Differentiation · Ed Tech · Flipped Classroom · Google

Adopting a flipped classroom

The flipped classroom is a buzz term floating around at the moment, but what does it actually mean? Here is a good explanation of it:

“By moving entry-level information outside the classroom — typically (but not exclusively) through self-paced, scored videos — teachers can reframe learning so that students spend more instructional time engaged in deeper discussions, hands-on applications and project-based learning.”

Joe Hirsch, Edutopia

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I was keen to research it and implement it in my own practice.  For me, there were three reasons for this:

  1. I want to plan homework tasks that are more beneficial and more engaging.
  2. I want to utilise face to face time with students in order to have maximum impact.
  3. I’m a huge believer that technology, when used effectively, transforms learning.

In a previous post, I wrote about #NoTalkWC and how I use YouTube, among other tools, to engage small groups during independent learning. This was so successful that I decided to use YouTube to flip my classroom for the first time.

An upcoming objective was to teach students how to multiply decimal numbers. I knew from my pre-assessments that none of my students knew how to do this. However, I also assumed that some would pick it up quickly and others would require more support. I did not want to teach a calculation method, which requires such low level thinking (initially), to twenty-eight students. This would have gone against the #NoTalkWC challenge. I discussed this with Danielle Cartwright and she also liked the idea of the flipped classroom, mainly for the same reasons as me. We decided to team up and create a YouTube video to teach this procedural maths. This would allow students to learn the procedure at home, at their own pace, and come to class ready to apply it. Students were encouraged to watch the video several times if necessary and similar videos were added to the playlist to support further. This seemed like a more beneficial homework task.

After watching the playlist at home, I asked the students to indicate their stretch zone (decimal x whole number or decimal x decimal). There was also a third option for confident students to state that both objectives were comfort zone level for them. The class was spread almost evenly throughout the three options and differentiated activities were planned based on these lists. I was impressed that all students placed themselves into the most appropriate category. I was also thrilled that less-able students were able to get straight on with applying the method. Even though they were less confident, they were familiar with the method and no valuable class time was wasted on teacher-centred modelling.

In hindsight however, we thought that the video was too long and too wordy. Ross Dawson shared a link with us on Twitter that inspired our next YouTube video. In an attempt to cut down the teacher talk and create an entertaining video, we created the following video for the next home viewing task. The students were asked if they could apply this method to decimal numbers. They submitted their responses via Google Classroom.

As the two English teachers teamed up to flip, the Chinese teachers did the same. Ina Li and Ada Cheng created a division video using the Educreations app (see below). Ina and Ada added a Google Form to the Google Classroom assignment so that the students could demonstrate their understanding. Experimenting with the flipped classroom is ongoing for us, but it is fantastic to see our group trying new things, teaming up in new ways and reaching out to students using technology.

It is a year band target (and a personal target) to adopt the SAMR model for technology integration. I believe that we ‘redefined’ the tasks by creating explanatory videos, collating them with other videos from other educators, and allowing students to respond to the videos from home. Technology allowed us to teach the lessons, and to utilise classroom time, in a way that was ‘previously inconceivable’. These were my first experiences of adopting a flipped classroom, and I love it already. We will keep flipping and I will keep adding my experiences to this blog.

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11 thoughts on “Adopting a flipped classroom

    1. Hi,

      Excellent to see some Welsh on my blog! With a little help from Google Translate, I was able to identify the language and get the gist of your post. Thanks very much for linking back to me.

      Let me know if you have any questions about adopting a flipped classroom. You’ll have to ask in English, of course!

      Best regards,

      Adam

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  1. This is incredibly interesting and would work incredibly well in mixed ability classes. Can’t wait to try it!

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    1. I’m glad I caught you off the ferry tonight. It was a good chat. We’re still experimenting with it and still beginners ourselves, but it’s great to know that we have inspired you! Your idea for introducing grammar concepts in this way would work. They can be introduced to the concepts at home and then they’ll apply it during class time. Good luck and let me know how it goes! Happy to help if I can be of assistance. Adam

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    1. Thank you for the response, Susan! It’s great to know that you’re following the blog (although it puts more pressure on it – I just went through and corrected some grammar in this one). We will keep playing around and experimenting with flipping. First impressions are very positive though. It does allow us to utilise the classroom time. You can expect another blog post about this in the near future after we have tested out some more ideas. Adam

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