Building Flipped Classroom Software: A Chat with Eric Burns
What makes for great flipped classroom software?
Last week I sat down with Eric Burns, Panopto’s co-founder and chief product officer, to discuss our design goals in building software that helps teachers flip their classrooms. In this short video, he talks about the importance of technology that puts teaching and teachers first, the role of interactivity in video lectures, and the need for integration with existing education technology.
Here are a few insights from our conversation.
Great flipped classroom technology shouldn’t impose constraints on teaching.
Sometimes a lecture will simply include audio or video of the teacher and their PowerPoint slides. Other times, it may require the teacher to show content on whiteboard, a software demonstration, or contents under a document camera. Sometimes it’ll require all of the above. Regardless of what a teacher wants to present, the software used to record the lecture should be easy to set up, and then fade into the background. With Panopto, teachers can capture every part of their lecture simultaneously. They simply select all of the inputs they want to capture (audio and video of the lecture, the content of their screen, document cameras, additional cameras pointed at the whiteboard, etc.) and click “Record.”
What works well in the classroom should also work well outside the classroom.
In class, teachers often interact with their institution’s lecture recording systems. Ideally, the same technology used to record lectures in class should be accessible to teachers who want to flip their class. This is one of the design goals of Panopto – to run on Windows PCs, Macs, and mobile devices so that teachers won’t need to learn different technologies for recording content in the lecture hall, from their office, or in the field.
Interactive videos can enhance the flipped class experience.
When teachers record video lectures as part of a flipped class, those videos can include interactive elements such as polls and quizzes. These interactive elements not only test student understanding of key concepts, but also help teachers personalize the in-class learning experience. For example, the results of a quiz embedded in a video lecture could highlight a topic that many students didn’t understand. This information could then be used by the teacher to tune the in-class discussion and focus more on that topic.