Adopting a new approach to teaching is never easy.
Flipping the classroom asks educators to change their approach to lectures and classroom time, and requires buy-in both from students and administration in order to take root and succeed.
We’ve written extensively on the latest developments in classroom flipping — you can find some of our latest reports on the thought behind the strategy on our website, including:
- 7 Unique Flipped Classroom Models — Which is Right for You? A deeper look into some of the unique models of how a teacher can invert a class.
- What Are The Benefits of the Flipped Classroom? A look at some of the most common advantages of inverted classrooms, so you can make the case that flipping will be right for your school.
- How To Create Great Flipped Classroom Videos. Seven ideas for the types of content you can create or curate for your flipped classroom lectures.
- 3 Technologies That Support Students In The Flipped Classroom. Address common technology concerns and help your students prepare for learning in a flipped classroom environment.
Beyond these conceptual challenges, however, there is another equally vexing hurdle that catches many first-time flippers off guard:
What technologies do you need to flip a classroom?
Flipping calls on educators to share class videos in advance for student review. Practically speaking, for the majority of flipped classrooms, this means creating some form of short video lecture — sometimes called a “microlecture”— that may be composed of a screen recording of slides, a webcam-recording of the teacher, video of a demonstration, or some combination of the three — and then sharing the resulting recording in a way that makes it easily available for students.
Watch an example flipped classroom video recorded with Panopto below:
As the inverted classroom’s early adopters have discovered, sharing videos privately is more challenging than they expected. Without a system or a plan in place to manage class videos, those issues can quickly derail even the most enthusiastic flipper.
5 Technical Challenges to Implementing a Flipped Classroom
While every institution’s needs are different, we’ve found five big categories of technical difficulties that schools and universities should prepare for when planning to flip:
1. Consistent, accessible, secure video hosting
Too many schools fail to plan for where to save their video content, and how to make that content available to students. Video files can be large, and without some planning, they may consume a significant amount of network space and bandwidth capacity. Some educators attempt to work around this problem by using YouTube or file sharing services like DropBox. This, however, can create a disjointed experience for students, and may also pose problems for data security or copyright issues.
2. Recording videos from any location
Hardware-based solutions designed to be installed in a classroom for capturing lectures simply don’t cut it for flipped classrooms. Flipped classrooms need to be flexible and enable teachers to record any kind of video, from anywhere, at any time.
3. The ability to capture anything and everything in a single video
Great teachers know that the classroom exists everywhere. Whether it’s experiments in the lab, out “in the field” conducting remote demonstrations, or simply sharing one more concept from a home office, instructors need the ability to easily record multi-camera videos from anywhere.
NEW! Panopto’s free web-based video and screen recorder app lets you record right from your desktop browser — without downloading any software or installing any plugins. You don’t even have to sign up. Go to Panopto Express to try it now >>
4. Watching videos anytime, anywhere, on any device
A professor’s flipped classroom lectures may be worthy of an Academy Award, but they’d be all for naught if students can’t actually watch them due to file formatting issues. This is a problem that gets more complicated with every new recording device and every new viewing platform — if students aren’t able to watch a video on the devices they have (and that’s no given: as just one example, Apple’s iPhones and iPads famously don’t support Flash video), they won’t be prepared when they get to class.
5. Searching videos
Nothing builds up an extensive video library quite like regularly recording classroom lectures — most flipped classrooms record dozens or even hundreds of hours over the course of a semester. Video is notoriously difficult to search, meaning that as finals draw close and students start studying, they’ll be left with few options for finding the exact content they want to review.
Failing to account for any of these common technology challenges can limit your success with the flipped classroom. Fortunately, early adopters are already uncovering best practices to answering each of these questions.
Get The Flipped Classroom eBook
Take a deeper look into the flipped classroom evolution, including the foundational strategy and early results that have so many teachers excited, in our latest white paper, The Practical Guide To Flipping Your Classroom.
In it, we discuss the five most important flipped classroom technologies schools should consider, including:
- How to make videos easily available, consistently and securely
- How to enable teachers to record video in any location
- Ensuring instructors can record anything, no matter how complex
- Ensuring students can watch videos anytime, anywhere, on any device
- Ensuring students can find any topic in any video when needed