How to “Flip this Lesson” Using YouTube and TED Ed

by Justin Marquis Ph.D.

When I wrote How "Flip This Lesson" by TED Ed Could Help Teachers More, on May 10, 2012, I got some push-back from tededlogan who wrote, "Hey there, Jumarqui. Thanks for doing this. I really enjoyed it, and it is helpful to hear and see a visitor interpreting the site out loud. However, I wanted to quickly point out that you didn’t click one of the more powerful features available on TED-Ed. The "flip this video" button. This allows you to customize the lesson and measure the learning results that your resulting lesson incurs. The´╗┐ video on the tour section on the site shows this functionality. Thanks!"

My response to this was that doing a simple walkthrough of the interface suited my purpose as an accompaniment for the blog post mentioned above as the post examined TED Ed as a classroom resource rather than as a content creation tool. But I was intrigued, so I assured tededlogan that I would follow up with a screencast of how to use the full power of the medium. Here is the resulting video and a step-by-step how-to guide for anyone interested in creating their own flipped lesson on TED Ed.

Step 1: Create a Ted Ed account and log in at

Step 2: Locate the YouTube Video you are going to use as the basis for your lesson and copy the URL into your clipboard.

Step 3: Go to the "Flip any Video From YouTube" page on Ted Ed by clicking the word "YouTube" at the top of the page and enter the URL in the search box. Then press "Search." Note to TED ED: it is not clear that the "YouTube" link is the portal to flipping lessons.

Step 4: Press the thumbnail representation of the video you have selected. A pop-up window will appear showing the video. Press the "Flip This Video" button below the video.

Step 5: A new Page with "Create Your Lesson" at the top of the screen will open. It is time to begin flipping the lesson. If you haven’t already, this is the time to plan out the content for your video. I suggest writing questions and compiling resources in a word processing program before you begin.

Step 6: In the box next to "Let’s Begin…" enter the lesson description (100 character max)

Step 7: Once you have entered your description, click on the word "Think" to the right of the video. A blank space will replace the video which is labeled "+ Create Your Own Question." Type a question that you would like your learners to consider after watching the video.

Add as many questions as you need to guide learners in thinking about the video they have watched.

Step 8: When you have finished entering your questions, click on the words "Dig Deeper" below "Think" to enter resources that your students can access to further their understanding of the issue being considered.

You can add hyperlinks in this section by selecting text then clicking the "Add a Link" button above the text field, then entering the URL and title for the link, then pushing "Insert."

Step 9: After adding all of your enrichment information to the "Dig Deeper" section, add some closing thoughts for your students by clicking on "…And Finally" (150 character max).

Step 10: Click on the "Preview" button to check out your lesson. When you are satisfied, click "Publish." Note that you will not be able to further edit your lesson once it has been published.

That’s it. You have now successfully "Flipped a Lesson" on Ted Ed. You can view this lesson on Jane McGonigal’s idea of how video games can save the world here:

I find the interface to be quite easy to use and give TED Ed a hearty endorsement as a vehicle for harnessing the vast array of resources available on YouTube to create some engaging lessons. However, there are still limitations to the site that will need to be addresses if it is to become truly useful to teachers. For example, why aren’t the "Think" questions cued to specific parts of the video or accessible during playback? Additionally, there should be social media integration, collaborative tools, and a way for teachers to share and curate videos they like.

This is a great start for a beta release, but still has some room for improvement in the next iteration, as I pointed out in my previous post on TED Ed.

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