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Working the Flipped Classroom

Rob Eastment, Firefly Client Experience Manager and former Assistant Head at Duke of Kent School, shares his own experience on how he introduced Flipped Learning to his Physics lessons.

The use of technology is changing the landscape of the world around us and education is no exception. The ‘Flipped Classroom’ is an exciting innovation which has grown with students’ and teachers’ increasing use of the online environment.

Step 1: Decide what you will use

Whatever approach you decide on, its important to choose something that suits you and your students; if you’re going to make it work, you must feel comfortable with what you’re using. This could be videos, notes, mindmaps, whatever will work best for you.

Step 2: Decide where you are going to upload your material? How do your students get hold of them?

Again, you need to find something that suits you and your students. If you have a VLE at your school then that would be a good approach; this will have the advantage of being a route that your students are already familiar with. Alternatively, you could use iTunesU or if you are using videos, then simply upload to YouTube or Vimeo and give the students a link to the video.

The most important thing is to make sure your material can be accessed on multiple devices. Students are more likely to take to flipped learning if they can get hold of material on a device they use regularly.

Step 3: Start making your material

Make sure that your resources cover the essential points and are engaging for your students. If you’re making videos they need to be short, to the point and entertaining. In this situation, more is definitely less - don’t let flashy transitions and animations get in the way and distract from the material.

If you don’t want to perform on video, use screen-casting applications like Explain Everything, Vittle or QuickTime. They record your movements on screen and your narration. These are great for working through diagrams and graphs for example. Finally, decide how long you want your videos to be, longer videos for older students and shorter for younger.

Step 4: Introduce the flipped classroom to your students and parents

This can take time and is the most important part of the process. Spend a session with your students teaching them how to watch a video, make notes and write down any questions that they might have.

It is also important to ensure that parents realise what is happening as they will notice that homework has changed. Get them involved from an early stage so that they feel part of the process and understand that they can help their children get used to it.

Step 5: Keep going!

Flipped learning takes time to embed in the classroom, but don’t give up. Once it has taken root in your classes, it will be hugely beneficial. To start with, try flipping one lesson, one subject or one class for a short time and see what the impact has been on you and your students.

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