Clintondale High, just outside of Detroit, is the nation’s first completely flipped school, meaning teachers record lectures for students to watch online outside of class; and what was once considered homework is now done in class, allowing students to work through assignments together and ask teachers for help if they run into questions.
Introduction to Flipped Learning.
The Flipped Classroom is a new method of teaching that is turning the traditional classroom on its head.
Every day, thousands of teachers deliver the exact same lesson in class to millions of students. Every night, millions of students sit over the exact same homework, trying to figure out how to solve it. The Flipped Classroom is turning this upside down.
Traditionally students listen to lectures and take tests in class and read textbooks and work on problem sets at home. In flip teaching, students first study the topic by themselves, typically using video lessons on YouTube and then apply the knowledge by solving problems and doing practical work in class.
Modern schools who flipped their classroom report many benefits: 1. It allows all students to learn at their own pace as videos can be watched again. 2. Its more efficient, as students enter the classroom prepared to contribute. 3. It enriches the lesson as more time can be spent on group work and projects. 4. Doing homework in class allows students to help each other, which benefits both the advanced and less advanced learners.
What have you heard about the flipped classroom? That it’s just the latest education fad? That it only works for certain academic subjects? It’s not uncommon to come across references in the web media to poorly informed and misconstrued ideas like these. Given the value and many benefits inherent in this powerful form of blended learning, it is important that these misconceptions be addressed and dispelled.
Following are 10 of the most common erroneous ideas about flipped teaching and learning that you may come across, and a brief explanation of why each of them is misinformed.
- It’s just the latest buzzword
Flipped instruction, a.k.a. the flipped classroom, is an evolution of the phrase “reverse instruction”, which first appeared in print in 20001. The concept gradually gained momentum over the years, with articles regularly being published towards the end of the decade that followed.
- It’s a ‘Trend’
As attested to above, the concept of was formally birthed about a decade and a half ago and has been gaining steam ever since. Clearly the Google Search graph indicates that interest shows no signs of abating. The Internet and news media got particularly interested in the concept in 2013, as evidenced in “Flipped Classroom: The (1 Minute) Movie”. Flipped teaching and learning is an emerging construct that is becoming increasingly commonplace in our schools.
- It’s all or none – you either flip your class or you don’t.
One of the main things I try to clear up right away when I introduce flipped instruction to teachers is that they have to flip all or most of their content. This is absolutely not the case. Teachers can start leveraging flipped classroom tools and techniques on a small, limited scale – flip a lesson, a week, a unit – and then decide how much and how often to use the approach. If it becomes something you want to leverage on a wide scale, go for it, but you may also find that what works best for your classroom is using the approach in just specific situations.
- It must be judged as being either “right” or “wrong”
This just doesn’t make sense. Is choosing to bake or fry the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to cook? Is using watercolors or oil paints the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to paint? Flipped instruction is another tool in the teacher’s digital tool box, not a definitive “do” or “don’t” idea.
- It’s only good for certain subjects
While it is easy to see how freeing up class time for active learning is easy in math and science, that free class time can be used to personalize and reinforce learning in all subject areas. Sams and Bergmann’s excellent book, Flip Your Class: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, offers a number of good examples of this, as do so many teachers who have written about it on the web. One of my favorite, unexpected examples (that makes a lot of sense in hindsight) is Physical Education!
- It’s something new
The flipped classroom is essentially a combination and repackaging of time tested teaching concepts and modern era digital learning constructs, such as assigning homework, reviewing and reinforcing learning content, blended learning tools and techniques, and so on. The only thing truly new about it is how much attention it is getting and how quickly it is being adopted by many teachers.
- You have to video yourself lecturing in order to flip you classroom
There is a strong tendency for teachers to think that “delivering lecture content online” means that you have to stand or sit in front of a camera and record yourself lecturing. While that can be an effective technique when done well (hint: partner with another teacher), it certainly isn’t the only way to approach creating good digital content. There have never been more tools and approaches (and so many good quality free resources) available for creating digital learning materials.
- Flipped content has to be in video format
Digital learning content can take many forms. While screencasting remains the most popular approach to creating flipped learning content – there are countless ways to create content that students can access online. Voice over Powerpoint slides to make a narrated slide deck, create a curated set of web resources using LessonsPaths or a similar tool, build a web site with Edmodo or Weebly and bring together a wide variety of digital learning resources and add discussion forums, quizzes, etc. … the possibilities just keep on growing!
