I’ve been exploring some options for creating videos for a flipped classroom over the past few days. I have both Apple and Windows devices at my disposal for this project. My school uses Google Apps for Education so I’m currently looking to upload these videos to YouTube since it integrates so nicely with the apps I tend to use with my classroom. I thought I’d give you a rundown of the apps/programs I’ve attempted using over the past week along with the pros and cons of each of the devices for my purposes.
My first ever foray into flipping my classroom with with Explain Everything. I have an iPad for use in my classroom and this app made it possible for me to record a lesson on a interactive whiteboard-like program along with audio and export it to a video file for uploading to any number of platforms. It allows the creation of a multiple page presentation on each board along with importing files, audio, pictures, video, browser windows and clip art as well as an equation editor. Input can be as handwriting, drawings or typed text.
One of the nicer features of this app is the ability to move or resize anything in the app. This movement and resizing can also be recorded which can make for some cute animations within the app. It also has the ability to record audio only, video only, or both in one go. Another useful feature is the ability to record the video and audio in segments where you stop recording in between, capturing the entire video in snippets rather than one full session of sitting there and talking.
There is an app available for iPad, Android tablets, Chromebooks and for Windows 10 devices. There are also apps available in a few different formats at differing costs. The first is Classic Explain Everything which comes at a one time cost of $7.99 for the iPad or $3.99 for Android. This offers most of the functionality of the Explain Everything app including recording and exporting videos for upload to YouTube, TeacherTube, etc. However, it doesn’t offer some of the newer features of Explain Everything in the newer app.
Explain Everything is a free app, which comes with a month long free trial of all of it’s features, including collaboration with other Explain Everything users and access to Explain Everything Discover, a platform where teachers and other Explain Everything users share their creations using the app. After the first month you will have to purchase a subscription to the service to continue using it at a cost of $4.99 a month of $49.99 a year for a single user. There are Edu Group licenses available at a steep discount off this price, with the cost starting out at $2.67 per user for a year (starting with a minimum of 5 users). This makes the cost of a five person Edu Group less expensive than a single person license for the year.
I gave Educreations a shot because a fellow teacher at my school has been using it for a couple of years to create videos to share with her class. Much like Explain Everything, it allows you to set up multiple slides ahead of time with pictures or text, kind of like a PowerPoint presentation. The free version allows for adding text and images, while Pro allows you to import files, webpages and maps for use in the classroom. It also allows recording in pieces so that you don’t have to record a lesson in one take straight from beginning to end.
The free version left a little to be desired, however. With this version you are only allowed to work on one project at a time before saving it to the cloud account that comes with the app. Once saved, that presentation becomes finalized and you’d have to start over to edit it. Files will also ONLY save to the cloud unless you pay for the Pro version. You can only export video to YouTube or save to your camera roll for a monthly subscription fee.
At the moment, the cost of Educreations Pro is $11.99 per month or $99.99 a year, making it one of the more expensive options for flipping a classroom. Educreations is available as an app for iPad only.
As I was looking through apps in the App Store related to Explain Everything and Educreations, I noticed a small free app called ShowMe in the list and decided to give it a shot since it wasn’t going to cost me anything. It was a fairly small app, quick to download and install. It offered a lot of the functionality of the other two apps, ability to record a presentation that you’ve pre-made or to record writing and drawing on the fly.
However, it does not offer the ability to move items once they’ve been placed on the screen, and you need an account to save your work and download it to your iPad. A Premium account with the company costs $5.99/mo or $49.99/yr, putting it as more expensive than the subscription version of Explain Everything without as much functionality. It’s currently available in the App Store for Apple devices only.
A lot of people aren’t aware of the screen capturing capabilities already built into many laptops. If you’re a Mac user, all new Macs come with Quicktime preloaded onto their systems. Quicktime offers the functionality you need to record anything that happens on a computer screen along with audio input from a microphone attached to the system.
This opens up a lot of options as far as just using the apps and programs you already have installed, that you use to teach on any given day, and just record the presentation from there. I’ve done a couple of these videos already and uploaded them to YouTube. The quality is great (up to 1080p) and the program offers help with some editing, including clipping the video for start and end points.
If you’re a Mac user, it also makes videos ready to import into iMovie and edit with intros and outros to make a more professional looking video if that’s something that you’re looking for. Quicktime Pro is free with most new Mac systems, but if you have to purchase it, it’s a one time cost of $29.99 for either Mac or Windows.
Which brings me to the next option I’ve discovered in the world of flipping the classroom. I know a lot of us already use Microsoft Office and PowerPoint to create and present in class. PowerPoint actually already offers the ability to record a presentation, including audio. Now, I used to think you were stuck right there, just able to export a PowerPoint that now included audio. However, in Windows versions of the program you have an option called “Save and Send” in the file menu.
Now, I’m not an expert, and I have only heard rumors of this working. I also cannot seem to make it work on my Mac in any way so please let me know if you know any tricks for that, or if you try it out and something goes right or wrong as the case may be.
And last on my list, but far from the last thing that available out there is VideoScribe. I happened across this one just googling for some options on creating a video of an interactive whiteboard. This one creates a video that appears to be drawn and animated on a whiteboard. You can add text and images, including clip art from inside the program and have it drawn with an animated hand on the screen to a voiceover you record.
It’s a pretty cool option for creating a video that is visually interesting, at least more so than a powerpoint or interactive whiteboard can be. It’s fairly easy to set up as long as you add things to the whiteboard layout in the order you’d like them to go into the video. I did lose myself when I tried to go back and add things later, but it seemed to be pretty easily fixed. It’s a very loose palette, as you can literally place anything anywhere on the board and the app/program will zoom directly to that place.
Overall, I think it makes a pretty cool video. However, like the rest of our options there can be a cost. The desktop app comes with a 7 day trial after which you must pay $144/year or $39/month for the ability to export your videos in a video format. There is also the option of using the iPad version called VideoScribe Anywhere. It uses “credits” which cost around $0.99 each to export videos and comes with two free credits for you to try the service out. If you’re not concerned with having HD videos you can also pay a one time $4.99 fee to be able to export SD video directly to your Camera Roll on an iPad.
Overall, I think there are a lot of great options for creating videos for use in your classroom, tailored to what you’d like them to be. Feel free to contact me with anything you think I left out or any apps you think are great for this.
Keep working smarter,