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Flipped learning and how to implement it

By Sam Di Sano on 18 April 2018UKstaffroomFlipped learningInnovation

Like me, no doubt many other educators have read and experienced the best and worst advice when it comes to the benefits of implementing various pedagogies. Flipped models are no different. In amongst the best advice, I read some tips on the “why”, the “how” and an overview for success.

The overarching goal for educators when evaluating teaching and learning outcomes must be to focus on how to move your classroom from a passive learning environment to an active one.

Here are 4 key tips to help in that paradigm shift:

1. Access

The Office for National Statistics reports that 90% of all households in Great Britain had internet access in 2017, (up from 89% in 2016, and 57% in 2006), while 73% of adults accessing the internet “on the go’ using a mobile/smartphone. So while access appears not to be an issue for the vast majority, we nevertheless still have to think about home access to technology, alternative access during school time, use of smartphones and how to involve parents in homework culture in order to engage all students.

2. Know how to watch a video

Training students in the judicious and effective use of the video platform is an important skill to master. Doing so ensures the activity will be an active process engaging and stimulating the cognitive and emotional senses. One of the gurus of flipped learning, Jon Bergmann, often states that it’s not about the videos - “‘flipped learning’ is about all the things you can do in class instead of learning the content … you don’t just watch a video, he says, but you interact with it on so many levels.” Powerful stuff!

3. Put a line through perfection

As teachers we are in the business of creating and delivering effective learning tools, not Hollywood blockbusters. One of the chief distractions in acquiring or creating video resources is the unfounded belief that it has to be worthy of a Tropfest award. The emphasis should be on choosing or creating appropriate resources that give teachers feedback on activities and help plan for subsequent follow-up lessons. That’s where Atomi comes into its own and can value-add to your classroom experience - short, sharp, punchy videos delivered how students learn and want to learn; portable, engaging, visual and deadly succinct, created by young people for young people.

4. Start small

Consider the academic ability of your students and their capacity to work independently. Some may need more scaffolded learning, support from peers, or a guided introduction to online resources from the teacher. One of the key benefits of flipping the way you teach is that you leave all that class time for individual support, yet one of the mistakes teachers often make is creating more work for themselves by complicating the process. Flexibility and adaptability are the key - plan lessons in response to student feedback and progress. Modify them and change tact if necessary, remember flipped learning may not always be the best way to teach a particular topic, or subject, or class.

Remember

While an active learning environment is the goal for many educators, it is true we are still not engaging students enough and they remain trapped in a passive paradigm.

“Active learning is the grand meta-principle”, according to Berkeley’s Dr Patricia Cross. “Active learning has emerged as the foundation of all good instruction and flipped learning is the simplest path to achieving it.”

A flipped model, structured correctly with an explicit student-centred approach, can be the gateway to those deeper learning strategies many of us have not employed since our practicum days when we were prepared to take risks and experiment. The end result offers the possibility of more student ownership over their own learning, improved results and a deeper engagement and understanding.

A flipped environment in today’s society is closer than perhaps we have ever been to having teachers teach the way students learn.

References

Straw, S., Quinlan, C., Harland, J. and Walker, M. (2015). “Flipped Learning - Research Report.” London: Nesta.

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