I’ve had a lot of questions about how to actually make the flip in your classroom. This is a simple walkthrough of the technology you will need as well as some helpful links I’ve found as I’ve made the flip.
1. Getting the Accessories
A. Flipping does require some extra technology if you don’t already have it. This can come in the form of a USB tablet you plug into your computer, a tablet PC if you have one, SmartBoards, Promethian boards, etc. The most cost-effective way if you’re starting from scratch is buying a simple writing tablet.
B. If you don’t have a webcam on your laptop, you may want to consider purchasing one to record
your face with your videos. Students have a higher connection to your content if they can see your face while watching the podcast. There are various companies that make all sorts of webcams that go from a simple clip to ones that even track your head movement. Most products fromLogitech are pretty reasonable. I would advise against purchasing a webcam with a built in microphone, as those usually tend to be lower-end and don’t have the best functionality.
C. You also might consider buying a simple microphone to reduce background noise. Some laptop mics work fine, but if there is any sort of background, it can easily drown out your speaking. I use a simple clip mic that cost $10 and plugs into my headphone jack. I’ve also known teachers that use XBox Live headsets that work fairly well. You can purchase higher-end recording mics that use a USB interface and have professional-level quality that start around $100.
2. Recording Software
There are a variety of screen-recording programs available, these are the ones I have personally used or have spoken directly to users of the programs:
A. Camtasia (Mac and PC) – This is the program I use and I love it. It is made by a company called TechSmith and they have excellent customer support if you’re having trouble using the software. Both Camtasia Studio (PC) and Camtasia for Mac have free, full version, 30 day trial downloads and then purchasable licenses. Camtasia is great, but it is more expensive than some of the other options. But, TechSmith offers education pricing for teachers that want to start screencasting. Camtasia Studio is $179 for the educator’s license because it comes with a TON of other functionality. Camtasia: Mac, which is great, but with fewer features than the Studio, is $99. Both are single-user licenses, but you can transfer that to a new computer if you upgrade in the future.
B. ScreenFlow (Mac ONLY) – This is what I started recording on. It is Mac only, and is pretty similar to Camtasia. However, it has limited editing capabilities, which is why I switched. You can download a trial version for free, but the videos will have a watermark. The license is $99 and can be bought to upgrade the trial version you already have downloaded.
C. CamStudio (PC ONLY) – If you’re an open-source person, CamStudio is an open-source project aimed at creating a good screen recorded without having to pay a significant amount. From what I’ve heard, its functionality is very similar to Camtasia or ScreenFlow. I can’t comment on editing, because I haven’t personally used it. But, because its free, it might be a good fit if you’re on a tight budget.
There are some free resources that can help you flip your class if you’re interested.
A. Jing – Put out by TechSmith, Jing is a download that will let you record 5 minutes of screen time. The other great thing is that Jing can also upload and store all of your content on the TechSmith website. It is a lens into the TechSmith world and the other products they offer.
B. QucikTime 9+ – If you’re a Mac user like me, any version of QuickTime 9 and above has screen recording capability. It doesn’t, however, allow you to edit other than to chop the ends off. You can take that recording and edit in iMovie if you want (or need) to edit the recording. A little cumbersome, but free is always good.
C. Screencast-O-Matic – A free, browser-based service that lets you screen record with just a username and password to the site. You can recored up to 15 minutes of time for free, and they will host the finished product or help you export to YouTube or other service. But, like the others, you don’t have editing power in the free version. You can pay $12/mo, though, to have access to editing.
3. Putting it All Together
Once you have your tools, you’re reading to begin podcasting! PowerPoint (both Mac and PC…more in a minute) has a built-in “Pen” tool in the presentation mode. Simply right click on the screen, and then navigate through the menu to “Pen”
The big difference between PC and Mac is that the PC annotations become part of the slideshow…Mac does not. In other words, when you change slides on a PC, the annotations are saved and you can refer back if you need to. On Mac, they are not. So, it takes a little bit of planning before recording to make sure you don’t need to click back and forth too much, because you’ll lose your notes. Unfortunately, Keynote does not have a built-in annotation device, so you would need a different program called OmniDazzle to annotate. I just stick to PowerPoint.
There are a lot of other fun things you can do with podcasting. A great program is called ScribbleScreen(Free download,
Mac only…sorry PC Mac and PC) that essentially works as a big whiteboard on your desktop. Its great for diagramming or just free-form drawing over your entire monitor. You can then take a screenshot and upload that picture to a website for kids to reference. It also can duplicate your desktop (think: laying a piece of glass over your monitor and then writing over top of it) so you can annotate documents, pictures, graphs, charts…whatever. There are a lot more PC programs (Google: PC digital whiteboard) than Mac, that’s why I mention ScribbleScreen here.