Introduced as a basic concept in 1993 by Alison King, the flipped learning model of teaching has evolved over the years and is now increasingly popular.
And it’s easy to see why. Experiments from educators around the globe have highlighted the significant impact the flipped classroom has on a child’s learning potential and resulted in many teachers trying to implement this model of education at their schools.
But what exactly is flipped learning? And why should you prioritise implementing it into your classroom?
This blog explains exactly how you and your school can drive positive results from implementing a flipped learning methodology to your class, alongside providing useful tips on ways you can use educational technology to further enhance active learning and deliver content more effectively.
What is flipped learning?
At its core, flipped learning is an instructional strategy which switches the traditional classroom model. When using a flipped classroom model, students complete lectures and any required reading materials before class begins, then use class time to discuss the material with teachers and their peers, solve relevant problems and engage in collaborative learning activities designed to hone their understanding of the material.
This is in complete contrast to the traditional learning model in which lectures are delivered in the classroom before additional tasks designed to make students’ understanding of the subject matter more concrete are assigned to complete outside the classroom.
The two approaches to teaching are easily contrasted using Bloom’s Taxonomy – while the traditional classroom focuses on developing the foundational aspects in the classroom before building on them outside, flipped classrooms allow students to develop those basics on their own time, before developing their understanding of higher cognitive work in the classroom with their peers.
A comprehensive flipped learning approach is typically focused around four key pillars:
Provide flexible environments
Enabling much more flexibility than traditional classroom models is a central part of an effective flipped learning implementation. As well as rearranging class spaces to accommodate group or individual learning, depending on the course content in question, implementing flipped classrooms provides more flexibility in terms of expectations for student’s learning and teacher assessment of this learning. You understand students learn at different speeds in different ways and empower them to work in the most effective manner for them. This combines to enable much more creative approaches to student development.
Flip the learning culture
You can’t just change key elements of how you deliver your classroom instruction and have everything work out perfectly – cultural change is required. An effective flipped classroom requires students are given the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities which don’t centre on the teacher, whose focus should be on ensuring activities are accessible for all students through differentiation and personalised feedback. Again, flexibility is key.
Develop intentional content
Teachers using a flipped classroom approach in their school constantly consider how their approach can be evolved to help students improve their understanding of a topic. You need to constantly review the subject matter to establish what’s best for e-learning compared to active learning, while curating a range of supplemental instruction resources designed to help students and ensure content is accessible for people of all abilities.
Observe and assess
In a flipped classroom, a teacher’s role is often more involved than in a traditional classroom. You’ll need to continually observe students during class time to enable you to provide timely, relevant feedback, but also know when to take a step back to enable more involved discussions and ‘controlled chaos’. Effective classroom management is vital.
This extends to yourself as a teacher – you’ll always be open to taking feedback from other educators and your students so you can continually improve your overall education outcomes and better adapt to different contexts when teaching.
The benefits of flipped learning
Proper implementation of a flipped learning strategy brings a range of benefits to your class:
Include all learning styles
Utilising classroom time for a more in-depth approach to reviewing the material, enables you to structure your lessons to include all student learning styles. Verbal learners will benefit from talking problems through with their peers, while solitary learners take advantage of the flexibility flipped learning provides by working through additional content at their own pace.
Improve communication skills
Unlike traditional teaching methods, which are often very one-way, flipped learning enables much more communication between both students and teachers. This helps students significantly improve their ability to both communicate with peers and superiors, and explain complex solutions. A skill which benefits them in more than just the classroom!
Build an understanding of the material
Traditional teaching methods can make it challenging for some students to develop a thorough understanding of a subject because they’re unable to do so on their own and there isn’t enough classroom time dedicated to helping with this, as you have to move forward and provide the base level of knowledge for your next module.
By moving this more in-depth part of the process to inside the classroom and focusing on more one-to-one time with your students, you enable students to develop a more comprehensive understanding of your subject matter, rather than simply memorising key facts for their next exams.
Develop a sense of personal responsibility
Empowering your class to engage in a more flexible approach to learning which better suits their strengths, provides them with a much greater sense of personal responsibility than traditional methods, in which they simply note down key points and move to their next lesson.
