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Reverse Instruction Tools And Techniques (Part 3) – Using Existing Web Based Educational Content

by Kelly Walsh on February 19, 2012


In the last two weeks, we’ve checked out ways to put content that you’ve already created online, and expanding on that content with screencasting tools, so you can give the ‘flipped classroom’ a try. This week we consider the vast array of engaging educational media available on the Internet, which can provide an easy way to add fresh, fun content to your existing instructional materials.

Reverse Instruction Tapping Into Existing Web Resources image

Online Lectures & Educational Video Sites
I’ve published various posts on this subject, providing lots of great resources for free lectures and educational videos – a brief selection of these is provided below. Some of these sites allow their videos to be embedded into other web sites, so if you use a tool like an LMS or a Wiki to deliver content, you can considering incorporating video content there, otherwise access can be provided via links.

  • The Khan Academy: With the backing of the Gates Foundation, Sal Khan’s organization has become widely recognized as a premier source of free tutorials in dozens and dozens of subjects, over a wide range of grade levels.
  • The OpenCourseWare Consortium: According to, “Simply put, the OpenCourseWare Consortium is the best place to begin looking for free online video lectures”.
  • Academic Earth: This site provides hundreds of free video lectures from professors at leading universities such as Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and more.
  • WatchKnow: Tens of thousands of educational videos for younger students (for K to 12, but more content is geared towards elementary and middle schools grades).
  • TED: The hundreds of inspiring talks from this “Technology, Education, and Design” non profit organization are of an intellectual level best suited for High School or Higher Education students.

Open Education Resources

Another great way to find and use existing educational content is to search out and put to use the growing body of materials being made available as Open Education Resources (OER). OER are teaching and learning materials that you may use freely, and come with a defined reuse policy. Some of these resources can only be shared, while others can be edited in some way and then reused as a remixed work (learn more about OER here). It is worth noting that some of the video sites listed above are OERs.

Here’s a few good resources for locating OER materials that you might wish to tap into to create flipped course content:

  • OER Commons: The OER Commons is a structured database of links to high-quality resources found on other websites. “OER Commons provides a single point of access through which educators, students, and all learners can search, browse, evaluate, and discuss over 30,000 high-quality OER.”
  • The DiscoverEd search engine from Creative Commons: A “search prototype developed by Creative Commons to explore metadata enhanced search, specifically for OER.”
  • The OER Dynamic Search Engine page from Wikispaces: is a popular wiki site (many educators create their own wikis there – a great way to host your flipped course content). This page provides a consolidated search of hundreds of OER resource sites.

Educational Interactives & Simulations

There are so many cool interactive presentations and simulations available across the web, covering thousands of topics. These can provide yet another great way to add fun engaging content to an online learning resource. Open the search engine of your choosing, and search for “free astronomy education interactives and simulations”, for example. Conducting the same search with a different subject is likely to provide plenty of relevant resources to check out.

To illustrate further, here’s the top four results for a Google search for “free astronomy education interactives and simulations”:

These three types of educational content sources can lead you to a wealth of free to use educational media that bring a new perspective and an element of interactivity to your online learning materials. As you can see, there are so many ways to get started with Reverse Instruction.

Do you have other favorite educational content sources that you’d like to share with us? Please comment and share!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):

Reverse Instruction Tools And Techniques (Part 1)
Reverse Instruction Tools And Techniques (Part 2) – Screencasting

Reverse Instruction – A Tale Of Two Students and Active Skill Learning


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

K. Walsh February 26, 2012 at 7:09 am

Hi Marie – There are lots of great resources listed here on the site, and many are free, such as the Free Productivity Tools for Teachers page. You may also want to check out the posts in the Special Needs Students category. Best of luck as you move into your new role!

janice bailey February 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

Hi Marie,

I enjoyed your blog. I am a teacher candidate and expect to be in the classroom by September. I’m looking for resources to help K-8 grade students in the area of social science or social studies. I am particularly interested in tools that can help students with learning challenges. I will be in a High Needs/Risk School in Camden, NJ.
Let me know if you are aware of additional resources besides the ones mentioned in your blog.

Thank you.

Marie Trapp February 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I have dozens and dozens of great math, education, and science sites I’ve checked out. I have a list on the computer I generally use, that is in the shop right now, but will look for the print-out if anyone wants some help. I teach & tutor middle school, high school, and college level mathematics and attempt to help students with some sciences–which means I have to study, too! Probably lots more than they do. :) Feel free to email me if there’s something in particular you’re looking for, and I might know of the resource to help. This is my 31st year to teach, and I’m always searching for resources to help these students. My favorite site right now is the site for a magazine called ADDitude, which emphasizes help for children & adults with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities, but has the BEST resources for anyone–students, teachers, parents, counselors, tutors–regardless of ability level. If you begin here, you will be online for hours and hours finding great resources and links. Good luck!

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