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:
- Which Flipped Classroom is Right For You? An introduction to the latest trends, strategies, and ideas in classroom flipping, including the 3 key parts of every flipped classroom.
- Get Flipped: Advice for Flipped Classroom Beginners. A quick review of the most essential considerations for teachers getting ready to flip their first class.
- Ready, Set, Go! How To Make Your Flipped Classroom Work. Ideas for helping your students prepare for learning in a flipped classroom environment.
- 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.
- Best-In-Class – Inspiration for Your Flipped Classroom. Three great examples of classroom flipping that’s going on right now using Panopto.
- How Can I Convince My Colleagues that Flipping the Classroom Is a Good Idea? A look at some of the most common reasons and goals for inverted classrooms, to help you make the case that flipping will be right for your colleagues.
Beyond these conceptual challenges, however, there is another equally vexing hurdle that catches many first-time flippers off guard:
Flipped classroom technology.
Flipping calls on educators to share lecture materials 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, that simple mandate can add up to all kinds of technical issues. And without a system or a plan in place to manage them, those issues can quickly derail even the most enthusiastic flipper.
5 Key Technical Considerations Educators Need To Manage When Setting Up 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:
- Consistent, accessible, secure video storage
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 public YouTube pages 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.
- Support for recording video 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.
- 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 record video from anywhere.
- 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.
- Searching video files for specific content
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. But 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 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, So You’ve Decided To Flip Your Classroom.
In it, we discuss the five most important technologies schools should consider when researching or implementing the flipped classroom, 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