Creating Homework Tutorials (flipped classroom light) on youtube

A month ago the renowned educational technology guru, Alan November, came to speak at my school in Tokyo. Though he was only visiting Seisen for a day, he pitched several ideas and encouraged us to choose a few that resonated and experiment with them.

One big idea was to let students “own the learning,” and Alan not only promoted the flipped classroom idea but wanted students to be publishing to the world. He highlighted a high school math class in America that has a website full of tutorial videos to teach other students math concepts.

As a third grade teacher, math seemed the simplest way to get started with this approach.  At Seisen we try to embed math into our units of inquiry as much as possible, but we still use “Everyday Math” as a skills supplement. And the last month, we’ve studied multiplication methods that, to be honest, are completely new to me. Using an ipad and Doodlecast Pro, I put together a quick instructional video:

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I was bunkered down and ready to commit hours to creating videos, but it was surprisingly easy. So easy, in fact, that we immediately moved to having students create the movies:


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When the videos were finished, I put them on edmodo so the students could watch for help with their homework. The reaction from the students was fantastic, and they’ve shown great appreciation for the video assistance.

And as predicted by Alan November, the excitement and motivation of the students creating the videos was high. They happily stayed in from recess to make them and are eager to do more.

After experimenting with only 4-5 tutorials, I definitely see this as a win – win situation for any class. Students who master concepts quickly will be motivated to create and communicate and share with students around the world; students who need more time have a resource, created by their teachers and peers, they can come back to  anytime.

The next question is where to go with this in the future, especially in regards to Alan November’s emphasis on a “global audience” for students work. I will need to think about it over the summer, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to create an entire site of 3rd grade math tutorials covering all of the concepts in our curriculum. And math could be just a beginning.


  1. Merilyn

    If it is ease of creating these videos you want, try Explain Everything or another one is Show Me . These are both great apps that you can use on your iPad and they are really easy to use.

    I like the idea of students making these rather than the teacher. After all, if you want to understand something really well, try teaching it to someone! However I am skeptical about the whole flipped classroom idea. Isn’t it just another way of giving a lecture?

    • Jeff Lewis

      Thank you for the links, Merilyn–I will investigate those different applications over the summer. There are probably a dozen or more apps that could be used to create tutorials. Educreations is a free one that I’ve tried as well. I haven’t had a chance to do a comparison though. For now, doodlecast pro is getting the job done.

      As for your comment about flipping the classroom, I can’t speak from experience here, but I believe the main idea is to deliver content through videos and spend class time engaging in more interesting projects / discussions / collaborations / etc. I have a colleague in the high school who is doing some cool things with flipped biology lessons…perhaps I will write a post about his experiences later.

      • Merilyn Winslade

        I would love to hear about your friend making the flipped classroom work. I would also like to hear about how his students find it. I look forward to your next post! 🙂

  2. Like Merilyn said, there are some great apps out there to create tutorials (and probably tutorials to teach you how to make tutorials). Again, it’s so great to see what is going on in your classroom and I’m excited to hear how it goes.

  3. Philip Arneill

    Hey Jeff, interesting post. I wasn’t able to get to Alan November’s seminar unfortunately, but am really interested in exploring the Flipped Classroom model more next year. I would echo Merilyn’s recommendation of the Explain Everything app, it’s brilliant. One revelation for me this year has been seeing what the kids can do when you just ‘let them get on with it’, particularly with technology ; I suppose that this kind of ownership is the first step towards fully flipping? It’s really staggering. Here’s a link for something that my kids came up when the whole class was making videos to revise the different parts of speech; i overheard them say they wanted a moved pencil and I showed them the Explain Everything app on the iPad they were already using – they then disappeared for 20 minutes, and came back with this:
    It makes you realise how much time we potentially spend ‘teaching’ them stuff that they can actually teach themselves with the right facilitation…

  4. David K. W. So

    Jeff, our grade 8 math teacher is also incorporating the flip classroom strategy in his teachings. As a student support teacher helping in the class, I have some mixed feelings. From my observations of the grade 8 students, only a portion of the students will refer to the videos. I think this is maily because the teacher created the video. I like your idea of having the students to create the help videos. This makes it more engaging for the students and fun to watch. I’m sure that, if part of the homework is to create a math problem video, all of the grade 8 will take more interest in the videos and will even make more of an effort to learn how to solve the math equations.

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