At the beginning of the school year, I began researching how to incorporate a Flipped Classroom approach to my teaching methods.
A Flipped Classroom inverts traditional teaching methods, delivering instructions online outside of class and moving “homework” into the classroom. Students watch lectures at home at their own pace, communicating with peers and teachers via online discussions, and concept engagement takes place in the classroom with the help of the instructor.
I will be honest when I say that the majority of the school year, I was not able to implement a fully Flipped Classroom, but I began laying the foundation by creating my own website, putting more detailed instructions and examples for assignments, and interacting with students via discussions and polls. It is my intention to create a series of lectures over the summer to be used in next year’s curriculum.
So why the push for a flip?
What are some benefits of this method?
- Gives teachers more time to spend 1:1 helping students
- Builds stronger student/teacher relationships
- Offers a way for teachers to share information with other faculty, substitute teachers, students, parents, and
the community easily
- Produces the ability for students to “rewind” lessons and master topics
- Creates a collaborative learning environment in the classroom
Because I am still learning as much as possible about this topic, I am going to leave it to the experts to give more examples of how to flip. Below is my Resource Tank for your benefit, and mine.
Flipped Classroom Resource Tank
Publish everything through student-made, online portfolios. As I scroll through my feeds each day, I can’t imagine a future in which communication isn’t mediated, enriched, and made more real and human by technology (there will be good along with the bad). We should allow kids to situate their work in the world they inhabit, which is as digital as it is physical. We should find ways and get the help we teachers need to implement student-managed digital portfolios in our own rooms. Doing so gives kids the opportunity to participate online as producers, it gives them the opportunity to understand the digital products they use, and it gives them a chance to find and fill new communications niches that we simply don’t see or know about as adult lame-o’s. Building a basic Web-container from scratch in a basic text-editor isn’t difficult, but it allows kids the chance to categorize, sort, and reflect on their work in ways that slipping a paper into a binder or folder does not. It’s also easier to preserve work and present non-print work to a larger audience online than it is to present such work from inside a portfolio or through a few classroom-, school-, or community-based performances per year. Reflective, metacognitive digital portfolio-keeping is a lot like reflective, metacognitive classroom-portfolio keeping, but it’s open to a broader, more authentic audience and it more explicitly places ownership of the portfolio in kids’ hands. Figuring out how to host such portfolios is also a good way for us to learn and to get to know our tech people and their priorities.
**This is a resource from a higher-education classroom, but the concepts can be adapted to any classroom**
Step aside and allow students to learn from each other. “Pre-class, my students access digital readings using a web-based, collaborative PDF annotation tool called NB, which was designed by MIT,” says Mazur. “I have been truly impressed by the energy with which my students dive into the readings. I thought I would need to give much more extrinsic motivation [for them] to do that, but the answer is no, not at all.
“Within a couple of weeks, my 35 students created 2,000 annotations in their text, discussing the readings asynchronously with each other. Their discussions were incredibly thorough, exciting, and in-depth. Yet, every time I participated in the NB annotations, I killed the discussion among the students, because I was seen as the authority. It stopped them from working it out on their own and finding the solution. [Now] I participate only if there is a situation where they are completely and utterly stuck.”
Aaron Sams teaches biology, chemistry and AP chemistry at Woodland Park High School in Colorado. His ultimate goal as a teacher is to “help students become learners who can learn for themselves and by themselves.”
Before flipping his classroom, Aaron took a step back and realized he wasn’t fully meeting his goal. “One of the problems that I was guilty of is that the classroom was centered around me.”
Now, in Aaron’s flipped classroom, he records screencasts of his lectures which then become the homework for his students. The kids watch the lectures at home and come to class with time to do more experiments, explore the content, and interact with each other. “When the students come to class, they don’t show up to learn new content, they show up to apply the things they learned at home through the videos,” Aaron said.
“Students are more engaged in my class now that technology has allowed me to flip the classroom. I have virtually no D’s. D’s have become C’s, C’s have become B’s, and B’s have become A’s. And student engagement has massively increased. They are excited about learning. It’s great to see the ‘lightbulb ah-ha’ moments when students are working collaboratively,” Aaron said.
The Flipped Classroom is an intentional shift of content which in turn helps move students back to the center of learning rather than the products of schooling. We are committed to creating dynamic and engaging curriculum through collaboration and constant revision. We understand that the Flipped Classroom is not a “silver bullet” to educational problems, nor do we claim it to be. However, we do recognize that it can have a profound impact on issues including student motivation, achievement, and engagement.
If content is delivered outside of class time, it is up to the teacher to provide the students with opportunities in class to place the content they learned into context. Many teachers struggle with the “extra” class time that is created by removing direct instruction from the classroom, and do not know exactly what to do with their students. These in-class “activities” (for lack of a better term) must:
1) help support the student understanding of the stated learning objectives,
2) be designed to help students process what they have learned and place the learning into the context of the world in which they live,
3) be engaging to the students, yet flexible enough to allow students the ability to process and produce in a way that is meaningful to them. Possible in-class work could include:
- student created content
- independent problem solving
- inquiry-based activities
- Project Based Learning
Switching from a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom can be daunting because there are a lack of effective models. So, what should an effective flipped classroom look like? In our experience, effective flipped classrooms share many of these characteristics:
- Discussions are led by the students where outside content is brought in and expanded.
- These discussions typically reach higher orders of critical thinking.
- Collaborative work is fluid with students shifting between various simultaneous discussions depending on their needs and interests.
- Content is given context as it relates to real-world scenarios.
- Students challenge one another during class on content.
- Student-led tutoring and collaborative learning forms spontaneously.
- Students take ownership of the material and use their knowledge to lead one another without prompting from the teacher.
- Students ask exploratory questions and have the freedom to delve beyond core curriculum.
- Students are actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking that reaches beyond the traditional scope of the course.
- Students are transforming from passive listeners to active learners.
“I do have those students who re-watch videos and rewind me and watch me again and again and they are getting better at concepts,” Carlson says. “After these kids have done their homework and their labs here in the classroom then they head home and that’s where they listen to their teachers lecture.”
“I used to come home and do 3 hours of homework and maybe even more and I had to have my dad help me. It was very stressful,” student Caitlin Dillmans says. The flipped classroom has changed Caitlin’s entire outlook on school. “I’m someone that it needs to be explained and to like visually see it, so it really helps me taking that class and having her there.” Instead of sitting up all night with her dad, she does the problems in class with her peers and her teacher.