We've all been there before – leaving a classroom feeling confused, anxious, dreading our homework. But it doesn't have to be this way. Not for Stacey Roshan's pupils anyway. We spoke to the NAIS 'Teacher of the Future' about classroom flipping and the everyday tools she uses to engage her students.
We've covered the growing popularity of using VideoScribe to support the flipped classroom model before. But what exactly is the flipped model? And how are ambitious teachers using VideoScribe to support learning?
Stacey Roshan teaches maths at Bullis Upper School in Maryland. Four years ago she started 'flipping' the format of her lessons to give her students more time to discuss and work through problems together. This drastically improved her students' anxiety and productivity, winning Stacey the title of NAIS 'Teacher of the Future'.
What exactly is the flipped classroom model?
There's no one size fits all in teaching, but for me the flipped classroom is all about the shift in my classroom environment, where class is centered around students’ needs for the day versus content that I need to deliver.
This has been a means for me to build stronger relationships with my students and individualize instruction. Students solving problems in the classroom collaboratively has been a way to take stress out of homework, where this type of work typically took place. Plus, with video lessons, students can rewind and review and take in information at the speed most comfortable for them.
I discovered the power of VideoScribe and would be quite sad to be without it!
How does that differ from the average maths lesson?
The traditional math classroom is heavily lecture-based and solving problems happens at home, for homework.
In my classroom, we have reversed that mentality. We do problem-solving in the classroom and then discussion at the board which is very student-driven and based on their needs and concerns for the day. Then, for homework, students watch a video lesson that I've created, which serves as a basis for class the next day.
How did your students and their parents react to the flipped model?
When I rolled it out in AP Calculus I didn't have any problems. Both the students and parents were excited to hear that the difficult problems were going to be solved in the classroom. They knew they would be able to get direct help from me, as well as lean on their classmates.
However, in my first year implementing the flipped model in Honors Algebra 2, it took me a good month to build trust. My error was that I didn't explain things well enough to parents. They didn't understand my motivation for change. I resolved to start the next year differently, and VideoScribe was the answer to this problem for me.
I turn to VideoScribe for more creative projects and presentations that I want to bring to life.
What tools do you use to help you flip?
For traditional tutorial-style videos, I simply ink on a PowerPoint and create a screencast of my work. First I write out the problem, including relevant definitions and graphics, and then leave a lot of blank white space to write. I use Camtasia Studio to do a screencapture and a Surface Pro to do the inking. Finally, I use Camtasia Studio to edit and add in interactive features like quizzing.
I turn to VideoScribe for more creative projects and presentations that I want to bring to life. For things that require more talking, I find VideoScribe is the perfect tool to deliver the material.
That combination of handwriting with visuals, plus voiceover and light audio track, is powerful. Using VideoScribe enables me to do this type of work with ease, all animated to look quite professional.
I embed the videos on my school's learning management system so the students can easily access their homework.
What attracted you to VideoScribe?
It was summer, which is my favorite time to unleash some of my creative spirit! I had seen a number of hand-drawn stop-motion animation videos and did an internet search to see if there was a tool out there that could automate the process for me. And I (thankfully) happened upon VideoScribe.
I signed up for the free 7-day trial just to explore. I started by making a 'Where to find me online' video.
I got serious and created my 'A FlipClass Welcome' scribe within 7 days (which speaks volumes about how easy it is to get up and running with VideoScribe).
In that period, I discovered the power of VideoScribe and would be quite sad to be without it anymore!
What are you working on at the moment?
At the end of last school year, I worked with students at my school to use VideoScribe to give advice to future students. I did projects with my own AP Calculus students like 'Groovy AP Calculus Tips' and also with a group of international students who had just completed their first year in the US – '5 Pieces of Advice for First Year International Students'.
I plan to do more projects with students this school year. I think it is a powerful way to help them learn to make effective presentations. A lot of them are tempted to write way too much text at first, but seeing the animation is a powerful way to show them that this is not the most effective delivery.
We worked on bullet points and helpful visuals, then used VoiceOver to pull it all together... with a story! That's just one of the many reasons I love using VideoScribe with the students. I look forward to doing much more of this type of work in the coming year.
What advice would you give to another teacher looking to flip their classroom?
First and foremost, ask yourself why? To me, flipping my classroom was a solution to a problem I was having – mainly too much anxiety and not enough time for individualization in my classroom.
So to others I would say: take a good look at what your classrooms looks like right now – What activities are most worthwhile and what things do you wish you had more time for? Where could you improve? Are there things you wish you could eliminate?
After carefully thinking through those points, you might see how the flipped classroom model could address some of your needs. I believe a careful, reflective thought process is going to best help a teacher customize the flipped classroom to the needs of his/her students and school.
What would you say to another teacher interested in scribing?
Download the 7-day free trial when you have some space to play and see what you can do. You might just get addicted!
But seriously, I would recommend:
- Watch the wonderful tutorials that VideoScribe has up on their site, not only to teach you how to use VideoScribe but also to spark ideas
- If you want an idea of just how easy it is to get up and started, watch a brief VideoScribe intro tutorial that I put together
- Brainstorm – what is an engaging presentation that you've wanted to be able to put online?
- Download VideoScribe
- Play, make and have fun!
Are you interested in flipping your classroom? Try Stacey's blog and the Flipped Learning Network for more information.