Other services, such as those that approximate a LMS, require a lot of preparation before a teacher can use it. One of the most tedious tasks would be loading students into a course. If the district or school has not adopted an LMS and, therefore, done that preparation for you, it can be very time-consuming. Some of the sites also offer a code teachers can share with students, but then the teacher must rely on the students to sign up! We all know how that can be.Using YouTube, a teacher can upload a tutorial or lecture such as the one below and invite students to leave comments. Teachers receive notification of comments posted and can respond to them online or off.
You can edit the video online (somewhat).
YouTube allows a user to edit their video. Here are some things users can do online to make their video better.
- Trim and stabilize
- Swap audio tracks
- Change the look of the video (for instance, make it look like a cartoon)
- Add annotations
- Add captions
- Download the new version of the video for offline use
It’s easy to share with colleagues, friends, and professional development organizations.
I would assume that teachers might want to share their videos with other teachers or use them when they present at professional development conferences. Instead of requiring network access, YouTube is universally accessible via any Internet connection.
Edmodo, Moodle, and Schoology
I put these three services in alphabetical order, not in order of preference. For teachers who want security and all-in-one course management solutions, these services might be preferable to YouTube.
Edmodo and Schoology have apps for the iPad that are good and have been through a couple of releases by now. I took a look at Schoology in a post earlier this year and was impressed by its complexity combined with simplicity.
Because Schoology has started to siphon customers away from Edmodo, the latter service is playing catch-up with it. Soon, they will have to find ways to differentiate from each other again.
Both allow teachers to create courses and keep track of grades for online quizzes and assignments. Parents can log in to their child’s course to see grades and current assignments, which is a great feature too.
Both services can link to other services, like YouTube, or host a video on its own. Teachers upload the video and assign it for homework. Students watch the video and leave comments for the teacher to review before class. In class, students and teachers learn more about the concept together through collaborative learning.
Edmodo and Schoology also use social media to enhance and improve learning. Their interfaces are similar to Facebook, so many teachers and students will find it easy to use.
I like to think of Moodle as “old school.” Still, it works and it’s open source, which I really like. The Moodle community is huge and there are quite a few districts that still use it. Moodle is great for storing resources, such as videos and documents, that students can access after school. Teachers can create courses, track grades, and do all the things that they could do on Schoology and Edmodo. In my opinion, the only major differences are that Moodle is older and Moodle is not a cloud-based solution. In other words, you have to find a web server to put it on, because there is no Moodle organization to host the installation for you.
Moodle has always embraced the social nature of learning through the use of forums and email notifications. When I was studying for my MAT at USC, the school used a souped-up version of Moodle as its LMS, adding a Facebook style interface for courses and learning community. I thought it was a good combination.
Since I can’t show you the USC site, I’ll just show you mine. I don’t have the fancy Facebook-style interface since I use this site as a sandbox to play with course ideas, but I do have a news forum and a messaging block.
Educreations, iBoard, and ScreenChomp are three apps for the iPad that teachers could use to create short demonstrations. Math teachers could use these apps to review how to solve a certain type of problem, for example. English teachers could use them to demonstrate how to diagram sentences or outline a paper.
Science teachers might find the apps useful for providing a diagram of a chemical process.While I like these apps in theory, all three are rather rudimentary. None of them let a creator edit a lesson once it has been shared, nor can the creator save a lesson to work on later. If that isn’t a concern for you, then these apps might work for you.
The only app that saves a screen shot to your photo library so you can upload it to a service of your choice is iBoard. Screen Chomp lets you upload to Facebook or its service. Educreations sends your output to its service. Educreations does let you make videos on its site as well as on the iPad, which is nice.
So if you want to create an after-hours artifact in a pinch, these might be good choices for you. Let me know what you think.
Good Ol’ Skype
When I interviewed Traci House for my post about the Joplin Schools, she mentioned that there is one teacher who uses Skype for after-hours review sessions before an exam. If you are a very dedicated teacher, you could hold review sessions in the evenings also. With plugins, you can record the call and upload it to YouTube, a class blog, or whatever service you like. Two plugins that are popular are VodBurner and Pamela Call Recorder. (Note: I would not allow students to broadcast their webcams if you are going to record study sessions. I would also obtain written permission from parents before holding any sessions with students, recorded or otherwise.)
If you are thinking of flipping your classroom – or have already – I hope I have given you some good ideas for ways to help your students build background knowledge. Good luck!