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What is a flipped classroom?

Pioneered by Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams, chemistry teachers at Woodland Park High in Colorado, "flipped" classrooms invert traditional teaching methods by delivering lectures online as "homework" and shifting engagement activities into the classroom. By making this "flip," teachers are able to spend class time working directly with students to provide hands-on instruction and support.
Video Commentary:  Jonathan Bergman  |  Aaron Sams

Advantages of a flipped classroom

  • Active vs. passive learning - By moving lectures out of the classroom, students are able to become active particpants in the learning process through learning activities delivered during the class period.
  • Self-paced instruction - Because lectures are available online 24/7, students are able to learn at the pace that best suits them. They can stop and rewind explanations of concepts they find difficult and refer back to past lectures to review older content.
  • Multiple learning styles - Different students learn in different ways, so by delivering instruction in multiple forms, the likelihood for engagement and retention is improved.
  • Varied instruction - By offering instruction in multiple forms, students are more likely to remain motivated throughout the learning process.
  • Social interaction - With added class time for collaborative activities, social interation is promoted amongst the students and the student and teacher.
  • 21st century preparation - Using technology for educational purposes at an early age develops technical skills and provides students with a working knowledge of 21st century tools and resources.

Disadvantages of a flipped classroom

  • Non-universal accessibility - For one reason or another, not all students are capable of accessing online instruction at home which can set them back in the learning process and limit their progress.
  • Additional time/effort - Creating online lessons and coming up with engaging learning activities for an entire requires a significant amount of additional time and effort that some are not willing or able to commit.
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Getting Started

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In this instructional module, you will gain the conceptual knowledge, technical skills and pedagogical expertise necessary to deliver lessons via the internet and develop effective learning activities to promote creating thinking and social interaction during class time using available resources.

Where do I start?

Flipping a class occurs in two steps. The first is to create and share a web-based video to deliver instruction (at home). The second step is to create learning activities to implement during class time. So, beginning with step one, "Creating an Online Instructional Video," you must first determine the type of delivery that is best suited for you and your course. To do so, ask yourself the following:

  • How do I deliver instruction?

    Teachers deliver instruction in different ways. Some lecture as they flip through slides. Some instruct through animated gestures and movements. Some (mainly those in courses like chemistry, physics and math) use whiteboards to work through problems by hand. Some combine all three.

  • How proficient am I with technology?

    Just as instruction varies, so does the technical skill of each instructor. For those with high technical proficiency, the options for creating an online video are much greater than those will less experience working with multimedia.

  • What are my budget concerns?
    Budget can also come into play as both hardware and software often carry associated costs. While there are more than a handful of free tools available to accomplish what you want, having a few extra dollars to spend can provide you with a wider range of options.

Types of Online Instruction

Online Videos

A wide range of instructional videos are currently available online (See Resources) from homemade videos to recorded lectures from top universities. Find a video that suits your lesson, share it with your students and you're done.

  • Instructional StyleLecture
  • Technical SkillBeginner
  • Expected Cost$ (Low)

Narrated Screencasts

Create a lesson directly from your computer with simple software that captures the events on your screen as you narrrate. Ranging in complexity, screencasts offer a wide range of options to match your instructional approach.

  • Instructional StyleVarious
  • Technical SkillIntermediate
  • Expected Cost$ (Low) to $$ (Mid)

Videotaped Lectures

Setup your video camera, hit record and give your lesson. Though there are a few technical issues to iron out with editing, compression and upload, this approach has been the default method for many years and is fairly straightforward.

  • Instructional StyleLecture
  • Technical SkillIntermediate
  • Expected Cost$$ (Mid) to $$$ (High)
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Hardware & Software

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What type of hardware do I need?

Depending on the type of instruction you selected, the hardware requirements will vary. However, regardless of the variation, two major components are required: a COMPUTER and BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTION.

Online Videos

  • Computer (PC or Mac)
  • Broadband Internet

Narrated Screencasts

  • Microphone (internal or external)
  • Web cam - Optional
  • Interactive Tablet - Optional
  • Computer (PC or Mac)
  • Broadband Internet

Videotaped Lectures

  • Digital Video Camera
  • Tripod - Optional
  • Computer (PC or Mac)
  • Broadband Internet
Can I use an Ipad to create an online instructional video?
Yes. The Apple iPad offers a wide range of options to develop video-based instruction. Using the built-in video camera (iPad 2) along with the iMovie app, you can record lectures, edit and post them to YouTube. In addition, relatively inexpensive screencasting apps are also available via iTunes that allow you to capture the movements on your screen and record audio.

