Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Flipping Your Classroom with EduCreations

Screenshot from the web version of the tool.
Don't mind my poor handwriting with a mouse!
A lot of our teachers have recently begun experimenting with a flipped classroom approach. While the basics of flipping at its simplest level involves lesson content being watched by students outside of the classroom (i.e. online) while follow up & class discussion about the lesson then happens in person, teachers eager to get started with such a model aren't always sure HOW to get going. What tools can help a teacher get their lessons online? Where do you post them?

There's no one right way to flip, and flipping can look different from classroom to classroom. Some teachers post video lessons they curate from other sources, while some record their own. (Check out Kathy Schrock's awesome guide and resources for screencasting!) There are 100% flipped classrooms where EVERY LESSON is online, but most teachers I work with who are flipping are just doing so some of the time, for very specific lessons or student needs. For example, one teacher I know will do quick recap videos of big science topics (i.e. the water cycle) and make it available for students who missed class or who want to use the video to help them study for the upcoming test.

Whether you plan to truly flip lessons or just make content available to students online for remediation, one tool that I really enjoy is EduCreations. EduCreations is a whiteboard web tool and app that allows you to record whiteboard lessons and share with students. It's also 100% free!

Create a lesson via the web or create on the iOS app.
Lessons created on the app will appear on the web dashboard, too.
Teachers first register for an EduCreations account. To keep it simple, they can leave it at that, and just start recording some whiteboard lessons. To take it to the next level, they can set up virtual classroom spaces on the website and invite students with an access code to be members of their classroom.

Share options on your finished lessons.
When a teacher creates a whiteboard lesson (either via the web tool when they're logged in or the iOS app on their device) they have a few ways to share it with kids. The most simple way is to just grab the URL for the lesson and link to it on their own classroom website, BUT if the teacher has set up a class space for students on EduCreations, they can instantly share the lesson with the class that way, too. There's even embed options if your class website or blog supports embedding HTML code. It's pretty simple!

Here is a quick demo "lesson" I made of EduCreations' tools and features that I have embedded into my blog:

On my "wish list" for EduCreations is a way to go back in and edit the whiteboard video or narration if you make mistakes. A lot of times you're probably just recording small snippets of concepts, but if you're recording a long lesson and mess up, you pretty much have to start over. Also, unless you're REALLY good with your handwriting using a mouse, or you have a digital pen/tablet set up on your computer, you'll find creating whiteboard lessons to be a bit easier on the app vs. the web tool. I also noticed that the web tool doesn't seem to have a keyboard input option for text like the app does. You can only write with the mouse. (The app lets you use your iOS device's keyboard to type in text on the screen.) Overall, though, things I can totally let slip for the luxury of being able to narrate and illustrate your way through a lesson and so easily make available for students... plus you can't beat the (FREE) price tag, right?

If teachers are just getting started with the idea of flipping their classroom or just want to make their own video lessons for students to help reinforce things they learn in class, EduCreations is a great tool to try and is very user-friendly. The URL of your lesson can be linked on your homework page or even emailed out to parents to help keep them in the loop, too.  I definitely recommend giving it a try. You'll be hooked!

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