The Beginner's Guide to Flipping Your Classroom

By now you have heard of the merits of flipping your classroom. You’ve read the research and determined that you want to try it with your class. The problem? You have no idea where to start. You may be tech-savvy, but changing your entire paradigm of teaching is intimidating. You don’t want to mess this up.

What is a flipped classroom anyway? Perhaps the most succinct explanation comes from this handy infographic from knewton.com.

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton

The flipped classroom is a method of pedagogy that reverses how the traditional classroom handles instruction. Lectures and direct instruction are assigned as homework so that you can use class time for group-work and assignments. The benefit of this model is that it moves lower-level learning outside of the classroom so that the teacher can be present to guide higher-order thinking tasks. 

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Question: How do I make videos?

You don’t need to be a Hollywood director to make instructional videos. I made all of my instructional videos right on my phone. You need a place to make the videos, a decent tripod, and a whiteboard or chalkboard. I opted for a tabletop lectern instead of a whiteboard so that I could do POV videos. I used markers and computer paper and solved example problems from the point of view of the student.

You aren’t making a high-quality video. Doing videos in one take (even if you make some mistakes) is the best way to approach it. You can make a couple of videos in a half hour if you don’t worry about making them perfect.

For more information on how to make videos, check out Katie Gimbar’s YouTube video:

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Icn8kMoH28Y]

Question: Where do I put the videos?

You need a place to upload the videos and a place to present the videos. The best way to upload videos is to upload them to YouTube. Here is a guide to help you through it.

You also need a place to present the videos. If your school district doesn’t already have a learning management platform (LMS), there are plenty of free ones you can use. The best free ones are Moodle, Schoology, and Edmodo. I’ve used all three, but my favorite is Moodle because it has the greatest flexibility and is the most user-friendly.

Question: What about students with no internet access?

The beauty of the flipped classroom is that it makes differentiated instruction very easy. No longer do you have to have the whole class all moving at the same pace. You can have students working through your course at different levels, and you can move around the classroom as more of a facilitator. 

I give my students a technology survey at the beginning of the year. I ask them if they have access to a computer/tablet/phone at home and if they have internet access. Out of a hundred students, I may have only one or two that has no computer or internet access.

For those students, you can assign a jump drive or burn a DVD for them. Most of your videos will be short. As a general rule, don’t make a video longer than ten minutes. Also, you won’t be assigning a video every night. The best way is to assign a range of time for the students to watch the video and accommodate those without access to the internet either during lunch or during class while other students are working.

For more ideas, check out the following video by Katie Gimbar:

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoNlL3Plx-g]

Question: How do I structure the class using the flipped classroom model? 

Since you aren’t using precious class time to deliver lectures and teach new concepts, you will have much more time to do hands-on activities with the students. You will use this time to:

  • Answer questions students have about the video
  • Reteach any concepts students struggled with
  • Assign group work and other project-based learning tasks
  • Complete tests and quizzes

Here are fourteen other highly engaging activities you can try.

Question: Where can I learn more?

If you want to learn more, check out the resources on this website. Flipping the classroom does not need to be an overwhelming task. Start small and build from there. Pick one class and begin implementing the stuff you’ve learned. In time you will have enough resources to accommodate all of your classes.  

It may take some upfront work, but it will reduce your workload in the long run. And you will be thankful that you have more time to impact your students in a positive way. 

James Leatherman is a freelance writer and owner of Leatherman Media. His passions are reading, writing, hiking, and traveling. You can find more articles like this on his website, Happy Mindsets.

 

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