What type of software do I need?

Online Video  (Free)

Using online video to deliver lessons does not require any additional software other than a standard internet browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.) which should already be installed on your computer.

Narrated Screencasts  (Basic - Free; Advanced - $99+)

Creating a screencast that captures the movements on your screen along with an audio narrative requires just one piece of free, web-based software - Screenr is platform independent (PC or Mac), easy to use and FREE, but does have a few minor limitations. The two most limiting are the lack of editing options and a five minute time limit.

For those that want more control over their video or expect to exceed the five minute limit, Camtasia is a trusted solution that allows you to both capture your screen movements and edit the video to your liking after it has been recorded. Camtasia Studio for PC is $299 and Camtasia for Mac is $99.


  • Software Cost - Free
  • Installation Required - None
  • Video Editing Capability - No
  • Capture Audio - Yes
  • Display Webcam Video - Yes
  • Capture Handwriting - Yes
  • Time Limit - 5 minutes

Compare Camtasia

  • Software Cost - $99 (Mac); $299 (PC)
  • Installation Required - Yes
  • Video Editing Capability - Yes
  • Capture Audio - Yes
  • Display Webcam Video - Yes
  • Capture Handwriting - Yes
  • Time Limit - Unlimited
** Only software compatible with the two major operating systems (Mac & PC) were included. Other platform specific screencasting software is available, so if you are tied to a specific platform or are looking for a lower cost solution, Google "screencasting software."
Is Screencasting the same as Vodcasting?
No. Screencasting is a specific type of Vodcasting that uses video captured from a computer screen. Vodcasting is a broad term that refers to a recording and publishing of a personal video to the web. It is derived from the term Podcast which is limited to audio. ** Videotaped Lectures (below) would be considered vodcasts.

Videotaped Lectures  (Basic - Free; Advanced - $299+)

In order to capture and edit a videotaped lecture on your computer you will need video editing software. For most, the free video editing software that comes preinstalled on your computer - iMovie (Mac) and Windows Movie Maker (PC) - is more than sufficient to accomplish the task, but if you feel you need additional editing options, you may want to consider upgrading to a more professional software package such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. These items start at $299.

** In the case that your camera is not compatible with your editing software, you may need additional software to convert the video into a usable format.

What technical skills do I need?

Finding an Online Video

No technical skills are required to find an online video. Simply look through the educational resources and find the video that is best suited to deliver your lesson.

Creating a Screencast

Creating a screencast can be as complex as you want it to be. If you're all about simplicity and want to get started right away, please read through the "Beginner" option below. If you have a little more time to tinker and are technically inclined, make your way down the "Advanced" path.

For BEGINNERS, the best way to get started is to go to and jump right in. For those that need a little more instruction, watch this quick tutorial.

For ADVANCED users, download a trial version of Camtasia Studio for PC or Camtasia for Mac and use the tutorials to get started (PC | Mac).

Tips for an Effective Screencast

  • Control Your Environment - Eliminate any ambient noise (close windows, turn off A/C, etc.) that could clutter your audio.
  • Ensure Clear, Consistent Audio - If using a built-in microphone, maintain a constant distance and speak with an even tone. If possible, use an external microphone to improve clarity.
  • Use the Proper Aspect Ratio - Focus the attention of the user by capturing only the important parts of your screen. Keep in mind that most screencasts will not be viewed at full screen, so test your output to ensure it is readable.
  • Hide Personal Information - If capturing and entire desktop or web browser, hide any personal information (files, bookmarks, etc.) that could be visibile during the screencast.
  • Limit Mouse Movement - Reduce any visual noise that could distract the user. Think of the mouse as a pointer and only move it when needed.
  • Write a Script - Prepare a script to ensure your screencast flows well and is direct and to the point.
How do I mimic a whiteboard on a screencast?
To capture handwritten movements (like writing on a whiteboard) you must purchase a Digital Pen/Tablet, then follow this tutorial to complete the process.

