So you’ve decided to create your own videos as a part of your flipped class. That is awesome! The feedback I’ve consistently received from my students is that they prefer videos that I create rather than when I use videos from other sources. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.
KEEP IT SHORT – An effective video is a short video. Student attention can drift after a few minutes, so don’t have them watch one long video. If there’s a lot of information, break it up. Two seven minute videos are more effective than a fourteen minute video. For younger students, a good rule of thumb is one minute per grade level.
CONSIDER YOUR RECORDING ENVIRONMENT – Be aware of what’s around you when you record so students can keep their focus on your instruction. Are you wearing a “busy” shirt with funky patterns? Is the background plain? Is the lighting bright enough to see what you want to show but not too bright it washes out things? What types of background noises are there? You certainly don’t need to be in a recording studio (I make my videos in my dining room), but preparing for these issues help keep student focus where you want it.
HAVE QUALITY AUDIO – Make sure your audio can be heard. Check to see that the microphone on your computer or camera captures your voice clearly. If it doesn’t invest in an external microphone. Visuals are great, but if your students can’t understand you, then the lesson loses its effectiveness.
TRAIN YOUR STUDENTS – Don’t just create your first lesson and then assign it for homework. Give students that background knowledge on the software prior to assigning academic work. Create a welcome video explaining how students will use the videos and share your expectations. I created a video that teaches students how to navigate my class website. You can still create a practice quiz or other assessment for the introductory videos and count it as a participation grade, but this will help your students get comfortable with the technology prior to the academic work.
PERSONALIZE AND BE GENERIC – While this sounds like an oxymoron, it is something to keep in mind. Use the videos to exhibit your personality. Share personal stories about you if it fits in to the lesson. Students like seeing you and it allows you to connect with them. However, also be generic. If you want to use the videos in future years then make sure the videos stay relevant. For instance, don’t do a “shout out” to 5th period lab group D or share an amusing anecdote about Darryl from period 2 because then you’ve dated your videos. Next year’s students may not know or care about these things and that might lead to confusion or you recording the same lesson two years in a row.
QUALITY NOT PERFECTION – Recordings do have to be perfect. It’s ok to make minor errors, sneeze, or have your cat walk across the screen. As a colleague once said to me, “do you want it perfect or do you want it on Wednesday?”
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF – Use videos for other things besides lecture. For instance, I record my sub plans. That way each student can view my sub plans and and I can be crystal clear as to my expectations in my absence. This helps the substitute with classroom management and students have fewer questions about what to do.
Any other tips and tricks? How else can you use recordings in your class? I’d love to know. Please leave some ideas in the comments below.
Until next time…