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Recording Lessons

Recording Options

I like to use the the SMART Recorder which is part of the SMART Board program. Recordings can be made directly from the board or with a slate, such as SMART Slate, so you can record our lessons and writings at home. If you do not have SMART Boards in your school, you could record your lessons with other programs, such as Jing, Snagit, or Screencast-o-matic. Jing, Snagit, and Screencast-o-matic are free. The downside to both the SMART Recorder and these options is that you cannot edit your videos.

The most common video editing software used by flipped classroom teachers is Camtasia. You need to purchase Camtasia, but it allows you to embed quizzes directly into the videos. Some teachers will use Screencast-o-matic Pro or the iPad app Explain Everything, and both of these programs allow you to do some basic editing.

My thoughts on recording videos are shared in these two videos.

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

To improve the audio quality, we do use an external microphone. The videos include our voice and anything you do on the SMART Board, but it does not record an image of the teacher. This way, the teacher's clothes, hair style, etc. are not a distraction to the students. Some teachers prefer to have their face in the recording, and Camtasia works well for that. Here are a couple of our videos so you can see different examples:

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

I have created my own YouTube channel to house the videos, I embed all my videos in a webpage in Moodle so that students are not going to YouTube and being distracted by all the ads and related videos; embedding as a webpage has the additional element of offering a tracking/monitoring system through Moodle reports of who is watching videos and when.  The YouTube channel does, however, provide a nice "back-up" if Moodle isn't working.

My Philosophy of Recording Videos

Some teachers have all their notes typed out ahead of time with "boxes" covering up the work, and they uncover the work as they talk through the lesson.   Other teachers hand-write their notes either on the SMART Board or SMART Slate as they record. This is a personal choice that each teacher will make, and it will depend on the teacher's style, preferences, and
students. Uncovering pre-completed notes seems to work well for accelerated and advanced students, but handwriting the notes is better for the lower and middle performing students. There is something about the students seeing the teacher write out the notes that helps the students process and understand the material better.

Another key element of mak
ing lesson videos is the timing.  During the videos, I do not give students "think time" or time to work out the problems since the students have the pause and rewind buttons. This allows the videos to be shorter and faster for the teacher doing the recording and for the students watching the videos. I choose to record my videos outside of class time (during my prep or at home), so I do not have student names and comments on the videos.

My initial videos were just my normal lecture recorded. The videos were long and boring. In my second generation of videos, I am adding humor and more enthusiasm, in addition to trying to make the video lessons more engaging. There are a couple of ways to make the video lessons more engaging for the students. For my upper level students I am making short videos (2 to 4.5 minute long videos) that cover very specific concepts or types of problems. On concepts that most students find more challenging, I will make two sets of videos on that topic with the first set being "required" and the second set being "optional" if the student feels like he/she need more instruction of the topic. There are a few advantages to short videos. For the teacher, if you make a mistake during the recording, it is very easy to go back and record the video again. For students, if they needs or wants to rewatch a particular topic because they are struggling with it or reviewing for an assessment, then they only need to watch a short video on that topic verses rewatching a 14 minute video when they only needed to view three minutes worth of material.

Unexpected Advantages

When I was lecturing, I use to have students in before school and after school getting help on their homework. However with flipped learning, I have only a few students that occasionally come in before or after school to get help. So yes, recording all my lessons required some upfront time, but once the lessons have been recorded, I have more time since I do not have many students in my room before or after school.  The initial phase of recording can be divided among staff if the process feels too daunting; teachers can alternate making videos for units in order to cover all the material.

I work with a great bunch of mathematics teachers at Byron High School in Byron, MN, and we work from a common curriculum and give common assessments across the board. We have chosen to have each teacher record his/her own videos, even though other teachers may have already recorded a video for that lesson. This has created a video library for our students to access. Our thoughts with this are that students often identify with their classroom teacher and like to hear their teacher's voice, yet it allows the students the choice and the option of hearing a different teacher teach the same lesson. Some students will watch the videos multiple times during a unit, which can be done without anyone knowing (i.e. peers).

Additionally, with each teacher having his/her own videos recorded, we have discovered that this is a best practice model since we as teachers can watch our colleague(s) teach the exact same lesson with the same problems and learn form each other without needing to be in each other's rooms in order to observe methods and strategies.