What is a Flipped Classroom?
The Flipped Classroom is an alternative model of instruction that is gaining attention from educators. According to The Flipped Learning Network, This pedagogical approach moves instruction from a group learning space to an individual learning space. This approach differs from the traditional model of instruction because it reverses the process of instruction and transforms learning into an interactive learning environment that supports active learning.
This Model can potentially flip an educator's world upside down. In this model, the teacher guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter. A Flipped classroom flips class lectures and homework assignments around. The student’s focus on a shortened pre-recorded or pre-prepared lecture/ lesson at home (for homework) and gives students direct access to knowledge virtually anywhere at any time. During class, the teacher is then free to focus on the application of learning traditionally “homework” activities and projects, etc. When used effectively, the teacher then becomes the guide, mentor, and coach to students during class time. The teacher is free to interact with students more often and provide increased one on one instruction. Flipped models allow the teacher and students to make the most use of their time and effort during class. Essentially this model gives educators more time to support their students in active learning by reallocating time spent teaching and learning. According to The Learning Network and other notable sources, there are four pillars of a flipped classroom. These four pillars include a flexible learning environment, learning culture, intentional content and professional educator.
- Flexible Learning Environment: Providing fluid timelines for student work and comprehension. Teachers should adjust to the pace of their students in the class.
- Learning Culture: A rich environment that allows students to delve further into topics and provides them with opportunities for self-reflection and hands-on activities.
- Intentional Content: Teachers decide ahead of time what direct instruction to pair with in-class activities. Students should feel challenged but able to understand the material on their own.
- Professional Educator: Teachers monitor students during lessons and offer feedback to ensure no gaps in student knowledge.
For another explanation of a Flipped classroom model watch this short animated Youtube video that describes this model.
This week’s blog provides you with an alternative to the transitional model of teaching and provides a brief introduction to discovering the flipped classroom model.
Why is the Flipped model gaining more traction today?
There are many benefits to having a flipped classroom. One of the most interesting benefits includes being able to use this model as much, or as little as you wish. This means the Flipped model is scalable and you can adapt it to meet your class’s needs. You can flip for just a particular lesson, an entire unit, or all of the time. Besides, it’s relatively easy to use this method interchangeably with other methods as needed. The flipped model is also a great way to incorporate technology in a very positive way. Meaning student’s are able to use technology to engage with what they learn, interact with the teacher and their peers in a safe and educational way. Another great benefit is that it can shake up your typical classroom by using tools and applications like Moogle and Edmundo. These applications work great with this model and allow kids to reach out to their peers to get help outside of the classroom or provide a safe way to interact outside of class to discuss the lesson. One of the more fundamental and encouraging reasons to test out a Flipped model is because it allows educators to use large scale differentiation. What teacher wouldn’t want to spend more time with students who struggle while allowing high performing students more flexibility and opportunity to work on advanced work? Differentiated instruction is incorporated in every learning opportunity while using the flipped model.
What About Bloom’s? How Does Bloom’s Taxonomy Work With A Flipped Model?
In traditional learning, Bloom’s Taxonomy is used to assist with lower-level learning such as remembering and understanding the content being learned during class as referenced on the Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid. Higher-level learning traditionally is then practiced outside of the class for homework, and outside class projects when time is exhausted during in-class lectures and lessons.
When the Flipped classroom model is used the pyramid can be flipped upside down. By using the revised taxonomy (2001) students can then work independently on the lower level cognitive work before entering the classroom (in-person or virtually) and engage with the teacher and their classmates during class using higher cognitive work. Essentially flipping Bloom’s Model upside down like shown in the image on the right.
Techniques That Help Educators Prepare For Flipping Their Classroom:
As with all models of instruction, it is important to consider not only the benefits but also the drawbacks. The Cornell University Center of Innovation identifies that moving to a flipped classroom requires students to self- regulate learning. Not all students are disciplined enough to be effective with this model without preparation and training. This means that teachers must use techniques that will support students when applying this model. This places the onus on educators to conduct additional upfront preparation for this model to be effective. The Center of Innovation suggests that the following techniques help educators prepare to utilize this method of instruction.
