When I started to flip my classroom, the most time consuming component was creating the videos. I feel very strongly that teachers should create their own videos. There are great videos on the web, but I feel that students need to learn from their own teachers. You can always provide a link to other videos as a supplement. Some students might even prefer those videos, but what is important is that students learn from their own teacher. Listening to me outside of the classroom is one of the ways that improves my rapport with my students. As one student commented, "Mme. B, it's kinda cool to hear you in my living room."

Creating the Videos

Just as creating the videos, at first, can be time consuming, it can also be intimidating. It doesn't have to be. It is not necessary for a teacher to have an extensive background with technology in order to create video lessons. Students' learning is improved because they have the ability to pause and rewind the video lessons, as needed. There are several of options for creating those videos:

In Front of the Camera

This is the simplest method of creating a video lesson. The teacher sets up a video camera on a tripod, then stands at the whiteboard, chalkboard or interactive whiteboard and presents the lesson. Here is an example recorded with a Flip Cam.

Easy!! The jury is out on the benefits of "face-time" with the teacher in the video. For those who want their teacher to be in the video, this method is great. It takes very little time from video recording to video posting with this method, if the teacher has a planned "script". I have written an outline on the board in the back of my classroom and read through it as I am recording. Then, because of the USB jack available on the flip cam, I can easily upload to my favorite video-hosting site.
Unless a teacher wants to do post-recording editing, this type of recording can result in a poor quality recording. In my example, you can see walking up to the board before the lesson and away from the board after the lesson. Also, lighting issues in the classroom can be distracting or make it difficult to read the text on the board. File sizes of videos tend to be very large, which can be an issue when uploading to a hosting site.


Called "vod-casting" by some teachers, a screen-cast is a recording of the computer screen, as well as the audio of the teacher presenting the lesson. The teacher could be talking through a PowerPoint presentation, a Prezi or simply writing on the screen using a stylus, such as a Wacom Bamboo Tablet. There is a variety of software for PCs and IPads, in all price-points, available to screen-cast a lesson. Check out an example of a lesson with my Bamboo Tablet.

In a screen-casted presentation, students can easily read the text on their screen. Post-recording editing features in some software programs allow teachers to focus students' attention to important words or phrases on the screen. This method cuts out distractions and easily gets the information to the students.
Depending on the software used, screen-casting can be a time consuming process, especially if the teacher does a large amount of editing after the recording. For truly professional-looking videos, the required software is quite expensive.
My Choices for Screen-Casting Software
Software Price Time-Limit Video Download My Thoughts
Smart Notebook Video Recording Included with Smart Notebook Software/ $599 per license None Yes (.wmv or .avi) If SmartNotebook software is available, this is an easy way to record your screen. It doesn't offer many extras, which makes it simple to use, but the quality isn't great and it requires the extra step of converting videos in order to have a video in .mp4 format.
Screencast-O-Matic Free (Pro Version-$15/year) 15 minutes Yes (.mp4,.avi,.flv) I love this program! It produces high-quality videos for a free program, and is easy to use. I like that it offers a count-down before the recording actually begins.
Camtasia Studio $179.00 for educators None Yes. Choose any format in a variety of resolutions TechSmith describes their software as "world-class", and I agree. The options are endless with this easy to use software which allows as many editing features, if not more, than IMovie. If you are serious about creating professional videos, spend the money on this software!
Educreations (for PC, Mac or Ipad) Free None No. Videos are stored online Great for recording lessons with an IPad. Because it is simple to use, I have had students record their own flip lessons with the IPad app. It has a long way to go, however, because their are no editing features.
Explain Everything (IPad Only) $2.99 None Yes. Export movies in .mp4 There aren't a lot of bells and whistles, here, but I like that I can create a video quickly and with my stylus and my IPad, create a very personal video with annotations. Math and Science teachers love this program because they can work through problems and record every step of the way.
eLecta Live Screen Recording Free None Yes. .avi This is another great piece of basic software. Very simple and easy to use.
Ink2Go $19.99 ($9.99 through Crazy for Education) None Yes. .wmv files I like that this software offers annotation and Picture-in-Picture. It takes a while to get used to recording with it, but it offers nice features that other pricier software offers.

Posting to the Web

Once the videos have been created, the students have to be able to view them. There are several options for posting your videos to the web. First, here are some things to consider:

Tips for Posting Videos to the Web

  • Have videos in .mp4 format, which plays nicely with hosting sites, uploads quickly and downloads on Smart Phones
  • Post in more than one place (I usually have my videos in three different places)
  • Use embedding code or include a hyperlink on your class webpage so students can quickly get to videos
  • Videos should be viewable by mobile devices
  • Because download speed can be slow, choose a hosting site instead of having students directly download videos
  • Be consistent

My Choices for Posting Videos on the Web
Website File Size File Formats My Thoughts
YouTube up to 2GB .wmv, .avi, .mov, .3gp, .mpeg, .mp4, .flv, .swf, .webm, .mkv(h.264) At first, I was cautious about my educational videos being among all of the "yuck" on YouTube, however due to the YouTube app and access on gaming devices, I realized that this is the EASIEST way for students to view my videos. They subscribe to my channel and easily access my videos.
School Tube 1.5GB .3gp, .asf, .avi, .bik, .divx, .f4v, .flv, .m2ts, .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpg, .ogv, .rm, .webm, .wmv, .xvid This is my preferred hosting site! It is safe and much more reliable than in the past. Teachers can create a channel on which students can follow them. Unlike YouTube, it is not blocked on most school campuses. It does include safe advertisements, but schools can buy an ad-free subscription.
Teacher Tube 300MB mp4, .flv, .wmv I find this site cumbersome. It takes a long time for videos to upload and is not always reliable. However, it is not blocked by most schools and it does offer a variety of videos that teachers could use to supplement their own.
Flipped Lessons Nothing posted on their site. Nothing posted on their site. This is somewhat of a learning management tool, as well. Teachers can create pre- and post-video quizzes to go along with their videos. Students create an account, log in and they can see what video is due. Teachers can see who has logged in to watch the videos. This is great for younger students. I have found that it isn't always reliable, so a secondary posting is necessary.
Edmodo None, but students must download the video to play it. I ONLY post .mp4 for accessibility on mobile devices This is my students' favorite place to view video lessons. Edmodo works like Facebook. I can create a calendar from which students can receive alerts on their phones. It has an intuitive app which makes viewing lessons easy on mobile devices. Plus, students can post questions and/or responses on our class page for clarification.
Crazy For Education 2GB .asf,.avi,.flv,.m4v,.mov,.mp4,.m4a,.3gp,.3g2,.mj2,.wmv This is not my primary site to post videos, however, they offer a unique opportunity for students to learn by watching pre-screened videos created by other teachers.

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