Increased student engagement with their learning on an intellectual level and feeling personally responsible brings out the best in your students by ensuring they’re more engaged with the overall learning process of the topic at-hand.
When you provide students with a structured time to discuss the topic in greater detail and engage in a wider range of activities designed to improve their understanding, you naturally increase student collaboration opportunities.
This enables students to talk through the problems with each other and help each other out in class – a student who has just developed an understanding of the material will often find a method of explaining it to their peers the average teacher wouldn’t think of! Thereby enhancing everyone’s understanding of the subject through a collaborative learning process.
Learn at the right pace
We all know students learn at a dramatically different pace. While two students can develop the same understanding of a topic, one may be able to apply concepts immediately while the other takes a few hours, and a different approach, to get there. In a traditional classroom this often isn’t possible and students can be reticent to bring up the fact they’re struggling to understand, meaning people often fall behind or lack understanding on specific aspects of your subject.
Implementing a flipped classroom approach enables students to review all materials in their own time and go back over them as necessary, while also actively providing them with opportunities to discuss key aspects they don’t understand during in-class activities. All this contributes to ensuring students develop at a pace which is right for them and don’t either get bored or feel left behind.
Increase one-to-one time
With students coming into your lesson having studied the basics via online instruction, they’re focused on working together to enhance their learning This leaves you free to increase your one-on-one time with specific students requiring extra support, allowing you to focus on building your relationship with students and help those who need it most, rather than being concerned with explaining concepts to the class as a whole.
Using technology to build your flipped classroom
There’s a variety of ways to use technology to build your flipped classroom, many of which will be unique to your students and their specific needs. Common methods of using technology to help implement a flipped classroom model include:
Create and share videos
Easily record all lectures and make them available to students at any time. Promethean ActivPanel interactive displays have a screen and video recorder which make it easy to capture anything you do on your screen alongside audio narration and save the file to be shared later.
You just need to click a button and record before uploading your video to have it available for current and future students to refer to as needed. You could integrate creating the videos into your current teaching methods as a slow transition to a flipped classroom, or take some time on your own to record video content which will last for years in bulk to enable a swift transition.
However, you choose to approach this, properly utilising your interactive whiteboard makes creating an in-depth bank of short video lectures and sharing existing videos simple.
Develop online learning resources
Tests and quizzes are a great way for students to test their understanding of a subject and teachers to develop an understanding of where their students require additional support. Integrated whiteboard technology helps you develop a variety of fun quizzes for students which help them build their knowledge, provide instant feedback and deliver you real-time insights on where you could better help your students.
Enable asynchronous conversations
Learning Management Systems and common tools like Google Docs make it easy for students to continue to discuss the lesson and collaborate outside the classroom.
Sometimes, questions and misunderstandings arise at unique times and often go forgotten about by the time they can be answered, leading to a gap forming in a students’ knowledge. Tools which enable asynchronous conversation allow a student to continue their education and ask a question at any time, knowing it will be answered soon.
Engage students with interactive classroom activities
Whether you want students to present to the class or you like using games to provide additional opportunities to engage in interactive lessons and develop their problem solving skills, flipped learning technology makes the process simple.
Bring in the experts
Bringing guest speakers and other resources into your classroom is often not possible. The expense of compensating them and time spent to align schedules, on top of your standard day-to-day activities, is often too much for schools. This no longer needs to be the case.
There is now a variety of experts providing their expertise in instructional videos online which are available for free or a much more achievable price than an in-person visit. On top of this, you can play a video any time you like, show it to different classes and allow students to review the video at will. This means students gain an enhanced understanding of key topics by supplementing their education with lessons from world-renowned experts from the comfort of their home or classroom.
Get the most out of your class with interactive whiteboards and software
Whatever way you want to teach your students, keeping them involved in the process is important. When your students come to a classroom and feel like an active participant, it’s only going to help. Promethean creates world leading interactive displays designed with the classroom in mind. Not only that, but we set the standard on educational software to help you get the most out of your smart technology. Interested in learning more? Visit the virtual demo page to request a live demo of the Promethean interactive display