The “flipped classroom” concept is well-known among educational circles and if you’re like me, you’re probably interested in the model and perhaps even experimenting with it. At the heart of the flipped model lies video as a means of delivering your lesson plan outside the classroom where, among numerous other advantages, each student can be reached anywhere and anytime. The videos are usually either made by the teacher or borrowed from an established, on-line source. And if in fact you are like me, you probably feel a bit intimidated by making a “video”. Well, recently I discovered ShowMe, a digital, mobile, interactive whiteboard that doesn’t require you to “face the camera”, yet still allows an educator to make brilliant tutorials that can be accessed from any web-connected device.
The ShowMe app is free, but only available on the iPad. The development team, which is based in New York City, declares that an Android-specific platform is being considered, but states that a PC version is something they refuse to pursue as fingers, or a stylus, prove to be more intuitive than a cursor and mouse.
When the app is first opened, the user has two basic options: create your own ShowMe or, search through hundreds of other completed ShowMes organized by subjects such as math, science, history, English and art. To create your own, the user is presented with a blank white screen and a modest selection of drawing/writing tool and a photo-insert function. The user taps a record button – audio only, no camera – and begins to write, sketch or annotate an image while narrating, or “teaching” the material. When writing or annotating, I prefer using a stylus as it allows for finer precision. All words, mark-ups, sketches or diagrams are recorded along with the narration. When the tutorial is completed and viewed by a “student”, she would hear the “teacher’s” voice and would see every word, sentence, sketch or annotated image in the chronological order that it was recorded. Once saved, a URL address is assigned and the ShowMe is shareable via email or on Twitter or Facebook.
So if you have an iPad and have ever wondered how to either deliver a tutorial lesson, or review some material with your students outside the classroom, ShowMe is a very easy application that allows you to reach your audience anywhere, anytime.