Q: How do I know if my students watched the lesson before class?
A. The first thing I would say is to set the expectation to watch the video before class. Having the expectation will work for a lot of students, but not all (see question/answer: "What do I do if a student does not watch the video before class?). I require students to take notes. I use guided notes for all my classes that students are expected to take the notes on as they watch the video. Students are expected to write down everything that they see me do on the video. At the beginning of class while my students are working on the peer instruction questions, I walk around to see who has their notes completed. This only takes about two minutes for the whole class. I do this daily at the beginning of the course to get students in the habit of watching the lesson and writing notes, then I check randomly once students are in the habit. My students and I use Moodle (a learning management system), so I run a report every morning to see who accessed the video. Some teachers will require students to respond to a Google Forum question regarding the lesson.
Q: What do I do if a student does not watch the video before class?
A. Watching video lessons before class needs to be emphasized to the kids as this is crucial for comprehensive acceptance and understanding of how the flipped classroom works. Students do need some time and experience to get used to where the information is and what is expected of them. A student that gets behind on watching videos is no different than a student that gets behind on doing traditional homework or has missed a traditional lecture. We just respond the same way to both situations ... communicate with them and their parents about the consequences of poor decision making and procrastination, so basically nothing new.
Practical options for the teacher:
1. You could make watching the video ahead of time part of the homework grade. If they watch the video ahead of time, they receive those points; if they do not watch the video ahead of time, they get a zero and still have to watch the video in class. Late points or partial credit can be awarded based on the system you may have previously used for late homework.
2. For students not watching the video for two days in a row, talk to them and tell them they need to do what is expected by watching the video and getting caught up on the homework. Tell them that if they are not caught up by tomorrow and have not watched the video, they owe the teacher 30 minutes before school, after schools or during their lunch. Set high expectations for students, and the majority of students will meet or exceed these expectations.
3. You could have a short and simple quiz at the beginning of class that assesses whether or not they watched the video. You could even have the students do the quiz online via a Moodle quiz or a Google Form once they have watched the video.
Q: What do I do if a student does not have internet access at home?
A. More and more students are having internet access at home. But for those few that do not, there are ways to get around the no internet issue. You could burn your videos onto a DVD or jump drive. Does the student have a smartphone? If so, students can watch the videos on it. Does the student have an iPod Touch? If so, then allow them to watch the video at school. Some schools have extended their media center hours so that students can watch the video lessons before or after school or even during lunch. If a student has a Dropbox account (free), videos can be downloaded at school and starred to be available offline for home, non-internet viewing.
Q: How long should my videos be?
A. This will vary some based on your students' age and ability level. Jon Bergmann recommends 1.5 minutes per grade level. So a tenth grade could handle a 15 minute video lesson. My videos vary in length. Many of my videos are 15 minutes, but for my Calculus 1 class, which is taught for college credit, my videos may be 30 to 40 minutes in length. In my second generation of videos, most of my videos are 2.5 to 4 minutes long covering very specific types of problems or concepts, but each lesson will have multiple videos. My thought with that is if a student is struggling with a particular concept then they can just rewatch the video that covers that particular topic without having to rewatch a whole long video just to get to the one area of struggle. Students are more likely to rewatch if they can quickly and easily access the specific materials they need.
Q: Should I flip my whole course at once?
A. Flip at least one unit at a time since the students will have a learning curve and need time to adjust to the flipped environment. Flipping one day, lecturing the next, then flipping again often causes the flipped process to fail since students do not fully embrace flipped learning when it is not done for a full unit when first starting flipped learning. The students need time to get use to the new learning format. I flipped all my classes at the same time, but most teachers are not able to do that. I would recommend flipping only one class then start flipping another class when you feel like you have enough time to record lessons for that class too. Pay attention to student feedback on the lessons. Students often have good insight into how to improve the lessons. "Easing into it" also allows you to improve your video instruction and will save you time in the number of videos you will invariably want to remake as you get better.
Q: Should I my own videos or can I use someone else videos?
A. You can use someone else videos, but most other lessons that you find online do not match perfectly with your material and vocabulary. I recommend that you record your own lesson. One of my colleague's readily admits she was hesitant to make her own videos; however, once she realized how long she spent searching for the "perfect" video, she realized she could have made several of her own videos. One of the benefits of recording your own lessons is the unwritten social contract that you have between you and your students. If the students see that their teacher is willing to put the work in to recording the lessons, the students are often more willing to put the work into watching the lessons.
Q: How do I go about recording my lessons?
A. See Recording Lessons page.
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