How to implement the ‘flipped classroom’

Social Science/Language Arts/Humanities Classes

Social science instructors report using their extra time to discuss current events in light of the previous night’s instructional video. Others are finding time to delve deeply into original document analysis. There is more time to debate, give speeches, conduct pro se court, and discuss what students are learning more deeply and without having to worry about a deep conversation being interrupted by a bell. There’s plenty of time to write, write, write, and even more time to analyze and discuss each other’s writing through peer review.

Physical Education Classes

We have been surprised to hear that some of the teachers most excited about flipped classrooms were physical education teachers. This dynamic team of teachers realized the flipped class had great potential in their courses. They told us that the most important aspect of the physical education class is for their students to be moving. Physical education teachers report that they spend too much time teaching students things like the rules of games and some of the techniques. When teachers began making videos (with a video camera) of rules, students can come to class and quickly get to moving their bodies and participating in the important physical education activities.

For more on flipped learning, see:

Engaging Students with Flipped Learning

Project-Based Learning

Another concern is whether or not a flipped class is compatible with project-based learning. Again, we cheer yes. We love the idea of discovery-based learning driven by student interest. Most of us do not operate in an environment that allows for this, but educationally speaking, it is enticing and has great benefit. Picture a class driven by student-identified problems or interests. Students are exploring a real-world problem and developing solutions, and then suddenly realize that they need to know how to perform a particular mathematical function in order to execute their solution.

The teacher now faces a decision. Does she spend valuable class time teaching the entire class how to perform the appropriate math and risk boring the advanced student and losing the student who struggles? Or does she create an instructional video (or perhaps access an archived one) to give the students what they need, without sacrificing class time for direct instruction? Marrying the technological tools and asynchronous content delivery used in a flipped classroom with a student-directed approach to deciding what is learned can create an environment in which curiosity thrives. There is no need to spend time reintroducing concepts that are well-established and just need to be quickly presented and learned, or to use valuable class time to deliver new content.

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