be the line in plug. Whatever it was, I couldn’t get the noise to stop. So, I decided to use my iPad to make the screencast. I downloaded three highly recommended apps:

ScreenChomp (TechSmith)

This app is very easy to use. It’s simplicity is its best feature. Write and/or import images, record, preview and send to theTechSmith website. Grab the link and paste it into your library on Edmodo and your done. However, you are only working on the one slide. It would be nice if the developers would allow for multiple slides. If it could do that, this would be the app of choice for making screencasts on iPads.

 Explain Everything

This app has what ScreenChomp is missing, the multiple slide capability. There are so many things I like about Explain Everything. I love that I can re-record a slide without re-recording the entire screencast, being able to use multiple slides, importing pdf’s, the choice of shapes, and etc.   However, the thing that makes this app less desireable is the ease of exporting the videos to a host site. The export options are Youtube, email,Twitter, and Dropbox. Youtube is useless because it is blocked in my school district. Twitter is of no consequence, since my students don’t have Twitter accounts.  Email and Dropbox are two good options, but that means a couple of extra steps before I can post on Edmodo. Also, if the file is too large it won’t send through email. You can change the resolution, but then video quality is poor. If this app would allow me to export the screencast to a host site and be quick about it, I would definitely continue using this app for my screencasts.

Show Me

This app is very similar to ScreeChomp, but you have to wait for an email notification before retrieving you screencast.  The tools are limited and it doesn’t have the multiple slide capability that is needed.

Finding the right app or software program to make my screencasts is not so easy. For now, I’m going to make the best of ScreenChomp on my iPad and Promethean software on my laptop.  Hopefully, Promethean will be coming out with an app soon.


Mastery Learning and the Flipped Classroom

I’ve started thinking more about the Mastery Learning concept for my  “flipped” Classroom. I read a good article on the ACSD website about Mastery Learning.  The following is a quote from the article that is going to be the next focus of  implementation.

Most mastery learning models stress the importance of administering a quick and targeted pre-assessment to all students before beginning instruction to determine whether they have the prerequisite knowledge and skills for success in the upcoming learning sequence. 

Pre-assessments are important and I have used them in the past, but with the “flipped” model, I haven’t utilized them as I should.  For the next unit, I’m going to give a paper/pencil pre-asessment that will be similar to the post test, but not exactly the same.  I’m going to use the data from the pre-assessment to determine the topics of my screencasts and formative assessments. However, as a reference source, I will have available the screencasts on the lessons that  have been mastered for that unit.

With this pre-assessment information in hand, my students can develop a plan as to which screencasts they will need to watch for instruction and which ones they will use for reference. All the while, I will be using the pre-assessment information to build meaningful formative assessments and activities to be used in small groups and 1:1 instruction.

 There are usually, on average, about 10 screencasts per unit.

Meaningful Projects

Coming up with projects that relate to the math units, is now the new challenge of flipping my classroom. I’ve tried using the curriculum generated extensions, but it was too “worksheetish” for me. Even though the students produced some good work, I don’t think it was challenging enough. I felt it was more of a “time-filler” than an actual learning opportunity. This nine weeks I’m trying something more techy. My students will be designing a video game around a fraction concept (add/sub, mult/div, or fraction/ decimal/percent conversion).

It was about four years ago that my brother introduced me to Scratch animation. A computer programing application for kids. It was developed at MIT. I dabbled with it and learned the basics, but couldn’t really work into my instruction…until now.

So, I began searching the internet for lesson plans, but instead I found this website that offers screencasts tutorials for the Scratch program (<awww.learnscratch.org). Because my math class is self paced and instruction is delivered in small groups or 1:1, this was perfect. The students could watch the tutorials and complete tasks for each screencast and send their work to me via Edmodo. They would be able to learn the Scratch program at their own pace and be challenged at the same time. The problem solving that they are going to  encounter will be amazing. This is right up their “geeky” alley.

If this turns out to be succesful, the next project might be letting my students create a screencast tutorial on a math topic. This would require a lot of critical thinking and problem solving. I think they will enjoy it.

Flipped Out!

Let me start by saying, “Whew! That was a great ride!”

The first nine weeks of flipping my classroom can only be compared to one of those wild rollercoasters where your feet are left dangling beneath you. You know the ones I’m talking about. They have a lot of funky twists and turns and FREE FALLS. The ones, when it’s finally over and your heart is pounding in your chest and you’re out of breath you say, “THAT ROCKED! Let’s ride it again!” Yep. That’s what flipping my claasroom was like…a wild ride.

Here are some things I learned:


1. Because you can view the screencasts on your home or school computer, doesn’t mean your students can. Find a host site to store your screencasts. This will give embed codes. I use schooltube.

2. Don’t make your screencasts more than 10 minutes long or they won’t be watched.

3. Get the youtube downloader or use an online free video converter (zamzar.com) so that you can use the Khanacademy screencasts, in case Youtube is blocked at your school. This will allow you to download the screencasts so they can be uploaded to your screencast host site.

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.


1. Design an environment that allows for project/inquiry based learning. I got rid of all the desks, including mine. This has freed up a lot of space.


2. Make everything accessable to the students.


3. As a class, create norms of behaviors.. This helps with transitioning, community building, and independence.




1. The students who don’t do traditional homework are most likely not going to watch the screencasts at home, but they might surprise you.

2. The students love the independence and self-pacing.

3. Having the students use Edmodo to communicate with the teacher and their classmates, has been a plus. In fact, Edmodo has replaced the paper agenda. All assignments, tests, and quizzes are posted on Edmodo.

4. Allow students to watch the screencasts in class.

5. Allowing them the freedom to help each other has created a student support system.


1. I can now differentiate my instruction! Because of the self-paced learning, I can meet students needs more effectively.

2. I instruct in small groups, or 1:1.

3. My students guide my daily lessons. Their level of mastery determines my daily plans.

5. Communicate with the parents often. This is new for them, too.

4. Daily reflection is key.

As I give this coaster another run, I feel better prepared for the twists and turns that are ahead. I kinda know when to clutch the bar tight and when to let go and enjoy the ride.