Flipped Classroom: Engaging Students with EdPuzzle

The flipped classroom model is a blended learning strategy I use to present my vocabulary, writing, and grammar instruction online. Students watch videos at home where they can control the pace of their learning, then they come to class prepared to apply that information in collaborative student-centered activities.

One thing I emphasize when I lead professional development for teachers is the importance of flipping and engaging. Instead of simply consuming information, I want students to think critically about that information. This requires that I design flipped lessons that encourage students to ask questions, analyze the information, and discuss concepts with peers asynchronously online to begin making sense of the information they are receiving at home. There are a variety of ways to do this. I authored a resource for MindShift titled “Teachers’ Guide to Using Videos,” which includes a section describing a range of strategies a teacher can employ to flip and engage.

A newer tool I’m excited to use with students come fall is EDpuzzle. Here’s how it works!

Step 1: Find the Perfect Video

Once you’ve created an account, you can search for videos using keywords or a URL.

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Step 2: Preview Your Video 

EDpuzzle Select a video


Step 3: Customize Your Video with EDpuzzle Tools 

EDpuzzle lets you trim your video to use only the parts you want students to watch. It’s easy to eliminate advertisements and keep the video length appropriate for your age group. Teacher tip: Limit the length of a video to the age of the students you are working with.

You can add audio clips throughout a video or narrate the entire video using EDpuzzle.

EdPuzzle Features

Step 4: Add Questions to Get Students Thinking Critically

Open-ended Questions

Teachers can design open-ended questions to get students thinking more deeply about the information presented in the video. These open-ended questions are a great way to begin discussions in class the day after students have completed this assignment. Alternatively, teachers can also pair an EDpuzzle lesson with a

Alternatively, teachers can pair an EDpuzzle lesson with a TodaysMeet backchannel and ask students to share their thoughts on the open-ended questions on the backchannel in an informal asynchronous conversation.

EDpuzzle open ended question

Multiple Choice Questions

Teachers can also create multiple-choice questions to see how well students are understanding and retaining the information they are watching. This is a quick way to assess students as they watch the video. It is also a good incentive to keep students attentive as they watch.

EDpuzzle Multiple Choice


Step 5: See How Your Students Did On This Assignment!

The teacher dashboard makes it easy to see the assignments for each class and monitor which students have successfully completed each flipped lesson.

EDpuzzle Teacher Dashboard

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I’m always looking for fun new ways to engage my students online! If you have other tools you enjoy using to flip your classroom, please post a comment and share them!

Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology  Available NOW! Just in time for summer reading!

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3 Ways to Support Teachers as the Educational Landscape Evolves

In 1964, Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changin’.” This is as true today as it was then. Technology is playing a major role in the changes happening now. This can be exciting or scary depending on your perspective.

When I work with teachers, it’s clear that many are resistant to the changes happening in education. I believe this resistance has more to do with fear than a reluctance to continue learning and evolving in their practice. Most teachers enter this profession because they genuinely love to learn; however, many of us get into the classroom and feel isolated in our work. Even though we are on a campus full of colleagues, we rarely have time to walk down the hall to ask questions or share best practices. However, in this time of unprecedented change in education, it is critical that teachers feel supported.

Here are some ideas for how schools and administrative teams can support their teachers and encourage them to experiment with technology in their classrooms:

1. Create a school culture where teachers know it’s okay to take risks and fail.

First and foremost, remind your teachers it is okay to fail. Failure is part of learning. Teachers must feel confident that their administrative teams will celebrate their attempts to use technology in the classroom. Not every lesson is a smashing success. That’s okay. We can learn from those moments and improve on them. If teachers worry that they will be criticized for trying something new, then they are less likely to experiment.

2. Leverage your students as tech support. 

Students are the most underutilized tech support on a school campus. Our students are being raised with technology, so why not use their expertise to support teachers?

There are several ways to approach this, but I suggest encouraging your most tech-savvy teacher to start a “Tech Team” on your campus that is comprised entirely of students. This can be a club or an extra-curricular class where students work directly with teachers to solve tech problems on campus. The tech team can collect teacher requests using a Google Form, then visit classrooms to assist teachers and/or create video tutorials for the staff that are available online.

3. Build time into the schedule for tech-savvy teachers to mentor/coach their peers. 

Most school campuses have at least a couple of teachers who are tech-savvy and eager to try new tools and teaching strategies. These teachers can be an incredible on-site resource for their peers. Why not ask these teachers to spend one or two periods in their teaching schedule working with teachers instead of students? This would allow time for the teacher mentors and coaches to work with other teachers on their campus helping them to design technology infused lessons, co-teach, and provide meaningful feedback.

Teachers on a campus are keenly aware of the challenges that their peers face, so they may be in the best position to support one another.

Dylan’s song famously says, “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.” For educators who are unwilling to change, they will find that they are increasingly out of step with the younger generations of students entering the classroom. Each year that goes by our students are more immersed in technology. This requires teachers to rethink their approach and explore how technology can be used to place students at the center of learning. It also requires that schools and administrative teams think outside the box when it comes to supporting their teachers and encouraging them to continue learning and evolving.

Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology  Available NOW! Just in time for summer reading!

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50 Things You Can Do with Google Classroom

My school is FINALLY a Google Apps for Education (GAfE) School! I’m beyond thrilled. Last year, I could not use Google Classroom because only GAfE schools had access to Google’s new online platform. Now, I get to experience how Google Classroom makes it easier to communicate with students, manage student work and provide meaningful feedback.

Although I was initially very excited about the prospect of using Google Classroom with students come fall, I also felt really behind. I had no idea how Google Classroom worked. Lucky for me Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller wrote 50 Things You Can Do with Google Classroom. This was a perfect example of just-in-time professional development!

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I decided to read their book during our family reading night routine. The book provides an overview of Google Docs and Drive, takes you on a tour of Google Classroom from both the teacher and student perspective, then dives into the 50 things you can do with Google Classroom. The explanations are clear and easy-to-follow. Keeler and Libbi cover everything from going paperless to organizing assignments to collecting data.

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I annotated my copy because I am a nerdy English teacher! I know it will be a go-to resource for me next year as I begin using Google Classroom with students.

Alice Keeler was kind enough to send me a signed copy to give away to one of my readers. If you are interested in qualifying for this giveaway, fill out this Google Form. I’ll be selecting a winner at random on Tuesday, June 30th!

Congratulations to David Kushlak!

Your free copy is on its way!

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