My favourite tools to flip the classroom

Creating online instructions can be hugely advantageous to both teachers and to learners. Below are my reasons why I like to create online instructions:

  • For teachers, one of the main benefits of creating online instructions is that it is time efficient. Many teachers tell me they don’t have the time to create videos. I like to turn this comment around and ask ‘How much time do you spend explaining the same thing to different students over and over again?’. After a bit of practise, it only takes a few minutes to create instructional videos, and students can then look at these time and time again.
  • How can teachers expect their students to all learn at the same pace and understand everything when their teacher is using the ‘chalk and talk’ method at the front of the classroom? When teachers create online instructions, students can work through the instructions at their own pace. They can pause and go back if they didn’t quite understand a concept. They can go to the instructions at any time when they need to recap. They can spend less time taking notes and more time practising skills.

So how do you flip the classroom? I have tried many different methods, and below are my three favourite tools to create online instructions. Each tool serves a different purpose and, after a little bit of practise, they are really easy to use.

1) Explain Everything

For those teachers that have tablets, Explain Everything is a great tool that is essentially a recordable whiteboard. You can use a number of features to write, draw and annotate on your tablet, and then save the videos (which I then like to add to my Youtube channel). Obviously when you write on a standard whiteboard, the information gets wiped before the end of the day. With Explain Everything, the information can live on for students to go back to as many times as they like. I personally find I use Explain Everything most for my maths lessons, where I can show my students how to work out specific problems. Whilst this is the only tool on my list that costs, it is only around $3 - 4, which is great value. For a video to find out more about Explain Everything, go to their website at

2) Movenote

Movenote is a great free tool that integrates nicely with Google apps. With Movenote, you can easily present your documents with video and/or voice. You can also use a pointer tool to highlight particular parts of the presentation. I tend to use Movenote when I have templates using Google docs or presentations. I can then explain in detail how to use the templates, highlighting specific parts as I explain. Movenote then hosts the videos that are created, and I can either embed them on my site or use the link so students can watch the instructions anytime that they need to. For more on Movenote, check out their website at

3) Google Hangouts

Whilst Google Hangouts is a great tool for hosting conversations and collaborating, it is also a great way to create online instructions. By creating a Google Hangout On Air, you can choose to record your screen. When I create these, I do not invite anyone else to the call, so when I broadcast my video it is essentially no longer live. That way, I can then review my content (which is saved directly to my Youtube account) and share it with my students. For a detailed description about how to use Google Hangouts in this way, visit Alice Keelers blog 'Teacher Tech' and read her post on 'Screencasting on a Chromebook'. I tend to use Google Hangouts when I want to create instructions where I have to change between multiple documents or show how to do something on my computer.