As Jon Bergmann always says…”Do you need it to be perfect or do you need it by Tuesday?” (sorry if I changed it a little!). This was my mantra last August when I first began constructing my initial Flipped Classroom videos. You could spend hours toiling over videos trying to edit them into a masterpiece. Yet the videos were actually not my main focus which will probably surprise the non-flip folk out there, I just wanted to get them done. My main concern was how I was going to use my classroom time. Now that I have found some great uses for my classroom time I thought I should go full circle and review my videos. Could my videos improve? YES!!!
The videos I created were quite similar to my traditional lectures. I did some initial theory, completed a couple examples, asked some questions and that was it. They were significantly shorter (10-20 min) and to the point. But I was still teaching to the middle of the class. The videos were not the magical part of my flipped classroom, heck some were pretty boring, the magic came in class when and I implemented mastery, worked with my students more 1-on-1 to differentiate, had more games/labs/whiteboarding activities, etc. Why couldn’t there be some magic to the videos?
This last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Peter Matejcek (@petermatejcek) the founder of http://www.hustream.com and see what his company was doing in Interactive Video. Peter and his team recognized that you have a limited amount of time to engage your user so they created buttons that allow the user to take control of the video….MAGIC… The user can decide what they want to learn about and avoid the things that are not important to them. This reminded me of the R.L. Stine’s Goosebump books I used to read as a kid where you got to pick in what direction the story went. How I could utilize this technology in my Flipped Classroom? Here are my initial thoughts:
- A table of contents at the beginning of each video that would take students to different parts of the video. Students could see how long each part was going to be; some may even get ambitious and skip around. This is good in my opinion…learning how to learn! Having a table of contents would also be really helpful to students who are planning on watching a video again and are just looking for certain information.
- Create quiz questions throughout the video that take students to different parts depending on how they do. If a student answers a question incorrect, their video skips to a part to reinforce the concept. If a student answers the question correct they move ahead. I should note here that in Camtasia 8 you can get quiz results emailed to you so you can see how many students attempted a question and also how many got it right. Great way to assess how things are going!
- Break the video down by concepts, learning outcomes or even difficulty levels. This will allow students to take more responsibility of their learning and. Imagine a strong student going straight to the toughest parts of the video, understanding and moving on. Why should they waste their time with the elementary stuff they may already know? Whereas a weak student may spend all their time on the easier parts of the video and choose to not worry about the difficult parts.
- Adding a back button. The more user friendly and responsive we can make the videos the more likely students are to watch them. Perhaps at the top of the screen I could add a back button to the table of contents or to the beginning of the section. I know I have watched a number of instructional videos where I dazed out and would have liked to go to the beginning of the section rather than trying to navigate the timeline.
- Links throughout the videos to applets. Sure not every student may take the opportunity to click on the link but why not put as many tools at their disposal for them to get their hands messy with the learning.
I am not quick to jump on the bandwagon of companies but I need to give love where love is due. Last week I asked the fine people at TechSmith if Camtasia 8 could do what I saw HuStream was doing. TechSmith Product Manager Shane Lovellette (@Shane3797) responded immediately and created this video to show off the capabilities of Camtasia 8. Take a look: http://www.screencast.com/t/0mh6M12UDzK This is what I call service. Time and time again this is what I have received from TechSmith, MAGIC!
So…don’t get me wrong, creating a video like this would not be easy. I for one would have to completely rethink how I make my flip videos; no longer would my traditional linear lesson plan suffice. The time it would take to make videos like this may be astronomical but I still thought it was worth exploring. I would love to know what others are doing or ideas they may have to make flip videos more interactive and personal.
Stay tuned for my first interactive flip video!!!