Flipping Your Classroom

The 21st century is an exciting time to be a teacher, full of change and progress. Students today have more computing power on their smartphone than NASA scientists had access to when they put the first man on the moon! Technological advances have made it so that students have access to an unlimited amount of information in the palms of their hands. The main question for teachers becomes:

How do we maximize the use of this technology in a classroom setting?

If your students are taking to technology like ducks to water, it’s time to ask yourself, how can I be the mama duck here? One of the best ways to use students’ access to technology to increase learning and interactivity is to use a Flipped Learning model. 

What is Flipped Learning?

The Flipped Learning idea started with the concept that students should use classroom time to actively engage in activities that increase knowledge, rather than processing information for the first time. This means that students have a pre-knowledge of the day’s lesson by accessing content the day before in an individualized setting. Students are practicing what they learned in class, while the teacher coaches them through the activity. The main idea of a Flipped Learning environment is that students start a lesson with knowledge and questions about the topic they will be working on during the day. If you’re thinking that this sounds like homework at school and school at home, then you’ve got the basic idea of what Flipped Learning is.

What would it look like in a classroom?

First, let’s think of a typical morning in any classroom. The students come in, copy homework, turn in homework, and work on a bell ringer activity. After questions about homework, the teacher would dive straight into lecture time, then move on to a quick independent practice, before launching into the next topic. Sound familiar? This model keeps the focus of the lesson at the lecture the teacher is giving, instead of engaging students in working through concepts. In a Flipped Learning classroom, teachers and students may start the day with homework and bell ringers, but instead of moving into a lecture, they start with independent practice. The students are responsible for going through previously shared content and coming to class prepared to engage in an activity. The teacher’s role is to provide the students with information before the lesson and then to circulate in the room while the students work answering questions and clarifying any misconceptions.

Sounds interesting—How can I make this happen?

There are a few ways you can dip your toes into the Flipped Learning pool. One way is to use programs that allow you to provide students with content before the lesson, such as ClassFlow and Edmodo. With ClassFlow, teachers create assignments in which they can post messages, videos, YouTube links, websites, PowerPoints, ClassFlow lessons, and PDFs. Students can log into their accounts and access these resources from anywhere they have internet access. Teachers can use Edmodo to post similarly. A quick way to create customized recordings of PowerPoint lessons is by using PowerPoint’s built-in recorder. This will allow you to record your voice as you talk through each slide.

Author: Claudia Nogales started her career as a teacher for the Miami-Dade County Public school system in Florida. She has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Technology and Teacher Leadership. Claudia is passionate about education and helping others to grow and achieve their potential.