Don’t Like It? Flip It!

Interested in making learning a little more exciting than this?

I thought so.

As I scrolled through Google+ this morning, I noticed that many of my very intelligent EC&I 831 classmates wrote blog posts and shared resources about flipped classrooms. For example, last month, Jaylene Brass shared a fantastic resource from Edudemic – The Top 5 Blended and Flipped Classroom Tools, which explains the difference between a blended and a flipped classroom. The website describes a “blended class” as an environment which incorporates both teacher-led instruction and technology-based instruction to meet the students’ needs. In a “flipped classroom”, the “blended” model is incorporated at home where students learn through video lectures and reflections. They are not given homework or problems to solve at the dinner table, but rather, are expected to participate in these learning experiences during instructional time at school. Experimentations, problem-solving, and collaborative projects are saved for the classroom, where more time can be devoted to hands-on learning.

Photo Credit: Tony Blay via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Toni Blay via Flickr cc

Andrew Foreman wrote in his recent blog post, This here’s a story all about how my classroom got flipped upside down, “I think that flipping the classroom is an important first step in setting up the type of science class I want because it primarily opens up classtime to explore a bunch of possibilities”. What a great thought, Andrew! A flipped classroom could really make more time to explore new kinds of technology, collaborate and problem-solve with classmates, receive teacher feedback, ask thought-provoking questions, and get involved in (what my Grade 5/6s call it) “makey-makey” projects.

Tammy Lee, another EC&I 831 classmate of mine, shared a very informative blog that she discovered via Google+. This blog is Turning and Learning on its Head, which includes the post, What if Your Child is in a Flipped Classroom? I thank Tammy for sharing this awesome resource, as it really explains how we have been “doing” school and homework backwards. Why send kids home with the hard questions if their notes are at home, their parents are at work (or don’t understand), their teachers are not around, and their classmates are all struggling with the same questions at home too?! When I think about it, this process really doesn’t make sense…

The flipped classroom can change all this! However, a flipped classroom does not always lead to flipped learning…

The Flipped Learning Network provides some incredible resources, success stories, and strategies that teachers can use so flipped learning does take place. So, how do we do this then? Let’s use the acronym, F-L-I-P!

1) Flexible Environment – In terms of my own Grade 5/6 class, I know I would have to do some moving around if I were to flip my classroom. My students’ desks are in straight rows that face a whiteboard at the front. Even though I facilitate project-based learning and group work from time to time, I admit that this is not always a focus in my classroom. With time restraints in place, as well as other school and out-of-school activities and commitments, it is not always easy to spend time on a project that could take hours of preparation time. But, like Andrew Foreman mentioned in his post, these are the types of projects that could be most engaging and, of course, make more time for actual inquiry-based learning projects! The doing, making, collaborating, and problem-solving!

2) Learning Culture – In the traditional classroom model, the teacher is visualized as the “be all, end all” of knowledge. If you were to ask any of my Grade 5/6s if I (Miss Degelman) am the “be all, end all” of knowledge, they would probably laugh. Not because I haven’t taught them anything, but because they are given so much time to explore and discover this knowledge both individually and, better yet, collaboratively. My students LOVE makey-makey projects! Even though our classroom is not flipped (we meet more of the “blended classroom” criteria), my Grade 5/6 students have been given many opportunities to explore tools and technology to build weather instruments, conduct research and use Kidblog during Genius Hour, and use the Android tablets to practice and set personal goals for reading comprehension.

3) Intentional Content – This takes me to my next point, which refers to the way direct instruction provides a smooth transition for students to discover and engage in hands-on experiences. In the case of the flipped classroom, how can instructional, take-home videos provide enough support so students are ready to fully participate in a full day of engaged, active practice of subject matter? In my Grade 5/6 class, I already differentiate instruction and assessment to tailor students’ individual learning needs. This does not change in a flipped classroom. Flipped learning can only occur if students are given the time, technologies, and support they need to be successful.

4) Professional Educator – Or rather, a flipped educator. It is difficult for flipped educators to even catch a break or find time to relax in a cozy office chair. Even though students are expected to be active members of the flipped classroom, the flipped educator is always moving to supervise learning, answer questions, provide feedback and support, and interact with the students in the process of their hands-on learning experiences. Flipped educators are also encouraged to interact with other flipped educators, to gain knowledge, feedback, ideas, and support.

And, of course, the flipped educator needs to continue to be…

Photo Credit: Alec Couros via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Alec Couros via Flickr cc

Twitter can help teachers stay connected with others – @FlippingTeacher, @flippedclassrm, @Flipped8thGrade, and @jonbergmann are great resources…

Speaking of Jon Bergmann, one of the developers of the flipped classroom model, I would like to encourage you to watch the following video to learn more! My question for you now is, what do you think of all this? Have you flipped your classroom or know of anyone who has? What was the result? Looking forward to hearing your stories!

“Flipped Learning allows you to personalize the learning of each child.” – Jon Bergmann


6 thoughts on “Don’t Like It? Flip It!

  1. Thanks for sharing the information. Years ago I moved to a blended classroom model – probably more of a sideways model which allowed for different types of facilitation and instruction in the planning to address the learning needs of students. Because it wasn’t always possible to have students access information online, incorporating the learning in the classroom while shifting the type of assignments and assessment that was done facilitated student learning without as great a need for students to be accessing information out of school. When flipping the classroom, some of the questions I continually struggle with are “How much of our student’s time can we expect them to devote outside of school? What is reasonable to expect for students to access outside of school? How could we do this differently so that there is little time outside of school?” I’m not against using such things as flipped learning per say and,if the learning is engaging and captures the student’s passion, students will pursue that learning on their own outside of school which might have us consider more deeply what is taking place in schools. You have shared some great ideas! Thanks, again, for sharing!


    • Those are questions that I still have too! Also, what if students do not have a computer at home? (I have one student whose family does not own a computer or DVD player.) What could he do to understand the concepts better at home?

      Thanks for reading!


  2. Your ending video and quote from Bergman drew me in as I was scrolling through your blog. Thanks for a better understanding of flipped learning. I thought flipped classrooms meant teachers posted things online and kids came in and did the work in class (one definition, I guess) but this explanation is so much richer. Thank you!


  3. Pingback: Please Tell Me A Story! | Justine Stephanson's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s