- There is no evidence that it works
The body of empirical evidence indicating increased engagement and improved learning outcomes through flipped teaching and learning is growing every day. Clintondale Highschool in Michigan has produced impressive results and garnered a lot of attention in the media, but that’s just one of many such cases where grades and retention have been improved in measured ways.
- Teachers have to create all their own flipped learning content
While it is understandable and laudable that many teachers wish to create most or all of their own flipped learning materials, there is a wealth of great content available on the Web from other educators and from experts in their respective fields. Not only can you use excellent resources like Ted.com videos, Khan Academy tutorials, free lectures from leading universities, and so on, you can also take those videos and use free tools like ed.ted.com to deliver them privately and add quizzes, additional learning resource links, and other content and functionality to customize them for your unique classroom needs.
Have you “Flipped your classroom” yet? The flipped classroom is a useful technique that has moved lectures out of the class, and onto digital media. In doing so, teachers can drastically increase interaction time with their students. It also creates two unique learning environments instead of just one, and opens up the opportunity for students to ask questions, solve problems, and use technology in a meaningful way.
A number of tools are available that can be used to record lectures, including YouTube, Edmodo, Schoology, and Moodle. No matter what tool you’re using, recording and uploading lectures, then hosting them for years to come has never been easier.
The first tool is Panopto. It is one of the most widely used class capturing tools, used in many K-12 classrooms and universities. To use this, you’ll need a Panopto recorder installed on your classroom computer. With it you can easily record a class lecture, yourself, your PowerPoint presentations, and your screens. These recordings can then be uploaded to Canvas, and students can review these lectures later anytime they want.
If you are a teacher and you are using Panopto, you don’t have to worry about uploading your lectures because it is integrated to a Course Management System, Canvas. Before start recording, you can choose to add archive to your course folder, and when you are finished with recording it will automatically be added to your course folder. It also allows you to send a live feed of your lecture recordings to your students.
Panopto is as useful for students as it is for teachers. As a student, you can search any lecture using related keywords. You can also take your own notes in a better way because you have the option to pause the lecture anytime. In this way you can understand and concentrate on the lecture more easily while working at your own pace.
Tegrity is another great tool that is used for flipping the class. It records each and every activity that is performed on a teacher’s computer. Audio of the teacher can also be added by simply adding a microphone to the computer. If you add a web-cam, and a tablet you would be able to record the video of the teacher and his writing actions as well. Tegrity is also integrated with a Course Management System, Angel, so after completion of lecture recording, these are uploaded automatically for the students.
To use Tegrity, you don’t have to change your teaching style. As a teacher or instructor, you can manage the number of students you want to share the recording links with, and can delete the recordings whenever you want, or save them for future.
As a student, you have freedom to find a specific portion of a lesson, bookmark it, and you can also send electronic questions to your teachers. This tool helps you access materials easily, even from your smartphone.
Screencast-o-matic is a tool that helps a teacher in recording everything they do does on their computer. They can also add audio to the recording with the help of a microphone. This tool can be especially helpful when teaching involves modeling the use of online tools and resources as students can effectively watch over the shoulder of the teacher.
As a teacher you don’t have to install any software to use this tool, as it is run directly from the website. If you set up a free account on their website, you’ll get 15 minutes of free recording, video uploading, and you can directly publish the recorded material to YouTube. If you purchase Screencast-O-Matic, along with unlimited recording and editing, among other features.
This is one of the most popular class flipping tools, proving itself again and again in the classroom. With Camtasia, as a teacher you can integrate Power Point presentations, videos, flash cards, music, and even games to your lessons, or add different visual effects to them.
You can also edit your lessons that have been prepared using this tool. In the latest version of this high quality screen recorder, quiz creation and sharing has become even easier to boot.
Wikispaces is an online tool that helps a teacher to prepare and save lessons online. This tool is being used by a number of teachers and institutions due to its simple interface and flexible use. And being free doesn’t hurt, either. If you are a teacher it would be a lot easier for you to use this tool then setting up your own website.
