"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Edgar Degas
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In a fully flipped classroom, video lectures are viewed by students at home before class, while in-class time is used for discussions, exercises or projects. The benefits include…
I first encountered flipping about three years ago during an online conference offered by The Art of Education. Johanna Russell, a middle school art teacher in Iowa, described how she was flipping her classroom. I realized the benefits of having more studio time with my students if I flipped. Unfortunately, many of my inner-city students do not have easy access to the Internet outside of school. That meant that I could not run a fully flipped classroom. It did not mean that I couldn’t use elements of flipping to enrich my program.
I began using videos as a means to have more consistency between multiple classes. If every class saw the same video, every class received the same information. Even veteran teachers like myself have had to start a class by saying, “I forgot to mention something yesterday.” Videos added more consistency and still allowed for individual modification or remediation if necessary. Sometimes students even asked to re-watch a video. I found the use of videos to be great for absent students. I could catch them up by sitting them down at my computer to watch a video while I continued to work with other students. This was also great for all of those new students we get throughout the school year. Flipping was great for teaching the potter’s wheel. We only have one wheel, so learning is very individualized. Students were required to watch a selected video before I began working with them. This allowed me to help that student as needed with their throwing, and still help other students rather than focus all of my attention on the wheel student. Another benefit I found was in classroom management. While classroom management has always been one of my strengths, having students in seats watching a video on a screen rather than huddled around a table for a demonstration, meant less picking on each other. This was especially helpful with my special-needs students, some because of social issues and others because of mobility issues. The biggest and greatest benefit of flipping that I found was the reduction in supplies and samples needed for demonstrations. One video rather than six physical demonstrations a day saved time and especially money needed for supplies in a financially distressed, underprivileged school district.
The one downside of my use of flipping was the fact that I was using videos that I did not create. I was still in front of the classroom more than I wanted due to the need to explain how the video my students just watched translated into our studio. After seeing another presentation during this summer’s online conference from The Art of Education on flipping from Nic Hahn, an elementary art teacher in Minnesota, I was re-inspired. I was going to begin creating my own videos that deliver the exact information I want my students to have. So, I spent the last week researching and purchasing equipment. The following is what I plan to use during the upcoming school year.
Any digital camera with video function, camcorder, smart phone or tablet will do. I have an iPhone and an iPad. I plan to use the iPhone rather than the iPad as much as possible because my iPhone is considerably newer than my iPad, which will record a better quality video. Although, last year we used my iPad to create a stop-motion video to advertise for a glaze fundraiser, and the quality was still pretty good considering it was a very early iPad. I also prefer the immediacy of the smart phone or tablet since I can upload directly to YouTube or The Muddy Bearcat without having to upload to my computer first. All of the other equipment I purchased is compatible with either iOS or Android devices.
I already own an adjustable-height tripod. I plan to use my Targus TGT-58TR that was purchased at Wal-Mart several years ago for around $18.00. Since I teach ceramics, I do not need to record from directly overhead as you might need to do with flat work, although there are tripods and tripod attachments available that will allow you to do so. There are also many DIY tutorials available as well.
I purchased a MeFoto SideKick360Plus Smartphone Adapter for Tripods at the nearby Apple store for $39.95. I believe this adapter will allow for overhead video if needed, but it was purchased simply because you cannot screw a smart phone or tablet onto a tripod like you can a digital camera or camcorder. This was my most expensive purchase. I’m sure that there are cheaper adapters available, but I happened to be at the Apple store and there it was. Excited impulse buying at its finest.
I want my videos to have clear voice quality and none of the echoing I’ve heard in other videos, so I decided to purchase an external microphone. I hate wires, so I purchased a Pyle Professional Lavalier Wireless Microphone System model PDWM96 found on Amazon for $13.60. Tests sound good so far. The only thing to remember with an external microphone is that you need to remove the jack during playback to allow the phone to switch from the microphone to its own speakers so you can hear the sound. This really is common sense, but I was so excited to hear the video test that I forgot to pull the jack out and thought the microphone wasn’t working. After a few minutes of testing and disappointment, my husband’s fresh eyes saw the problem. Duh, of course I can’t hear it, the phone thinks the ear buds are plugged in.
Due to the type of external microphone I purchased, I needed an adapter so the jack would fit into my phone. I purchased a Monoprice 3.5mm Stereo Plug to 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) Stereo Jack Adapter found on Amazon for $2.23.
The final piece I purchased, and probably my favorite, was a Gadgin AB Shutter 6 Premium Bluetooth Remote Shutter found on Amazon for $19.77. I’m lazy. I hate video editing. With a remote control I can create videos from start to finish without going back in with editing software to cut off the parts where I push the start-video button and re-push to stop the video. This small, simple remote will mean that I do not need to edit. Yay! While all of those nice fades, transitions and special effects I see in other videos are great, I do not need them nor do I have the patience to create them. No editing means that I can immediately upload the video and move on to the next thing I need to accomplish.
So there it is, my list of toys for the upcoming school year. Lots of tech gadgets for under $100.00. Around $75.00 since I already own a tripod. I realized while researching and shopping, that the videos I was showing to my students really taught me about the quality and types of videos that I wanted to create for my students. All you really need is a recording device and a way to prop the device at your desired angle while recording. That could even mean leaning your device against a can of paintbrushes. You need to use what works for you. And while I realize that there will be extra work in creating these videos at the start, and yeah, maybe I don’t need the extra gadgets, I know that I have made it fun and easy enough to keep me recording and it will be well worth it in the long run, and a great benefit for my students. Happy Flipping!
Jill M. Anders, M.Ed.