Recording a Lecture

If you're able to set the camera on a stable platform and hit record, most of your work is done, though you could encounter some difficulty in transfering the video on to your computer. Because there are so many different types of cameras, you will need to hunt down your manual and follow the directions to make the transfer.
QUICK TIP  Use an external microphone (shotgun or clip-on) for better audio quality and clarity.

Editing & Uploading

If you followed the BEGINNER screencasting path above or decided to use an online video, then the editing and uploading has already been done for you. Move on to the next step, "Sharing."

If you followed the ADVANCED screencasting path or decided to work with a videotaped lecture, then you have a few extra editing and uploading steps to take care of before you can share your video.

Fortunately, the current versions of most editing software keep the editing process fairly straigtforward and have built-in options for uploading. Use the tutorials provided to edit and upload your video, then move on to "Sharing."
  • Camtasia
  • iMovie
  • Windows Movie Maker
Where should I upload my video?
YouTube is the most common website for uploading video, but because a large number of schools block the site on their campus network, you may want to consider using alternative options such as Vimeo or TeacherTube. Screenr and Camtasia (via offer their own hosting solutions which may not be blocked, but due to variations in security protocols you should check with your IT administrator before uploading.


To share video with your students, you have two main options: LINKING and EMBEDDING.

To LINK to an uploaded video, go to the page where the video is posted and locate the "URL" section (Screenr) or click the "Share" button (Youtube). Copy the URL shown and paste it on a printed assignment sheet, email or class website.

** LINKING is the simpler and more versatile of the two methods. Videos can only be EMBEDED on live webpages.

To EMBED an uploaded video, go to the page where the video is posted and locate the "Embed" section (Screenr) or click the "Share" button (Youtube). In Screenr, click the "Get Embed Code" button, set the width in the popup box and copy the HTML code shown. In YouTube, after clicking the "Share" button, find and click on the "Embed" button. Make the appropriate customizations (if necessary), then copy the HTML code shown. Once the HTML code has been copied, paste the code directly into your class website.

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Learning Activities

Next Step
Now that you have learned how to create and share an online instructional video, the first half of your flip is complete. The next step is to develop learning activities to fill your newly found class time.

Learning Strategies

In order to increase the effectiveness of your activities, three learning strategies will be presented. The ARCS Model of Motivation will provide a structured framework to promote and sustain motivation throughout the learning process, the Problem Based Learning (PBL) method will help to evoke critical thought, and Collaborative Learning will encourage communication and social interaction amongst the students.

ARCS Motivational Model

According to Keller's ARCS Model of Motivation, there are four major factors that promote and sustain motivation in the learning process. They are: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction. By developing activities that account for each of these four factors, students engagement is expected to improve.

ATTENTION  Develop activities that arouse and sustain student attention.

Instructional Strategies

  • Stimulate the Senses - Arouse the senses by invoking suprise or uncertainty.
  • Promote Active Participation - Adopt strategies that encourage learners to be involved.
  • Use Multiple Methods - Keep the instruction dynamic and use a variety of methods to engage students.
  • Arouse Inquiry - Pose challenging questions or problems that stimulate thought.
  • Use Humor - Use humor (but not too much) to make the learning process fun.

RELEVANCE  Develop activities that relate to the students' interests and goals.

Instructional Strategies

  • Use Familiar Terms - Use language and present situations that are related to students past experiences.
  • Show Future Worth - Demonstrate higher value by showing how the instruction will help achieve upcoming goals.
  • Demonstrate Present Value - Show the value of the instruction and how it will affect them in the present.
  • Build on Existing Experience - Explain how current lessons will build upon past knowledge and experiences.

CONFIDENCE  Develop activities that promote confidence and can lead to a succesful outcome.

Instructional Strategies

  • Develop Clear Objectives - Establish clear expectations so students can feel confident they are on the right track.
  • Allow for Manageable Growth - Allow the students to grow at a manageable rate that allows them to feel success as they progress.
  • Create Successful Outcomes - Create outcomes that is challenging, yet allows the students to feel success.
  • Provide Feedback - Provide postive and constructive feedback to help students improve.
  • Allow for Learner Control - Allow students to have a sense of control over the pace of the learning process.

SATISFACTION  Develop activities that reward students for successful work.

