‘Flipped learning’ has been part of education vocabulary for a number of years now. As with any educational approach, its success depends on the teacher, context and learners involved. The following tips are a starting point for anyone considering the ‘flipped learning’ approach, I would be interested to hear from anyone using it regularly with their students.
- Produce material for YOUR students to engage them outside the classroom. Generic content works as a starting point but students have greater faith in their own teacher’s input.
- Decide on a workflow solution and stick to it. I use Google Drive to set assignments and annotate responses. Students are happy with this solution as it is cross platform and supports learning with library and backpack resources.
- Set specific deadlines for your students. If they are given a date then unfortunately that can be construed as midnight!! The old hand-in mantra of next lesson doesn’t fit the ‘flipped’ class idea and as such can present a problem.
- Provide access for students who aren’t connected to the internet at home. Whether it be provision after school or via downloaded material, there will still be issues for home learning.
- Write to parents to explain the new style of learning and be prepared for questions. The concept doesn’t sit well with many parents who believe the teacher’s job is to deliver content in the lesson. In a time where our profession is questioned daily a reliance on home support is crucial to your success.
- Expect students to watch/read your material just because you tell them to. A task set in conjunction with the content can be submitted to Google Classroom and assessed before the lesson. Simple starters can also help at the beginning of each lesson e.g. a Socrative quiz.
- Assume that because content has been delivered at home that classroom tasks will run smoothly. Even though the 1:1 time has increased the need for differentiation tasks actually widens. Extended activities are often required very early in the lesson by some students and never reached by others.
- Expect other staff members to agree with the concept and support the workflow. Real consideration has to be given to the way assessment is made and how it fits with school requirements. Grading points are often out of sync with ‘flipped’ class progression.
- Expect your teacher observation templates to fit with the ‘flipped’ lesson format. Ensure any observer is sent the content delivery method before they enter the classroom. There is no doubt that teacher input decreases for some classroom time and this can be unnerving when being evaluated.
- Believe your content, once created, will last for many years. The ‘flipped’ classroom is successful when resources are updated with the needs of students in mind. Fortunately, with the iPad and other technologies, resources can be enhanced very easily year to year.
This post is in response to the ‘success’ observed around workflow and assessment over the past academic year. For example, recently, students were given a specific time to ‘hand-in’ their assignments based on video content and research. Their work was then annotated at a time convenient to the teacher and ‘handed back’ to the students online. The students could then read the comments and come prepared to ask questions, all before the next lesson. Content had been encountered for the first time at home and meant that the first contact time for the module could begin from a more advanced stage. It sure beats the old regime of – set work, hand in next lesson, mark, give back the following lesson. The ‘flipped class’ can ensure home learning is more effective and informs the teacher where and how to pitch the next lesson.