# eLearning Video Tips

The Flipped Classroom & Video: An Interview With Bryan Wetzel

Bryan Wetzel HeadshotWe chatted to Bryan Wetzel of Skubes about the benefits of the Flipped classroom for students (and teachers!).

With a library of thousands of educational videos, Skubes is revolutionizing the education system. Bryan tells us why he sees video technology as the future of education…

What is the flipped classroom?

Flipping is a method of teaching which flips the order in which a lesson is taught. The long established method is for a teacher to use class time to present the topic, and then hope the students use their own time at home to study. All of the review and follow up to the lesson is done post classroom experience.

Flipping reverses this order, using a method most teachers know as “previewing”. The idea is to have the student arrive at the classroom already having some knowledge of what is being taught. This allows the teacher to spend less time presenting, and more time dealing with questions and filling the gaps in the students’ understanding.

It’s important to note that a flipped style of teaching works well in a homeschool environment as well.

What role does video have to play in the flipped classroom?

There is lots of new technology in education for the purposes of teaching, measuring, comprehension, etc. and there is more being brought to market everyday. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates talked about this idea in 2011 as the future of how technology would be used in education.

That being said, as of January 2015 most schools still spend the bulk of their budgets on textbooks, or the rights to online textbooks. Videos offer a great low cost alternative. Our company spends money upfront to build our video library, and then we spread that cost across hundreds of thousands of schools and students.

Studies have shown, to no-one’s amazement, that today’s students would prefer to watch videos than read information in a book. Today’s children grow up with handheld video devices. Watching a video feels natural to them. While an older community might think that reading is more valuable, the current school age population is not programmed that way. And it’s not likely to change back to reading model anytime soon, if ever.

Flipping is ideal for this culture of students that have grown up with screens in their faces, with the lesson being previewed at home through video.

What are the benefits of flipping the classroom?

A student who previews a lesson at home on video prior to classroom time, begins the classroom lesson with several advantages.

First, the student is starting the class understanding a measurable portion of the lesson. The teacher can now spend their time helping the students understand the gaps in their knowledge.

Second, the students can watch the videos as often as they need. For students who struggle this is a less stressful alternative to feeling lost in the classroom.

Third, the schools that completely master the flipping style, can shorten the school week or day by having the lessons watched at home and assigning some assessments related to the lessons to measure the students understanding of the lesson as a whole.

There is also some really supportive data that shows that students with learning disabilities, especially Autism, learn better through video because it creates a point of focus and takes away the outside distractions that take place in a classroom.

There are benefits to the teachers as well. In most cases students reading a book have to read a lesson more often than they have to watch a video, to comprehend that same lesson. The videos essentially become an extension of the teacher, multiplying the teacher’s efforts.

Having videos as a resource turns one teacher into two, three or four. They can now have several videos assigned for different lessons AND for different levels of understanding. The videos almost become another teaching assistant, rather than a teaching resource.

(There’s a full review of flipped learning research here)

Any tips for easy flipping?

I would recommend using a library of educational videos that already exists and is readily available (such as skubes.com). Teachers can try to create their own videos, but there are many drawbacks to this – all of which have been brought to our attention by teachers and administrators.

Very few schools have the technology and the assistance to help a teacher get their videos created. Not to mention the time involved in recording your library of videos, which may number in the hundreds depending on the subject and grade level.

Another problem is that, with the public school system, the curriculum requirements change regularly. The switch to common core changed everything from how the teachers taught certain lessons, to the order of the lessons themselves. If you spend a lot of time to create your lesson videos and then all of this changes again, you might wind up having to scrap your earlier work and create new videos. My wife is a teacher and I know from experience teachers work really hard, they seldom have the time for this.

Skubes follows the national academic standard and closely follows how lessons are supposed to be taught in a classroom. We also have real teachers in our videos. This is important because someone who has never taught in a classroom doesn’t know what students tend to stumble over or struggle with most. They don’t know what the most asked questions are about a subject or lesson. Our teachers have shaped extra lessons to address those areas. This is even more important for the younger grades. Most people think it’s easy to teach an 8 year old, but you’d be surprised!

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