- Communicate how much time-on-task is expected for each learning activity.
- Provide a rubric to communicate what assignment outcomes are expected and how students will be assessed.
- Encourage students to create a learning plan.
- Incorporate peer feedback.
- Include incentives for completing online or out of class assignments.
Six things you can do if you are thinking about using the Flipped model of instruction with your students.
- Ensure access: Make sure that students can access material and videos for the lessons. Flash drives and burned DVDs work well if the internet is not available provided the students have access to a computer. If the internet is available there are many ways to upload video lessons such as Youtube, Google, and other platforms.
- Ensure Students know How to: You may need to spend time teaching students how to watch the lesson. You may need to explain what you expect them to do with the lesson information. For example, you expect that students reflect on the information and write down notes or questions about what they heard/ learned. You may have them complete a short quiz after watching the video lesson at home.
- Keep Lessons Short: Depending on what grade you are teaching remember to keep the videos short (10-15 minutes). Little kids especially cannot retain a lot of information at once. Try (2-4) minute smaller videos for the younger students. You can always have more than one video.
- Hold Students Accountable: It’s reasonable to think that not all students will come prepared to class having watched the lesson in advance. Make sure you have some way to hold students accountable for being prepared. Consider having an entrance ticket to class, or completing a short quiz using tools like zoom polls, or Google form, or survey monkey after students complete a lesson. You may need to hold students accountable and have them watch the content before joining the rest of the class. Establishing ground rules can help.
- Perfection: Lessons should be taught authentically and naturally. In a traditional classroom, it’s difficult to have a perfect lesson, therefore it’s unreasonable to make your video lesson perfect. Good lighting, non-distracting backgrounds are important when recording but you do not have to overthink and burn yourself out trying to be perfect. It’s more important to focus on delivering the lesson with the intended content. Just be yourself!
- Start Small: If you are thinking about trying this model in your classroom, there is no need to rush and flip everything all at once. Start small and test out a lesson or two. Trying to do too much too fast will overwhelm you and may overwhelm your students. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Should You Flip Your Classroom?
Ultimately, the decision to flip or not to flip is on you as the educator and your District. If you think this may be something that will benefit your students, now may be a good time to test the Flipped model. To find out more about this method of instruction check out the book; Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. In this book, Flipped pioneers Aaron Sams and Johnathan Bergmann focus on answering the question of “What is the best use of class time?” When we did our research on this topic we found studies that proved the Flipped model of instruction had success in classrooms. In one of the studies conducted by George Mason University, the Flipped Learning model has had a positive impact on important student outcomes such as; achievement and engagement. The image below borrowed from Lesley University represents some of the results of the study conducted by The Flipped Learning Network.
Flipped Classrooms first gained popularity with Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, who were both high school chemistry teachers who in their way coined this model. In their book: Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day (2012), they discussed a couple of reasons why teachers should consider flipping. Here are some of those reasons:
- Flipping helps students of all abilities to excel including the busy and struggling students.
- Flipping allows students to pause and rewind their teachers.
- Flipping increases student-teacher interaction.
- Flipping allows teachers to know their students better.
- Flipping increases student-student interaction.
- Flipping allows for real differentiation.
- Flipping changes classroom management.
- Flipping changes the way we talk to parents.
- Flipping educates parents.
Some Additional Resources To Help You Learn More About Flipped Classrooms:
- Dunn, J. (2014). The 6-step guide to flipping your classroom.
- Flipped Learning Network (FLN).
- Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching
- Miss Dodds’ Videos – Hanna
- h Dodd is an advocate of flipped learning. Flipped Learning Simplified – This link contains great information, links, and resources for teachers.
- The Four Pillars of Flipped Learning:
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