Video Learning

The Flipped Classroom: Putting Students in the Driver’s Seat


What is it?

When presented with the flipped classroom model, educators are somewhat apprehensive about making this pedagogical shift. In order to determine its place in the classroom and its potential effectiveness, it is essential to completely understand what the flipped classroom is and is not.

The flipped classroom does not only center on watching videos. While video learning is a component, the main focus of the flipped classroom is opening up instructional time for meaningful,  engaging, and differentiated learning experiences.

The Flipped Learning Network defines flipped Learning as a “pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

As part of the blended learning process, the flipped classroom challenges students to utilize a variety of multimedia formats to acquire and evaluate information, thus creating a constructionist learning environment.  In a recent study, 47 percent of students in grades 9-12, 39 percent of students in grade 6-8 and 25 percent of students in grades 3-5 responded that they wanted to learn online to control their own learning experience(eduviews). With this is in mind, the combination between traditional face to face learning and online learning components can provide students with the ideal environment to meet their learning goals. Tools that include digital content can contribute to a learning process that is current and meaningful. Educators that use blended learning have commented on the increased amount of available one on one instructional time when online components were used within the lesson. Furthermore, video learning is relevant. Our hyper connected digital natives now use online content as a primary resource when gathering information; making it an essential part of the learning process. “Cashing in” on our students propensity towards online content creates the engagement necessary to cultivate meaningful learning experiences.

What is looks like in practice.

Flipping your classroom includes choosing a lesson, seeking a video that supports the lesson, assigning the video for at home viewing, and using instructional time for activities other than direct lecture.  There are a wide gamut of online video sites such as Youtube, Brainpop, Khan Academy, and Ted ED that offer videos in nearly every content area. The gold standard for flipped classroom videos is Edpuzzle, a tool that allows you to search a wide database of educational videos and personalize them for delivery to your students. Capabilities include, cropping, voiceover, the addition of text annotations and questions. An added plus is the ability to monitor if students watched the video, how many times it was watched, and what sections were re-watched. Also included is the function allowing teachers to review student’s results in the embedded questions.

While creating videos may seem daunting to some educators, it is not necessary to flipping your classroom. There are perks to teacher created videos including personalization for students. Simply said, students enjoy watching teacher created content.  What do teacher created videos actually look like? Mr. Kilcran, an eighth grade science teacher has launched flipped learning in his classroom with much success. Not only are his  videos engaging to his students, he has opened up valuable instructional time for differentiated learning and hands on science activities.

Mr. Kilcran Science – Videos on middle school science topics and practical applications of flipping your classroom.

The educational arena has changed making it vital for educators to reflect on how to achieve effective learning. The shift from being the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side” holds more weight now than ever before. The changing needs of our students are significant and adding the flipped learning model to the classroom can foster active engagement in the learning process.

Flipped learning is well worth the attempt.




Video Learning With a Boy and His Robot


From mitosis to semicolons, explanations can be tricky for even the most veteran educator; especially if you are introducing a concept in an early grade. There are plenty of sites that can bring video learning into the classroom to assist educators with introducing topics, or simply providing students another way of processing information.  One of my favorites sites is BrainPOP.  Each video is led by Tim and Moby, an odd duo consisting of a boy and his robot.  Tim and Moby have a unique flair for delivering information to students in both a simple and engaging way.

Created by an immunologist and pediatrician, Avraham Kadar, M.D., Brain pop was initially used to explain difficult concepts to young patients. Currently, BrainPOP is used by educators as an effective 21st century tool to enhance curriculum content.In addition to offering animated videos relating to all content areas, BrainPOP is Common Core aligned, offers an ELL portal for English language learners, and Brain POP jr. for k-3 students.

With capabilities that reach far beyond an extensive video library, BrainPOP boasts an online educational setting that bolsters student achievement and supports professional development. “My BrainPOP” allow teachers progress monitoring, and individualized assessment creation.  Students can access games, quizzes, and other standards aligned activities. BrainPOP supports multiple learning styles and digital learning by delivering content using a wide variety of media types Completely compatible with most classroom devices, BrainPOP is an ideal integration of technology into the classroom.Most importantly, after just a few uses, Tim and Moby will surely become classroom favorites.

