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Flipped Learning Using Google Add-On

Flipped Learning Using Google Add-On

Flipped Learning Image via

Flipped learning is great, isn’t it?  It is the basis of much of my face-to-face and online courses, and it provides an opportunity to get my students involved and interested in the lesson before they come to my class.

Like most faculty that uses flipped learning, I often use videos that I find online or that I make myself to prepare my students for in-class workshop.  Unfortunately, because students are used to watching videos for entertainment, they lack the capacity to view video in an efferent way.  More often than not, I find my students letting video lessons simply wash over them without accessing or retaining knowledge that I expect them to hold onto for my lessons.  Many students lack the skills to absorb detailed information from videos without specific direction–especially in online courses.

This is where comes in.  It is useful open source Google Drive add-on (and Chrome extension) that provides an easy integration of video notetaking for student and faculty use.  What does is load an online video into a template that synchronizes notes with the video.  Flipped Learning Using Google Add-On

The template contains two panes side-by-side. On the left is a video viewing pane.  On the right is a note-taking pane.  As you view a video, you type a line of notes into the note-taking pane. At the moment you begin typing into the note pane, the program marks the video so that your notes and the video are synchronized. When you go back to your notes and click, takes you to the time-marker corresponding to that note.

Because it is a free program, and it is in development, it does have one major idiosyncrasy:  often, when accessing a link, you this (somewhat) disconcerting message:

Flipped Learning Using Google Add-On

Sometimes this warning pops up–but it is not a problem when students know to expect it and where to click.

I’m not sure this happens on all computers/browsers, but it always happens on my Mac.  I warn my students that, if the message appears, they simply need to click on the “” link under “Connected Apps” and it will take them to the right place.  Other than this small quirk, the program works flawlessly.

Here is a screenshot of my page for teaching Haiku. has a nice interface that guides you through the set-up of your videos with a pleasant pop-up tour and specific directions.

Flipped Learning Using Google Add-On

A Screenshot of the page for teaching Haiku.

As you can see, the video appears on the left with all the usual controls.  On the right, along with a time-mark, are the notes that I have included to guide my students through the important information in the video.  If you want to see what this is like for the student, please click on my link to check this out in real time.  When you want to access a point in the video where specific information is imparted, you simply click on the note and it takes you to that point in the video.

If you want to get the program for yourself follow these directions:

  1. Go to and connect the tool to your Google Drive.
  2. Connect a video you want to annotate into the tool by pasting the video URL.  Not every video will work, but I have used it with YouTube and Vimeo with excellent results.
  3. Begin the video.  As it plays, type notes into the note pane on the right. will automatically create a file folder in your Google Drive account that will include the annotated video so that you can access and share it.  The program is free to use, but if you use it and can afford it–please tip the developer!!

Some Ideas On How to Use this Tool

I have used this tool mostly in my online courses.  It is an excellent way to draw student attention to the specific areas of a video. I often use the notes to create my homework quizzes, so if they don’t access the first time, the learn, very quickly, to begin using the tool!

I have been thinking of a thousand other ways that this tool could be used, however.

For example, I could have students do online speeches and annotate their videos using!  I could also open up a in Google Apps for Ed and have my students assist in annotating a video or movie used in a digital media or film course.  Students could also do peer annotation on video projects and share those annotations with me.

I have also shared this tool with the Disabled Students Services office at my school so that they can assist students in annotating class videos.

Do you have some other ideas?  Please post them in comments!


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