12 Ways to Create Digital Lessons for Flipped or Blended Learning: No 3 – ed.ted.com

Ed.Ted.Com is a powerful free web app that makes it a snap to create digital lesson content and assess understanding, with your videos or someone else’s that you “make your own”.

We are a few weeks into a 12 week series exploring lots of different tools and techniques for creating your own digital lessons. Digital content is essential in the flipped or blended classroom, and there are so many great free tools available to help you create good lesson materials.

In our first installment, we explored Screencasting, and last week we looked at Narrating Over PowerPoint Slides.

This week we’ll explore the app at ed.ted.com, which allows you to turn any YouTube video (yours or someone else’s), or any TED Talk, into a structured digital lesson. Teachers who take the online flipped classroom workshops I run a few times a year really gravitate towards this tool and it’s easy to understand why (yes, a little shameless self-promotion there).

Ed.ted.com uses a structured approach to enable teachers to engage students and assess understanding with questions, a discussion forum, links to explore, and more. And as long as students sign into to ed.ted.com (yes they’ll need to create an account), you will also be able to see results of their engagement with the content.

This 3 Minute TOOL-torial provides a quick introduction to ed.ted.com:

Pretty cool right? And it’s totally free! 

Making it Your Own

One of the great things about a tool like ed.ted.com is that you can use a video you did not create but still “make it your own”. This is vital for successful flipped instruction … students want to see their teachers being invested in their learning. If you show a video that you did not make and you do nothing to bring your “voice” to it, some students may feel that you are taking the easy way out and not really putting in the kind of effort you expect from them.

When you use a video that someone else created but you build in your comments, your questions, discussions, and additional resources that you define, you have an opportunity to make the video feel like a more organic part of the your classroom and your student’s experience. Of course, if you use ed.ted.com to build a lesson for a video you created, you’ve got an even more custom-built lesson you can be proud of!

Tips for Success

A few things to keep in mind in order to make the best use of ed.ted.com:

  • Avoid really long videos. This is just a general tip that you’ll find many digital content experts concurring with. Videos should be no longer than 10 or 15 minutes as a rule. If you have to use a long video and want students to just watch a portion that is certainly an option, but you’ll have to be clear with students what they should watch (“from 2 min 30 sec to 5 min 10 sec”, for example). In addition to telling them, be sure include this in the text that you create that will accompany the video (you might even want to reference it in the video title). 
  • Be sure to use the Think (where you build in questions) and/or Discuss (discussion forum) functions, as these are where you really engage the students. Flipped content requires built-in engagement to increase the likelihood of students paying attention and being engaged (rather than just ‘zoning out’ while they watch or multitask). This is also your opportunity to assess student understanding.
  • Review the responses and feedback prior to the next class session. Part of the beauty of flipped learning is that you have an opportunity to deliver learning content outside of class and assess understanding through tools like these, so you can hit the ground running at the start of the next class and dive right into areas that require further clarification. Be sure to set aside the time to see how students did with questions, which they struggled the most with, and the discussion forum feedback prior to the next class.

Well, there you have it … ed.ted.com. A great platform for leveraging video content and building digital lessons.

Next week we continue our exploration of tools and techniques by examining the efficient, low-tech FIZZ method for creating your own videos. We hope you’ll join us! If you’re not already signed up, look for the Sign Up form in the right hand side bar to provide your email address and have these posts sent right to your In Box, so you don’t miss any of these how-to resources!

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