Curate or Create Content in a Flipped Classroom

Many teachers make the decision to flip their class, but don’t know where to start. Choosing how to provide content to your students can determine the success of your flipped class.  You certainly can go between curated and created content, but generally it is better for the students if you are consistent with one method.

Curate

The movement for Open Educational Resources (OER) has made a significant amount of content available to learners that haven’t had access to it in the past.  Curating that content to pick the best for your students is a popular way to flip your class.

Advantages

  • There is content that is free and available to all.  Teachers could eliminate expensive textbooks from their syllabus and provide content that is rich and dynamic for their students.  
  • Much of this content is produced in a digital format to allow for easy distribution.  Some tools, like EdPuzzle, not only provide an easy way to curate that content, but also set up simple ways to distribute that content.
  • The content can come from a variety of sources. You can find high-quality content made by professional filmmakers, very specific content made by experts, or even very relatable content made by students.
  • Curated content can save time for the teacher. Flipping can be time consuming and hard-work in the early stages, so finding ways to be efficient with your time can help.

Disadvantages

  • Curated content isn’t always specific to your curriculum or what you want to teach. That can be confusing to your students or leave you with gaps in learning that need to be filled.
  • Sometimes finding just the right content can take more time than anticipated. Sometimes it’s just quicker to make your own.
  • Curated content can seem impersonal to students and even lazy practice. A good practitioner is teaching in the classroom everyday with personalized instruction and valuable activities. Unfortunately, there are some people believe that if students can learn from already created content, there is no use for a content teacher in the classroom.

Sources

  • EdPuzzle is one of my favorite tools that allows you to search a variety of created content and provide a tool to remix and distribute that content.
  • TedEd is a good source for dynamic professionally created content and has some interactivity by adding a quizzing feature.
  • Khan Academy has the goal of “providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” While initially a source for math and science content, they are quickly adding more content for other subject areas and grade levels.
  • Mathtrain is a wonderful resource by teacher Eric Marcos for student-created math content.

Created Content

The past few years has seen an explosion of tools that make it easy for teachers to create their own video content even with limited technical ability.

Advantages

  • Having students hear your voice or see your face in the video helps you build better relationships with students.
  • You can adapt your content to the needs of your students and teach it the way you want.
  • While OERs can often be remixed and reused, creating your content allows you to own and distribute how you want.
  • It can be empowering to create and catalog your expertise.  At the same time, it can model that behavior to your students.
  • Watching your own content can be an excellent reflection tool to improve your teaching.

Disadvantages

  • It can be time consuming.  Until you develop efficient methods to create your videos, you can spend a lot of time making just a few minutes of content.
  • While it is a great reflection tool, it can be very humbling. Many teachers need time to get used to seeing and hearing themselves.
  • Sometimes someone else just says or does it better and trying to recreate that is not worth the time invested.
  • While there are free tools, some of the best tools can also be expensive.

Tools

  • Camtasia Studio is my favorite tool.  It is a robust screencasting tool that allows teachers to create very professionally looking videos.
  • Screencast-O-Matic is a free online tool that allows teachers to screencast.  It has some limitations, but can be great entry point for teachers learning to screencast.
  • Quicktime is a great tool for Mac users.  It is powerful and even allows you to screencast an iPad screen.
  • Explain Everything is my favorite iPad tool. It allows those using an iPad to create some nice videos and has many output options.  This is the tool I use with my students when they are creating videos.

These aren’t the only tools or resources available, but the ones I’m most familiar. I recommend teachers move themselves to using primarily created content supplemented by curated content on some occasions.  However, curated content is a great way to get started in flipping your class.  Whichever methods you choose, if you keep your students best interest in mind, you won’t go wrong.

Image credit: Nick Saltmarsh

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