Monday, January 11, 2016

Flipped Classrooms: Understanding the Technique

Flipped classrooms are big in education right now.  But what does it mean really?

A flipped classroom is one where the student gets the information traditionally presented in class at home via the computer.  This means the teacher provides students with video lectures, PowerPoints, etc as "homework."  Then, in class the following day, the student does hands on activities or practices the skills that were taught the night before.

The idea behind this format is that students should be working with the material while the expert, the teacher, is near. When we have students do homework etc without an expert nearby we can't catch their mistakes, re-teach on the fly, or assist them should questions arise.

Flipped classrooms are not just putting everything online. Online or blended courses are not inherently "flipped."  However, blended or hybrid courses do lend themselves to a flipped model quite easily.

I love the idea, but it takes time to build up a collection of videos and lectures.  So I've gone partially flipped.  Some of my lectures/lessons I provide online.  It's not as hard as you think.

There are a few tools I use.  One is just plain old PowerPoint. I record my voice over the slides right in the program and I upload the file for my students to view. Another option is to screencast your PowerPoint.  I use Screen-Cast-O-Matic online and it records everything on my screen and my voice.  This works well if you have presentations in PDF form.  You can also use this to show students how to use certain sites etc. And, sometimes, if I don't think they need a lot of side commentary from me I just provide them with the presentation itself or a handout to review.

I have recently bought a green screen and plan on trying to do some actual videos as well.

Once we're in class I may give a quick quiz on the information from the night before or a formative assessment and then we get to work.  I'm trying to have my students do more of their paper writing in front of me so I can catch mistakes early.

If you've written a blog post about how you've put your lectures/classroom activities online to be completed before you see your students face to face then please link up and tell us all more about how you've "flipped" your classroom.

Thanks for reading! 

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