Do teachers need to make their own videos to flip their class?

Now that teachers can make use of the Khan Academy, Edrolo, and a smorgasbord of other quality content, Is there any reason for teachers to publish their own screencasts, videos and podcasts for their class? Isn’t that just re-inventing the wheel? That is a question I am asked frequently.

My answer is both ‘No’ and ‘Yes’.

No.  The most important aspect of the flipped classroom, in my opinion is NOT the videos or podcasts at all, but how teachers leverage and reapportion the class time that is reclaimed by relegating didactic instruction (where it is still needed at all) to a video or podcast. The fact that qualified teachers on Edrolo and other services have produced much of the content that needs to be covered, lowers the barrier to entry into the flipped classroom model.  So then, “I don’t know how to record a podcast” or “I don’t have time to make screencasts” are no longer valid excuses for continuing to waste valuable class time, standing at the front of the room ‘teaching’ recordable stuff.

Yes. We need to help students to see that despite their youth, they now have the ability to create their own quality, original content and publish it to a genuine audience, making an authentic contribution in today’s dominant media forms.  This is one focus that should be at the top of our list of things to reallocate class time to. I suggest that It is much easier (not to mention less hypocritical) to encourage students to publish their work to an authentic audience in video and audio if we are doing it ourselves.  And for a teacher, what more authentic audience do we have than our own students?

By all means, make use of the great work by other teachers – but supplement it with your own recorded lessons.  Show your students that when you tell them about the disintermediation of publishing (that in 2015 anyone can publish and have a voice), you yourself are walking the talk.  Don’t be surprised if your students find your videos more engaging and personal than the off-the-shelf ones, too.


4 thoughts on “Do teachers need to make their own videos to flip their class?

  1. Currently running an Action Research on this very issue. We’re finding preliminarily that there is little to no academic difference between the two quantitatively, but students prefer and find their own teachers videos more engaging and are more likely to complete the work.
    Pete van W

    • Thanks for that Pete. I’d like to read your research – your preliminary results make intuitive sense though, right? I mean, If as a student, I am trying to grasp a particular concept or learn a process, it really doesn’t matter much (cognitively) who explains it to me – as long as the explanation is clear, concise and accurate. But assuming both teachers are engaging speakers, I would imagine hearing it from my own teacher is going to be more magnetic for my attention! – a familiar voice, in-jokes and examples that relate specifically to my own school context, etc. I think I am likely to feel a greater sense of loyalty to the class if the explanations are from my own teacher (and fellow students). But on top of that – I see my teacher taking advantage of new media, ‘putting herself out there’ in public, developing new skills, keeping up with the times, taking emotional risks, publishing to a global audience and inviting feedback/comment/criticism … all the things teachers tell students to do for effective learning (but sometimes don’t do themselves). I’m much more likely to take a risk and publish my own work, if I see my teacher publishing his/hers.

      I’d love to read the results of your research when you’ve completed the analysis – please send a link my way!

      • Hi, Here’s the published results;dn=484480016100189;res=IELHSS
        Essentially we found that students preferred videos made by their teacher but if it was made by a peer/buddy teacher that they still had a relationship they were fine. They didn’t prefer it but academically there was no difference.
        However, when teachers were using videos produced by other sources (e.g. Kahn Academy, Paul Anderson, etc.) there was a significant academic difference (negative).
        Pete Whiting

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