Four steps to flipping the classroom

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor
January 30th, 2013

Flipping the classroom can have a dramatic impact, with the right steps.

The flipped classroom, in which students watch a video explaining a particular lesson or topic at home and then come to school prepared to complete assignments related to that lesson or discuss the topic in class, is gaining ground. But how, exactly, can educators go about flipping the classroom?

Merely taking a lesson and flipping it won’t ensure success, said Shannon Holden, a middle and high school teacher and administrator in North Dakota, Texas, and Missouri for 20 years. Holden also is an adjunct instructor at Lindenwood University and Missouri State University, as well as an online instructor at the University of North Dakota and the University of the Pacific.

During an edWeb webinar, Holden outlined four basic steps that educators can take to ensure that their flipped classroom experiments are successful and resonate with students.

First, teachers should choose a topic that can be explained in 15 minutes or less. The flipped classroom approach works best with topics that students can understand relatively well on their own. Teachers can use a variety of free resources to create and upload videos of their lessons, or they can turn to free, existing videos that explain their chosen topic.

Holden walked teachers through an example of video creation using aTube Catcher. Sites that offer free resources for educators to use when flipping the classroom include Sophia, Khan Academy, YouTube EDU, TeacherTube, Brightstorm, Discovery Learning, WatchKnowLearn, and TED-Ed.

(Next page: More steps to effectively flipping the classroom)

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9 Responses to “Four steps to flipping the classroom”

I just recently learned about flipped classrooms and I think it’s a great idea. What a wonderful time for capitalizing on learning time in class. I would love to try it.
January 30, 2013

Ms. Laura Devaney:
Thanks for your article on flipping the classroom. I enjoyed it and the resources to which it led.

I am “beginning small” with my church with a product based idea that has great promise. The prooduct is a word game (QUE IT) that makes logic visible and fun to learn. This product borrows from the wisdom used to get children to exercise. Instead of telling them to “Go excercise!”, we ask them to play a sport or game they enjoy.

Playing QUE IT gives students an overview of logic skills and strategies to be successful logicians. After this overview, I can employ the cognitive apprenticeship model (Brown, Collins), and model, coach, scaffold, fade, and prove student sucess. At the end of the course (a semester) students can write and articulate their understanding of inductive and deductive reasoning.

I think this basic understanding of logic should be a prerequsite for any study of advanced mathematics or science courses. How can students be expected to suceed in courses that demand logic if they are not taught how logic works?

This effort will hopefully end that practice. I’ll kep you abreast if you are interested. In any event, thank you for the information you provided. It should accelerate my efforts. Bill

Help Wanted: Public School Teacher. Requirements: Applicant must be able to write, produce, direct, perform, edit and publish high quality live and animated video. Applicant must own and be licensed to carry a hand gun and be trained and certified in defensive guerrilla combat. Applicant must be trained, qualified, and licensed to identify, diagnose, and treat all known psychological disorders affecting children and parents. Applicant must have a working knowledge of computer hardware and network design, installation, repair, and administration. Applicant must have a commercial drivers license and demonstrate competence in handling a school bus. Applicant must be able to design and manage a charitable giving program to fund all classroom expenses. Content area knowledge preferred, but not required. Salary $22,000.

February 1, 2013

Enjoyed reading your comment, ctdahle — it’s important to keep all educational strategies and fads in perspective: “It’s a tool in your toolbox” as Holden is quoted, and this holds true for most everything. Teachers will have to determine if it’s an effective tool for themselves and their students. What I like a lot about flipping is that a teacher can flip just one lesson to start, learn from that experience, and let the results they see and lessons they learn guide them from there. I hope it’s a strategy that more teachers experiment with, as I’ve heard of some awesome results, but I also hope that it never moves into the realm of “district-required” methodology or anything like that…

And when during my day of working with students, recess duty, calling/meeting with parents, correcting papers, planning units, etc… will I have time to plan, rehearse, record watch, edit and post this 15m lecture?

    Hi, lizke. You could start with leveraging one of the many resources that are already available, such as YouTube EDU or Khan Academy. 15 minutes is actually a bit long for a flipped lesson — I’d go with more like 5 to 10 minutes at the most. And you could record yourself on a smart phone, tablet or web cam; no fancy equipment or editing skills necessary.

    In the short-term, flipping is a classroom time saver, (it really IS easier to be a “guide on the side,” working with students who need help rather than trying to get an entire class to pay attention to a lecture) and ultimately a teacher time-saver as you build a library of content that you re-use.

Using the iPad and an app such as Explain Everything allows a teacher to make a video to teach a basic concept or an advanced one without a full computer. Then, the struggling students can be allowed to view the basic concept videos and complete extra practice over that topic until they master it while the students who need more challenging material can be working on enrichment. Both assignments can be worth the same points in the grade book, assigned based on the needs of the student. This allows us to truly differentiate instruction while keeping the interest of all students. It will require more technology in schools, either iPads, Android tablets or computers, and will require a teacher to be a true master of the classroom, but is best for some students. But I don’t know that I’d do it for what my former district paid.

    Hi wilkcd,

    I was so interested to read your comment about Explain Everything. Do you use this personally, and it is relatively easy to use? Or do you know teachers who’ve easily learned how to use it? I am recruiting teachers to develop video lessons and this tool may be extremely helpful. Currently, we are using Camtasia Studio. Thanks for any advice!

      March 23, 2013

      I recently started using Explain Everything and LOVE it. It’s inexpensive ($3), but has a ton of great features. My personal favorite is that I can import multi-page PDFs for which I want to annotate and record explanations. I also love that it’s hooked up with DropBox…as well as Google Drive/Docs(I believe), Evernote, Etc. There are a lot of great “how to” videos on YouTube showing you how to make use of the app. I highly recommend it.