Normal teaching is hard enough, right? Well, let’s just add one more layer of complexity to it: flipped classrooms.
There’s been a lot of talk over the past 18 months on the direction of K-12 learning. And one of the elephants in the room is flipped learning. So let’s get a few things out of the way first about flipped learning:
According to the University of Texas Austin, a flipped class is one that inverts the typical cycle of content acquisition and application so that students gain necessary knowledge before class and instructors guide students to actively and interactively clarify and apply that knowledge during class. They even made a little video explaining it. Take a look:
Now that we’ve got that covered, why would any classroom want to transition to a flipped classroom? Rather than just copy what was said in the video, I’ll let you know my personal opinion. Here’s why I believe flipped learning needs to happen with every classroom in America:
When I was in school, many of my teachers would assign every problem at the end of a chapter and call it a day. That leads to a lot of unnecessary homework. Not to mention, not every problem is covered in class. That means if you had trouble on question 21, you might not receive help. With flipped classrooms, you integrate what’s going to be seen in class the following day, increasing exposure time to new material. Plus, students get to use the class time to actually ask questions.
Group work always happens – especially in that thing called “real-life”. We have to work with people to get things done. And flipped learning not only engages the teacher-student relationship, but the student-student relationship (arguably more important). And when you flip your classroom, you encourage teamwork – with every student – from type A to the slacker, and more. Getting exposed to these people – and working with them – is a great experience for your students because they’ll know how to tackle group work in real-life.
While researching for this article, it hit me. Flipped learning is exactly what I experienced in college (well, not every class. But, most classes). Before the lecture would happen, we’d get the power points ahead of time. Sure, there was reading, but many of my professors went beyond the power points and got at the heart of the lesson. It was nice to not hear the regurgitated text-book jargon. So, why is this pertinent to your students? Well, they’re going to go to college. Get them prepared for higher education now. Treat like the student they are – build, learn, engage with them. It’s some of the best prep you can give your students.
With a definition and reasons out of the way, how do you actually do this?
1. Talk to your students about a flipped classroom
Maybe, just maybe, your students aren’t so keen on this whole flipped learning thing. Take time to talk to them. Let them know changes are coming to your classroom. Let them be honest about whether they think it’ll work for them. While they may not have a choice, they’ll be appreciative that you included them in their own learning experience.
2. Trial for a week and get feedback
When you try something new, you simply can’t do it forever if it’s not working, That means trialing the concept. Give it a week or so and see what you think – plus, what your students think. Make changes – it’s your classroom. If you try something that doesn’t quite work with your classroom, either change it or simply don’t do it. This feedback is crucial to make your flipped classroom a success.
3. Find a software tool to help keep you organized
When you’re flipping your classroom, there’s a lot to manage. You’ve got all the media, the lessons, sending content out, coordinating classroom talks, and following up with homework,etc. That means it can get pretty overwhelming. Good thing there is software to help you. Here are a couple suggestions here.
4. Use different media types
Don’t simply upload power point slides and call it a day. Think about how your students learn. Is it reading, writing, watching video, or listening. Upload videos, podcasts, power-points, blog posts, TED talks etc. Students want to consume knowledge in different ways, so give them what they want!
5. Get other teachers involved
When you’re the lone wolf, it’s hard to find a wolf pack. Same goes for flipped learning. You need to get other teachers to champion the flipped learning revolution. When you have other teachers experiencing what you’re experiencing, you’re able to talk through problems, celebrate success, and help turn more teachers into flipped learning masters.
So, there you have it – how to flip your classroom. Have you started flipping your classroom? What has the feedback been? Do you have any tips?