The Complete Flipped Learning Beginner’s Guide for Teachers

by | Mar 20, 2018

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of our flipped learning beginner’s guide.

Can you feel excitement about flipping your classroom? If you’ve never done it before it can be challenging to know where to even begin. That’s why we’ve created this essential flipped learning beginner’s guide for you. We’ve seen countless other teachers “flipping out” and it has forever changed the results of their students’ learning. In fact, even the kids most in need are benefitting from accessing the best flipped learning videos.
Let’s imagine these ideas sound intriguing to you as a teacher:

  • Duplicating and recording your lecture so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself
  • Being available to students 24/7 without ever getting tired
  • Freeing up valuable class time for hands-on critical thinking and ‘sticky’ learning activities

If this sounds like you, then we’ve got the best starter guide on flipped learning videos for you.

The Flipped Learning Beginner’s Guide

The next time you teach a new concept, video-record your own standard lecture. You can use your cellphone’s camera to simply record what you do in the classroom when you’re teaching on a normal day. Also, you can get the kids in on this by having one student serve as the camera operator.

If you’re recording live, it may be hard to do and the kids might tend to giggle or skew the results, so prep them to ‘act normal.’ Maybe they can ask questions since you’re trying to get as much information as you can on the first go. Keep in mind you might need to ask permission from parents or admins if you want to film in your class. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to film in class you can film that same lecture you’ve already practiced in front of your students after school.


Tools for Filming

  1. Smart phone camera (if you don’t have one, someone’s got to have one that you can borrow)
  2. Tablet camera
  3. Flip camera

They will all save a file that you’ll need to navigate to and save to your computer. Additionally, we’d recommend using a tripod for all these to keep filming stable.

Next, try to actually sit down and spend some quality time watching your video, and multiple times if possible. Make notes and judge your own delivery as if you were a student and be your own worst critic. Ask yourself critical questions like these:

  • How is my delivery? Engaging? Boring?
  • Am I acting naturally or am I “playing to the camera?”
  • Am I speaking too quickly or too slowly?
  • Have I missed anything important or have I oversimplified anything?
  • Is any of my content extraneous (e.g. repetition, conversational filler, etc.)? This can work fine as long as it’s kept to a minimum and used well.
  • If a student was absent on that day and you told them to watch this video, would they learn what you wanted them to?
  • Do I want a do-over?

Better yet, you can get a colleague to review the video with you. It’s time consuming but by examining what you do on a normal day, a few things will happen:

  • Your teaching will get better, becoming more effective and succinct.
  • You’ll learn to make more concise flipped learning videos. In fact, you might find you can trim out a large percentage of you lecture. 

Become an Expert Editor

Pay attention to the timing of the video as it plays. Learn to stop and start. Jot down time points up to the second that you would like to edit, annotate, insert diagrams, etc. This is like “marking the script.” By doing this you will know exactly what to keep, what to cut, and what to add.

To do the actual editing, here are a few recommended tools:

  • YouTube’s video editor comes free, but it does take some time because all editing is done out in the cloud, over their network. With millions of users there’s a lot of wait time for you to see results. Only use this if you want to chop the beginning or end of your video off. Otherwise stick to apps that you can install.
  • For Linux users, there’s Openshot.
  • For Windows users, stick with Windows Movie Maker.
  • For Mac users, iMovie is the place to start.

At this point you might want to be aware of some other tools. Maybe your video requires some close ups. Sometimes, you might even want screenshots from your actual computer. Here are some suggestions for tools. Depending on what system you use, you might also simply be able to use the built in screenshot option on your keyboard. Either way, these ones below are solid options to consider:

A simple option is to do a “single take” video where you just record raw, unedited footage of the demonstration and bring the camera closer to the object that you’re trying to highlight.


Simple Solutions

There are very easy doable solutions for beginner flipped learning videos. Just start filming and reviewing. You’ll get better and more knowledgeable over time. Take a look at these videos for inspiration:

In the end, you want your videos to be 10-13 minutes. What I’ve found in watching other flipped learning videos is that they don’t have to worry about “pacing.” Some flipped videos pack a whole lot of information in a short time, with not much pausing for reflection. This makes it a video that your kids can watch again and again if they need to repeat information.

Don’t Flip Out About Flipping

The bottom line is, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about your first flipped learning videos being Hollywood productions. Start with Lo-tech solutions then add tools as you grow. Also, be sure to bookmark this flipped learning beginner’s guide and reference it whenever you need help. Remember, the time spent doing flipped videos cuts down on class time, differentiates instruction for the struggling student, and helps you improve your own teaching.

Additional Reading


mf quickstart guide

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