“…flipped classroom teachers almost universally agree that it’s not the instructional videos on their own, but how they are integrated into an overall approach, that makes the difference. …students can’t just “watch videos …teachers check their notes and require students to come to class with questions…. as the year progresses they ask better questions and think more deeply…”
The flipped classroom (also inverted classroom and flipped teaching) is an instructional approach (not method, per se) aiming to minimize direct pedagogical instruction in classrooms while optimizing one-on-one and group interaction. The flipped model focuses on preparation outside of class to free up student time for learning during class. As a strategy for social learning, flipped teaching draws considerably on web-based learning tools as platforms for learning. By flipping the classroom this way, learning becomes situated both in isolation and with others; in class, difficult ideas and concepts are worked through and students engage in peer-to-peer learning. The idea in the FC is to flip instruction, getting students to engage in interactive social learning. With teacher-created videos and lessons, instruction is less about being taught content as attending to learn. FCs can be rethought of as best ways to maximize learning resources (and time).
Mazur and Crouch describe a modified form of the flipped classroom that they call peer instruction (2001). In a 2012 NEJM article, the authors proposed the idea of flipped classrooms where medical students could absorb lecture materials outside of class thereby freeing up time for learning during class. In 2014, McLaughlin explores the idea of flipping the classroom within health-related (i.e., pharmacy) courses.
Different ways of flipping the classroom
The use of technology such as webinars, podcasts, videocasts and other online learning objects can be very effective in imparting concepts. That said, creative teachers can also use the following techniques to engage with their students away from formal class time:
- try some small group instruction between teacher and students from class
- schedule one-on-one sessions between teacher and students; set weekly goals, provide specific coaching to students
- offer peer-to-peer tutoring where students explain concepts to each other; students are then expected to understand concepts and teach (e.g., struggling students get clarification, and explainers deepen their understanding)
- project-based learning with a group of students who have mastered or are ready to explore concepts
In the traditional approach to teaching, students come to class to hear lectures, then make sense of material through problem sets and other activities after class. The “flip” involves shifting the exposure to concepts “before the class” and placing the deeper learning during class time. One of the many benefits of the flipped classroom is focusing on the critical aspects of teaching such as student autonomy, purpose/relevance, emotional intelligence and so on. The flipped classroom should make optimal use of instructor and student time, provides increased access to the instructor’s expertise and enables better scalability of instructional resources to support high-enrollment demands. From the pedagogical perspective, key benefits of the flipped classroom are:
- increased classroom time to present content, discuss complex topics and work with students — either individually or in small groups
- reduced time spent answering basic and repetitive questions due to students’ ability to review lectures online;
- recorded lectures are used in multiple course sections with tools for updating content
- quick adaptation of lecture content to respond to new learning needs
Flipping meetings & conferences
In 2013, due to the MLA13 Conference in Boston, there has been much discussion about flipping classrooms for health librarians but extending the flip into future meetings and conferences. In the “flipped classroom”, the usual lecture and assignments are reversed; further, video lectures are to be viewed before participants come together and the time in class is devoted to exercises, projects or discussions about content. One of the benefits of this flipped approach is that it asks participants to change how they use their time in the classroom. Will the instructor use it for lecturing? thoughtful discussions with learners? hands-on learning? What happens online between classes? Will learners use social media? The use of recorded lectures puts instructors under the control of their students; they can watch, rewind and fast-forward content as many times as needed. The flipped classroom isn’t merely about watching video lectures or doing homework; it has to do with who is learning, and when it happens.
One way presentations might be flipped at conferences is that materials for sessions could be posted online beforehand. Posting content would be up to the individual or sponsor. Posting content would allow attendees (not just those that can squeeze into the room) to review content. Attendees and non-attendees could have some time to digest content and discuss it with colleagues before going to the conference. At conferences, sessions could consist of discussions, activities and other methods of engagement. Discussions could be captured or added to dialogues. This could be used for posters. Why wait until one is in the hall standing there in front of the author reading their materials then have to generate questions on the spot?
Eric Schnell has some good ideas about flipping the classroom or “flipping the conference”. While flipped presentations may not always be appropriate, for plenary and invited speakers, the idea might be worth exploring by placing more ownership of conferences on attendees. Attendees could access and digest content and use face-to-face interactions to further understanding. If the attendees own their experiences, there is more potential for deeper and transformative learning to happen.