Five Stand Out TedEd Videos for the Classroom


TedEd’s claim that their lessons are worth sharing holds some serious truth. Created by skilled educators and animators, the TedEd video library offers educational media that proves both engaging and thought provoking.  After immersing myself in the TedEd video library, it is evident that these videos can serve as the perfect catalyst for meaningful classroom discussion. Here are five videos that stood out:

1. Overcoming Obstacles by Steven Claunch: How can we overcome obstacles?  Many of our greatest obstacles are actually valuable life lessons. Steven Claunch describes his experiences with a disability and how obstacles can in fact provide important opportunities.  Presented in a clear and compelling way, this talk is truly inspirational for all ages.

2. Pixar- The Math Behind The Movies by Tony DeRose:  Educators are constantly challenged with making real world connections with their students.  Teaching students how is equally important as teaching them why.Pixar- The Math Behind The Movies is for every student who has asked when algebra or geometry will ever be useful.  Pixar’s lead researcher Tony DeRose reveals the fascinating connections on how math brings our favorite characters to life.

3. Should We Eat Bugs? by Emma Bryce: Emma Bryce has captured an interesting subject in her original video– Should We Eat Bugs? Bryce delves into the idea that insects may be the answer to many of our global food dilemmas. This video is an ideal introduction to a persuasive writing unit.

4. A Brief History of Video Games(Part I) by Safwat Saleem:Students will love this animation that chronicles the history of video games. Saleem examines the major players that contributed to the evolution of the games we know today.

5. A Host of Heroes by April Gudenrath: Inspiration comes from many places. April Gudenrath explores literatures most famous heroes and the impact they have on everyday people.

Five Interesting Ways to Start a Lesson.


Sometimes the most interesting lessons have the most unconventional beginnings. Tech savvy educators are finding innovative ways to introduce lessons, and spark student curiosity. Try enhancing your stated learning objectives with these unique introductions:

1. Allow your students to research the topic prior to introducing it.  In most classes, the internet is readily available. For older students, Google can be used to build knowledge before the lecture. For younger students, provide them with a kid friendly site where they can read or see visuals about the topic.

2. Use a clip from YouTube or Brainpop to Spark interest and initiate discussion.

3.  Create a QR Code for students to scan to find introductory video clips, visuals, or reading material.

4.Use a word cloud to initiate discussion. Allow students to draw out the topic from the word cloud.

5. Use current events to make the topic more relatable to students. Sites such as Ted Ed, Youngzine, or Time for Kids, provides interesting  material to make real world connections.

The beginning of the lesson is often the make it or break it moment where you hook the child into the topic, or lose them. Incorporating technology into lesson introductions will foster student interest and generate engagement.

The Teaching Channel: A Window to Common Core in Action


Fueled by technology, professional development has made some sizeable changes.  Online PD has become commonplace with Skype sessions, podcasts, and other types of video resources.

Connecting is substantially easier as teachers can now draw from an online educational community of learners to build effective practices and amp up their arsenal of teaching tools.

The Teaching Channel has designed an impressive video showcase where experts in the fields of teaching and learning collaborate to create learning resources and provide step by step common core guidance.

For more inspirational viewing, “Teaching Channel Presents” is broadcasted on Public Television on Saturdays at 4am (set your DVR). Episodes cover many aspects of Ed tech, STEM, Common Core, and The Arts.  Full versions of past episodes are housed on The Teaching Channel Website.

Aimed at grades k-5, the Teaching Channel provides an in depth look at what innovative,
Common Core aligned teaching practices look like.

Video Learning With Help from LearnZillion’s Educator Dream Team


Let’s talk Common Core.

As overwhelming as it may seem, there are solid resources that can help both you and your students manuevar through these standards.

Eric Westendorf and Alex Guerrier founded, a digital media tool that provides free common core based lessons, all organized in a familiar online video format.

Here is how it works. Five minute video lessons are narrated by a real teacher and illustrated by hand. The result is a skills focused video that students replay as needed. 

Who are these real teachers? They are part of the LearnZillion dream team which is composed of over 3000 master teachers with extensive knowledge of the common core standards and a demonstrated ability to deliver concepts to students.

LearnZillion has created a platform where professional development is partnered with teaching. Yes, sometimes teachers need help with teaching concepts, so for educators a coaches commentary is included to offer new perspectives and ideas. Resources also include slides, guided practice, Spanish video lessons, and a downloadable notes template.

With the increased need for differentiation, LearnZillion provides customized video learning where teachers can track student progress.