Flipping your counseling office - the counseling geekSalvage more time in your day by putting info in students’ hands on their own time.

I want to thank Erin Mason and Franciene Sabens (et al.) for writing up a great article that can be found in the most recent ASCA School Counselor Magazine for getting me to sit down and write this post that has been stewing for a bit of time. Be sure to check out their blogs: SCOPE and School Counselor Space.

I find great joy in taking back bits of time to put towards student contacts

One of the best things about technology, other than the fact that it constantly is changing and growing, is how it can help optimize our lives. Yes – of course Angry Birds is not one of those things – but there are so many tools that we can take advantage of that free up portions of our lives. I really like to find those tools, figure out how to use them in the world of professional school counseling, and share them with you. This post is no different and has saved me tons of time to dedicate to working with students with more pressing needs.


The idea of flipping is not old, but yet not new either. We are not talking about acrobatics or burgers here – in education, the term flipping refers to the idea that students do the “boring” bits at home or outside of the classroom/office and we tackle the important bits when they have the valuable face time with us (we are that important). In the context of this article, flipping our counseling will be referring to how we can take less time answering the same simple questions and use our school minutes address higher level needs and really impacting change.

More info on Flipping:

Check out this link for a great description of flipping a classroom/office: http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/
This link has a PDF article about flipping a classroom: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

[Tweet “I am flipping out and saving time with @CounselingGeek – you can too! #scchat”]


screencast-o-matic-recording-areaGetting started with Flipping: Screencast-O-Matic

One FREE (yay!) tool that is a great way to start your flipping is Screencast-O-Matic (SOM). SOM is a freely available tool which works on all Windows PCs (sorry Macs…) that will allow you record your screen, annotate or dictate as you record, and upload to popular video hosts like YouTube or Vimeo. Camtasia is a more full featured and polished tool – but it will cost you. One of the nice things about SOM is how simple it is to use.

Easy as 1-2-3

1: Download the software and install. Once you have it installed, open up SOM and set your “window”. This window is what will be recorded. You can choose to record the entire screen, a certain aspect ratio, or (what I use the most) a specific area of the screen. (PS – don’t do the new Beta version – they try to make you pay for it. Oldie is a goodie)

2: Plan out your recording and then hit the record button. I usually pre-think through what I will want to record and have all the required pages, documents, or other resources up in tabs in the background of my starting screen. Some people may find it helpful to pre-write a script – this can help if you find yourself rambling or getting nervous. When you hit record – everything that you do in the “window” will be recorded including clicks, links, and things like email notifications, chat messages, etc. This is important because it may expose confidential or embarrassing information to anyone watching the video later. Turning off notifications is a good idea. You also should plan on dictating over your actions. SOM can record both webcam video and/or audio.

3: Upload and share. After you record – you will get several options including uploading to YouTube and saving the file to your computer for further editing or uploading elsewhere. If you mess up during your recording phase – hit stop and start over. While free is great – it comes at a cost. Unless you go back to edit later with another software tool – you get one running video and won’t be able to edit certain parts within SOM later. Then share with your students, parents, or other stakeholders via web, email, social media, etc.

Easy as that. I typically find myself using this tool to record tutorials for frequently asked tasks like requesting letters of recommendation, signing up for courses, or adding colleges to their Naviance accounts. If you want to check out some of my growing list of videos – visit my school YouTube account. Would love feedback and feel free to use any video that may be useful to you or your school.

It doesn’t stop there

Recording your screen is not the only way to flip. Two years ago I purchased a video camera to record all of my parent events and other video tools (like my growing digital course catalogue). Note: I do not recommend the video camera referenced in the prior post any longer – the price is right but quality is crap in real life usage. You can record lessons, activities, demonstrations, and more. It will take some training of students to get used to this idea, but with more and more teachers flipping their classroom – the students are figuring it out pretty quickly.


Do you have a favorite way to flip your office or classroom? Shoot a comment out below, tweet me, or head to facebook and leave a reply.





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