This May, I had the opportunity to present at the ILC on the topic of the flipped classroom at a symposium on inclusive technologies. What is inclusive technologies, you ask? Well it is allowing the use of technology to support student learning for any student in your class. It could include the use of assistive technologies, such as Read & Write Gold 5, or just allowing any student to use a personal laptop/tablet because he or she prefers to complete work in this manner.
For this session, a colleague who also teaches grade 9 social studies, as well as two grade 9 students, joined in the presentation. With laptops, students exemplars, and our table top whiteboards, we headed to the ILC, unsure of the response the flipped classroom would receive.
For the presentation, our two students began to white board ideas of what the flipped classroom looks like to them. Here are some examples of what they included:
- more group work
- less homework
- videos and discussion board posts as my homework
- white boarding
- class presentations
While they went to work on this, my colleague and I set up three computers: one presenting an exemplar flip video; a second demonstrating the screencasting software we use, Camtasia; and the third highlighted the pedagogy of the flipped classroom. I have included the visual aid below. I have also included a link to the PDF version:
From here, we let the students engage in conversation with teachers, administrators, and specialists. We were there to support questions they had difficulty answering and to further the conversation in regards to classroom implementation. The insights our students shared were incredible. One of the students is an ELL student; he mentioned about how he liked that the videos were made by his teachers for him (not like the Khan Academy). He mentioned that this was benefical because the videos then contained vocabulary he was familiar with and thus was easier for him to understand. What I found beneficial from his perspective was that he shared that he quite regularly will search Google and YouTube for videos to help him learn difficult concepts – because of these videos, he no longer needs to do this.
Both students also spoke of how they liked that they could pause, rewind, and re-watch the video to help further their understanding. They also commented that they like the fact the videos would be there for year-end review, and that the classroom work had become “more fun”. From our perspective, student engagement and participation has definitely increased.
Overall, the response was quite welcoming. As we engaged with colleagues, we suggested that the flipped classroom is not the end-all be-all of teaching and that one should not completely “flip” their teaching. Rather, what we have found is that this approach is a beneficial teaching strategy to add to your toolkit; it helps increase student engagement and facilitate active, inquiry-based activities. Group work becomes more meaningful and beneficial, and, for me, behavior problems in group contexts are almost non-existent.
As we ended conversations, I provided a brochure on the flipped classroom I have recently created. I have included screen shots of the brochure, but if you are a member of the five school jurisdictions collaborating in Alberta Core (www.albertacore.ca), it has been uploaded there as well. A link to the PDF file can also be found below.
Moving forward, I look forward to having more opportunities to present and share my knowledge on the flipped classroom. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment box below. I am always looking for ideas and ways in which I can grow!