Flipping With YouTube

Over a year ago, I wrote about The Flipped Classroom here on the TESOL blog, and I would like to revisit the topic since the flipped classroom has really continued to gain popularity in the past several years. It is really a hot topic and something that many educators are interested in learning more about and even trying out.

One of the most daunting tasks is figuring out how to deliver the content of your course to students at home, and the easiest solution to this is YouTube. YouTube is a great option for sharing content with students because it is free and comes with some really great features.

Firstly, you will need an account to keep everything organized, but it is completely free and, if you have Gmail, it makes things easier because you can use the same log-in. Now you have probably been using YouTube for years, all the while ignoring the “Upload” button right next to the search box. If you click it, you will have the option of uploading video. I always change “Public” to “Private” so that I have better control over who accesses my videos. If you do not have any videos recorded, the menu along the right side actually has options for capturing video via webcam, creating a photo slideshow, and even editing video. For a free resource, YouTube really does a great job of making things clear and simple.

Once you have a video, you can apply all sorts of enhancements; add annotations over the top of the video, pictures, or slides you uploaded; and even add subtitles to accompany your content. After you have what you want, you need to publish the video. If it is public, anyone can find it on YouTube, but if you would rather keep it private, you can just send the link to your students or post it on your LMS. This is also the way to go if you are referencing copyrighted material such as a textbook which, as I understand it, can be included in something your students (who own the textbook) can access, such as an in-class PowerPoint or at-home private video, but cannot be displayed for all the world to see, like a public video would be.

YouTube is a great place to start creating materials because you can do everything with just this one website and do not even have to worry about purchasing any expensive software to get flipping. After a while, you might decide you are missing some features and start looking for a more advanced video editing program, but YouTube is still a great place to post your videos because the site is one that is likely familiar to your students.

Try it out and let us know what you think!

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master's degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.
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7 Responses to Flipping With YouTube

  1. Knowledge says:

    I am a YouTube in Education niche and wanted to use an online platform to make my voice reach the majority of audiences. I found your article helpful and created Knowledge Around channel on latest happening in Science/Tech.

  2. Rachel Wolan says:

    Thanks Tara! This is a great start to demonstrating how to flip the classroom.

    How do you integrate authentic media into your flipped English classroom?

    At YadaZing, we offer a video platform to help English teachers and students flip the classroom using everything from pop songs to TED Talks.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for your comment, Rachel, and for sharing such a great resource! At Northern State University, we are always finding new ways to integrate authentic media into our curriculum. In our listening and speaking classes, for example, we use supplemental materials like TED Talks all the time to accompany the lectures from our textbook which can sometimes sound a bit contrived. Students really enjoy them and we have had some really rich discussions around certain topics.

  3. Ivan Stefano says:

    Great post, Tara! Our ESL Programs at The Ohio State University recently launched a Youtube channel for ELL students and teachers, which I manage. We use it for posting videos not only for our students, but also for others outside of our Programs. I like the fact that Youtube is very easy to navigate and user friendly. The features you mentioned on your post are all useful. Adding to that, I find the audio library to be handy if you need to add music or sound effects. Like you, I highly recommend Youtube for teachers who need a place to store and share their videos. Visit our channel: http://www.youtube.com/OSUflippedESL. We post new videos on academic writing and English grammar every week.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for your comment, Ivan! I am glad to hear that your program has had success with using YouTube for flipping. I am sure readers will appreciate not only your suggestion about the audio library, but also all the materials on your channel. What a great resource! Thanks again!

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve used YouTube to flip my classroom, and for those who already have a YT/Google+ account and are familiar with its uploading, editing, annotating features, this is a great option.

    Usually though, I’ll host my flipped classroom videos through Echo360, which is conveniently integrated into my institution’s Blackboard course pages. The nice thing about Echo360 is that it offers some pretty detailed analytics on students’ viewing patterns, so the teacher can find out more about when individual students are watching, how much they are watching, and what they are re-watching. This information can help the teacher better prepare for the in-class portion of the lesson. Also, if a teacher wants to add some just-in-time teaching to the lesson, they can easily direct students to a discussion forum in the very same LMS.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:


      Thank you for your comment on using YouTube for flipping and for that great suggestion for those educators on Blackboard. It sounds like that analytic data could be really handy!


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