What is a Flipped Classroom?
All across the nation and beyond, teachers are experimenting with flipping the classroom. No, not literally like this silly photo. They are flipping instruction. The basic concept is quite simple. Homework gets done in the classwork while class instruction occurs at home.
With the flipped classroom concept, the teacher becomes less of a “sage on the stage” and more of a “guide on the side.” This is done by having students watch pre-recorded lessons on screen or podcasts online at home. The next day, class lecture time is freed up to have the students put their newly acquired knowledge into practice.
Technology in the Classroom
Technology has changed the way we do everything, and education is no exception. Flipping the classroom can be as simple or as elaborate as the teacher wants to make it.
Low-tech teachers can flip classroom instruction with a simple-made video he or she makes, or choose one from shared files. High-tech teachers will explore software and technologies to enhance the flipped classroom learning experience.
This enhancement can be in the way of shareware such as Edmodo or learnspace. These sites are like having facebook accounts private to you and your students. Teachers can post quizzes, due dates, etc. on line. Students can post and form groups for working on projects together. Files too large to share by email can be sent.
Videos can be viewed on computers, laptops, iPads Smartphones, etc. Students with no computer access (rare these days) can be given a spot in the classroom, computer lab or media center. This is also a good place for students who may need to review the material while in school.
Advantages of Flipped Instruction
Flipped instruction can be used in almost any classroom to a degree. Just remember the basic concept. Classroom instruction becomes homework and homework becomes classroom work. This frees up much time for active learning in the classroom. Teachers can plan hands-on activities for students that will allow them to develop higher-order thinking skills. Some of the ways to actively engage students in the classroom after viewing lectures on a video are as follows.
- class discussions
- cooperative learning
- surveys and polls
- graphing and displaying data
- visual arts projects
- low or high tech presentations
- research projects
Unlike classroom lectures, online lessons can be reviewed from as far back as the beginning of the lesson if necessary. They can even be reviewed before major exams. Parents will love having the change in homework. Struggling through trying to work problems or answer questions about forgotten classroom lectures are eliminated. They can even view the videos themselves in order to be better able to help children understand the lesson content.
Although the flipped classroom is relatively new, results of studies are showing improvements across the board from better test scores to lowered drop-out rates in schools that have implemented flipped instruction.
Who Gets Credit for Flipped Instruction?
Two chemistry teachers from Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park, Colorado, Johnathon Bergmann, and Aaron Sams are credited with the seed that planted the idea of the flipped classroom.
The two teaching buddies collaborated often on ways to deliver instruction. In 2007, they discovered software that allowed them to share Powerpoint presentations for students who had missed instruction.
This grew into the idea of presenting lecture online and follow-up work in the classroom.
Setting the ground work, Eric Mazur developed peer instruction back in the 1990s. He used computer-aided instruction to coach instead of lecture,
In 2000, Lage, Platt and Treglia published “Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment”.
Beginning in the fall of 2000, the University of Wisconsin used tutoring videos as part of their instruction in a computer sciences course. In 2011, two centers were built at the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning to study and promote flipped classrooms.
Tips for Flipping the Classroom
- Provide opportunities for students to gain exposure before the lecture video. This can be as simple as textbook reading or Youtube video or as technical as a Powerpoint presentation or podcast. This serves as an anticipatory set for the lesson.
- Provide incentives that will motivate students to prepare for class. Give points or privileges for completing the pre-class activity.
- Include informative assessment to evaluate student understanding throughout the lesson. This can be done with online quizzes, paper/pencil quizzes, written responses to essay-type questions and other informal assessments.
- Use informal assessments for forming groups and peer tutoring teams.
- Use activities following the videos that include higher-level critical thinking skills. Find activities that cause them to evaluate, summarize and synthesize newly learned information,
- Use strategies that incorporate student-to-student learning such as peer tutoring, cooperative learning, and think-pair-share.
Sample Plan for Flipped Instruction
The objective is to understand and apply the scientific method. Students will identify dependent variable, independent variable, control group, hypothesis,
- Build motivation and create a “hook” for anticipating learning with a Powerpoint presentation or textbook reading. Include a short quiz either online or with pencil/paper. Whatever your level of technology is at this point. Don’t worry, there is no need to be a techie to do this. Give points for completing the presentation.
- Create or import a lesson/lecture on the basics of the scientific method. It’s a good beginning.It is best if you make these videos yourself, but it’s OK to use other videos Check for understanding with a quiz, online or paper/pencil.
- Review with questioning at the beginning or class
- Assign directions for a project:
- Purpose: Create a lab to demonstrate the scientific method using a simple paper airplane.
- Make a hypothesis: Decide on a plan and make a prediction based on the procedure you have developed to use the paper airplane.
- Develop a plan that demonstrates the scientific method. Try to create a table and a graph to record collected data. Have students do 10 trials.
- Have students write two paragraphs analyzing collected data.
Final Thoughts on Flipping the Classroom
Have fun with this cool new idea. Start off slowly if you are “tech shy.” Just remember the basic idea of the flipped classroom, and it will make sense. It could turn your teaching right side up and make more sense to you and your students.