Instructional Strategies

  • Create Intrisic Value - Show students there is value in what they learned beyond the classroom.
  • Show that Knowledge is Applicable - Allow students to apply their learned knowledge in real life settings.
  • Provide Reinforcement - Provide reinforcement to improve motivation and encourage progress.
  • Offer Genuine Praise - Give praise when praise is warranted. Do not patronize.
For more information on the ARCS Model of Motivation visit John Keller's Official Website at

Problem Based Learning

Problem Based Learning, or PBL, is a student-centered instructional approach that promotes active learning through the development of working solutions for existing, real-world problems. The goal is for students to develop practical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, self-directed learning methods and collaborative skills.

In this approach, students are placed into groups and tasked with coming up with a working solution to a multi-faceted, real world problem. To accomplish this, students must determine what they already know, identify what they need to know to solve the problem and figure out a means to learn it, all while working together as a collective group.

Characteristics of Problem Based Learning

  • Student Centered - Instruction is centered around the students rather than the teachers.
  • Problem Based - Real-life problems are given as the focus to develop working solution through self-directed learning.
  • Self-Directed - Students direct their learning process and acquire knowledge on their own to solve the given problem.
  • Teachers as Guides - Instructors play the role of facilitators, helping students work through the problem-solving process.
  • Collaborative - Students are placed in groups and must work together to develop a working solution.
For more information on Problem Based Learning visit the PBL website at the University of Delaware at

Collaborative Learning

Rooted in Vygotsky's Social Development Theory which argues that social interaction plays a fundamental role in cognitive development, Collaborative Learning is an broad term that describes a variety of instructional approaches involving joint intellectual efforts by students, or students and teachers.

Benefits of Collaborative Learning

  • Constructivist Learning - Learning is an active, constructive process that requires the student to be involved.
  • Diverse Perspectives - Working in groups provides additional views and perspectives that students would not have access to working alone.
  • Supportive - Receiving support from both instructors and group members increases engagment and learning.
  • Social Development - Interacting as a part of a group forces the development of social skills and improves learning.
  • Teamwork & Responsibility - Work collectively as a part of a team to achieve a common goal develops social skills and promotes individual responsibility.

Collaborative Learning Strategies

  • Determine Topics Suitable for Group Work - Not all topics and courses are suitable for group work. Identify the lessons that will benefit most from collective interaction.
  • Develop Operating Standards for Groups - Explain how you want the groups to function and how the work is to be divided.
  • Create Tasks that Require Collaboration - When developing the lesson, incorporate collaborative activities into learning process.
  • Offer a Means for Peer Evaluation - Allow for team members to assess their peers as means to maintain balance and ensure an equitable division of labor.
  • Create a Competition Amongst Groups - Competition provides added motivation for higher achievement and group success.
  • Be Conscious of Group Size/Ability - Organize groups so that the size is manageable and the skills/abilties of each team member allow for functional team interactions.
  • Assess Individual & Group Performance - To ensure that everyone pulls their weight and that the team functions well in a group, develop assessments to measure both individual and group performance.
For more information on Collaborative Learning visit the Tools for Teaching at the University of California, Berkeley at

Types of Activities

Using the strategies listed above, develop learning activities that sustain motivation, encourage critical thought and promote social interaction. Select an activity type from the list below and adapt it to your lesson (or develop an entirely new activity).
  • Guided Instruction - Allow students to work through problems sets with your guidance and that of their peers.
  • Competitive Games - Play individual and team games to promote competition and assess knowledge acquisition.
  • Case Studies - Present case studies for students to analyze and come up with potential solutions for using learned concepts.
  • Demonstrations - Conduct in-class demonstrations of learned concepts to promote engagement and display relevance.
  • Group Discussion - Openly discuss learned topics in a forum-like atmosphere to promote concept sharing and social interaction.
  • Peer Teaching - Have students present learned material in their own words and receive feedback from their peers.
  • Project Development - Use class time to work on a class project, report or presentation.
  • Role-Playing Simulations - Put students in role-playing simulations to act our real-world scenarios that are relevant to the learned concepts.
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Next Step
Want more information? Need help finding great videos? Looking for sample lessons or activities? Listed below is a wide range of educational and technical resources to help you through the process of "flipping" your classroom.

Online Videos

Narrated Screencasts

Videotaped Lectures

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