Creating Flipped Videos in Microsoft PowerPoint allows for greater accessibility and smoother workflow for flipped educators.
An exciting development in Office 2016 is the addition of built in support for recording of PowerPoint presentations. This is a great improvement upon the previous iteration of this feature. This means that teachers are more likely to stumble upon this function and as a result find themselves producing video form content that might one day lead them towards a flipped learning methodology.
It also means that for practitioners looking to train staff in technology to support a flipped learning approach, the possibility of teachers new to the pedagogy can begin working within a program that is the industry standard for content presentations in class. It also means that the process of creating instructional video is streamlined, removing some key steps from the workflow.
Consider, the older, experienced PowerPoint king or queen at your teaching setting. Their presentations feature such a high level of development: animations, images throughout, diagrams and carefully crafted, word-perfect descriptions and depictions of key concepts. These highly proficient teachers could adapt their well-produced and refined, existing, presentations into videos by just clicking across the toolbar at the top of the program. As a result their practice begins to transform and modernise into the 21st century.
Technological competency serves as a great obstacle for teacher trainers and school systems generally. Any movement towards simplicity and accessibility for less technically savvy teachers opens up a range of possibilities that lead towards the pedagogy of flipped learning. A practice that carves out time for students and teachers to interact in more effective and engaging ways and practice a number of practices that are often viewed as lofty or somewhat mythical. Things such as differentiation, individualised intervention and mastery learning within the confines of a normal school. These concepts are often referred to, but less often achieved in the realities of actual teaching practice.
Below is a 1-minute description of how to create one of these recordings made using the exact functionality that it describes. The development of the resource, a PowerPoint slide deck took some time, but the actual conversion of it from a staid PowerPoint presentation to a video took the same amount of time as the length of this video.
The notable feature of this method is that it removes a common and problematic step in the production of instructional video, editing. The program has a way to remove silent elements from the final produced video, largely removing the need to spend additional time in ‘post-production’.
Looking below at the diagram you notice the standard five steps of creating a flipped instructional video and that two of these, content preparation and lesson planning, are standard teacher work. So the first thing you consider is that flipped learning is adding three additional steps to within the production of lessons. The benefits of flipped learning will not be discussed here for brevities sake but consider here from an outsiders’ perspective on adding three additional steps to their workload. Almost undoubtedly the thing that all teachers value the most is time, especially preparation and planning time. So one of the crucial factors for a teacher considering becoming a flipped learning practitioner is to streamline or remove as many of these three additional steps as possible.
Creating Flipped Videos by Traditional Means
Diagram 1: Note the navy colour represents standard teacher work, and the light blue denotes steps unique to flipped learning. Noticeably, filming and recording is a separate step completed with a separate suite of programs.
Notably, the first of the three flipped learning steps is now completed natively within a very familiar program. Notably, the step of editing can be completely removed as it is no longer essential, though a finicky teacher may choose to editing the video file produced for a range of reasons. Lastly, the uploading process is essential to making the videos available for students, however, it is a ‘lock and leave’ type of a process that typically takes place either in the morning of a school day or overnight at home.
The diagram below shows a more streamlined process of flipped learning, using the approach discussed above. Note, the editing is no longer necessary and the preparing content and the filming and recording process is combined for ease of use. This may seem unlikely, but it is not a great addition of workload to finish creating a PowerPoint as you would for a typical class, then plug in a microphone and perform this content, whilst it is fresh in your mind, as you would to a class.
Creating Flipped Videos within Windows PowerPoint
Diagram 2: Note the removal of the editing step of the process, and the combining of the preparing content and the filming and recording.
It is worth mentioning briefly, that, as with all presentation and recording of oneself, there is a hurdle of confidence to be overcome. Just as student teachers have to become comfortable presenting to students, you, even as an experienced teacher may need to re-learn some of your presentation skills. The same tasks that you perform on a daily basis, explaining, describing and providing examples feeling for a time, strange and new. You may find yourself glowing red, or stumbling over your words. By doing this more and more, you will find yourself being more explicit in your instructions and being more strategic in the way that you explain concepts, as you are always aware of the length of the video you may create, or the potential need to edit or restart your explanation. This is one of the hidden benefits of moving towards instructional video and later flipped learning, you will begin to notice speech patterns and habits that you adopt during your presentation of information which you can then improve upon.
Though it may seem like a small change in teacher workflow by using this method it allows for far greater freedom for teachers adopting this teaching methodology. Furthermore, by removing some of the time needed to create flipped videos it also lowers the barriers of entry for teachers new to the concept of flipped learning and teaching through instructional video. Flipped learning can be considered as a way of freeing up the classroom time of a teacher at the expense of their out-of-class time, and this is also true for the students of said class. Therefore, by freeing up more time in the out-of-class space for the teacher, it allows a greater focus on the all-important step of lesson planning. As the ultimate goal of flipped learning is to transform the group space through, active, group and inquiry or problem-based learning, therefore, the lesson planning step is the core task of all teachers, whether they be flipped educators or not. That is why this small, incremental improvement in the out-of-school time necessary to complete a flipped video is so crucial.
As such the core role of a teacher remains always to create circumstances, events and experiences for learning during a lesson. Though at times, the tendency is to create these through a didactic and direct lecture style approach that allows for the communication of information, but less often retrieval practice and active interaction with that knowledge by the students. By forcing yourself away from this type of instruction, which is likely the very style of education that you yourself were educated with, you free yourself up to improvise. You free yourself up to try new teaching approaches, ideas and thoughts and have time within classes to interact with and trial these ideas. You have more time to communicate with individual students and develop more complex relationships with them and their learning needs and goals. Notably, flipped learning does not abandon direct instruction or refute its use, rather it provides a challenge to develop yourself beyond this default approach and to spread your professional wings and become more than a lecturer or deliverer of content.
In summary, the method of using PowerPoint to record instructional video is a clear, simple and speedy process. It eschews the need for editing and allows content creation and video production to be performed in the same place, within the same program, when the information is most fresh and cogent to you the teacher. It also makes the concept of producing instructional video content more achievable for less tech-savvy teachers and thus makes the potentiality of flipped learning being more widely adopted as a pedagogy more likely.
Feel free to watch the video below if you are interested in a quick guide on how to create an instructional video within PowerPoint: