Ed Tech

6 easy ways to start flipping your classroom now

Flipping your classroom frees you up to work more directly with students in class. Here are some practical ways to make flipped learning happen. (Creative Commons image via CalicoSpanish.com)

Flipping your classroom frees you up to work more directly with students in class. Here are some practical ways to make flipped learning happen. (Creative Commons image via CalicoSpanish.com)

Flipped classroom is definitely a buzzword in education. It has been for years. And rightfully so — the model leverages technology to create an environment that can make a huge difference in many classrooms.

Some people see the flipped classroom as something complex or hard to reach. With a little direction and some determination to stick to the model, it’s as easy to do as almost anything tech-related in education.

Here’s the gist of the flipped classroom:

  • Instead of delivering instruction face-to-face in a classroom, teachers deliver instruction to students at home.
  • Home instruction is often in the form of video (teacher-created or otherwise), but can be through other means (i.e. audio, screenshots/instructions, etc.).
  • Students observe the instruction before returning to class the next day.
  • Instead of watching/listening to instruction, students work with the new material in class. The teacher is free to help students one-on-one or in small groups.

Flipped classroom purists might quibble with certain details, but that’s the model in a nutshell. You can read more here: “7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms” (via Educause).

This topic was brought back to my mind when a teacher in my home state of Indiana emailed me. She said she’s being asked to teach two classes at the same time. She’s surviving, thanks to Google Classroom and plenty of hustle, but was looking for suggestions.

For the flipped learning beginner, there are two important parts to put in place: delivering the instruction and assessing student understanding of the instruction. Here are some suggestions for both:


The method: screencasting. My favorite way to deliver instruction to students outside of class is still the screencast. Students hear your voice. You explain it in your own words at your own pace. Students sort of feel like you’re right there with them, walking them through the new content.

And, in the end, that’s what so many students want — they want you. You’re the one they have the relationship with. You’re the one they have experience learning this topic from. They don’t want you to find a YouTube video of someone they don’t know. They really want you. If you want to deliver videos to students, give them videos of you if possible. They’ll likely thank you for it.

My favorite tool: Snagit. I use a Windows laptop to do most of my creation, so Snagit for Google Chrome is my go-to tool for screencasts. As a Chrome extension, it’s free. (The full version, which lets you screencast from anywhere in your computer and not just in your Chrome browser, is awesome. I have it and love it. With the educator discount, this $49.95 product only costs $29.95.)

Snagit creates a little blue “S” button in the top right corner of your Chrome browser. Click it, then click the video button to record your screen. Choose the screen display you want and you’re already recording.

The beauty of using Snagit for Chrome is this: when you’re finished, your videos are automatically saved into your Google Drive. They live in a new folder called “TechSmith.” Open the file (or right-click it) and click “Share” to get a link to your video that you can share with your students. (Share that link with your students using one of these 10 methods.)

It’s that easy.

Other screencasting options:

Do you use something different for screencasting? If so, please share it in the comments below!

Instruction methods other than screencasting:

  • Audio: If you’d rather not mess with video, you can just record your voice. My favorite tool for that is AudioBoom. It’s kind of like YouTube for audio. You create your own channel and then record off your device or upload an audio file.
  • Website: If you’d rather just use text and visuals, create a webpage for students to check out. My favorite free website creator is Weebly. Google Sites is a good option as well.


Want to make sure that your students actually watched the videos? Flipped classroom teachers have many ways of handling this. Some will just have students who didn’t watch the videos at home just watch them at school while everyone else participates in a fun activity with the content. Missing that activity is enough encouragement to them to watch the videos beforehand, according to those teachers.

I, however, like the idea of doing a quick assessment after the video to let students show me that they understand. There are some great options out there, including:

Google Forms (within drive.google.com): Create a simple Google Form with some questions to check for understanding. If you make multiple-choice, matching (made from choose-from-a-list questions) or true-false questions, the Flubaroo add-on will autograde them for you. Just bring up the spreadsheet of results created by the form and follow the instructions on the Flubaroo website. (Even if you don’t use Flubaroo, a cursory glance at student answers in that spreadsheet will show you if a student didn’t comprehend the new content. Plus, by clicking “responses” within the Google Form, it will show you charts of student responses, making visual interpretation of the results easy.)

Quizizz (quizizz.com): This site turns homework into a game show, and it can make flipped class assessment pretty easy. You’ll want to use homework mode, where you can make an assignment live for up to 15 days. Students enter a code to join the activity and answer questions based on your instruction. It creates a leaderboard you can display later. Plus, its fun “you’re right”/”you’re wrong” memes keep you going!

Formative (goformative.com): My excitement for this tool keeps bubbling over. I recently wrote about 20 ways you can use Formative in your class. Create an assessment using Formative with some questions about your instruction. In addition your standard question types, Formative also includes “show your work” questions where students can draw their answers. If your instruction video is on YouTube, you can add it to your Formative assessment. Keep everything in one location for simplicity!

So, there you have it … six easy ways to start flipping your classroom now:

  1. Screencast with Snagit
  2. Broadcast audio with AudioBoom
  3. Create a website with Weebly/Google Sites
  4. Assess with Google Forms
  5. Create an assignment with Quizziz
  6. Make an assessment with Formative

With some ways to deliver instruction at home and some ways to assess student understanding afterward, you’re well on your way to becoming a flipped classroom master!

[reminder]What do you do to make flipped learning work in your classroom? Do you have different tools to suggest?[/reminder]

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