What is a flipped classroom? Typically, the term is used to describe teacher recorded lessons viewed by students at home, followed by assignments and assessments that allow students to apply the theories and concepts learned in the videos. Sounds like students are teaching themselves, but what it really means, is students have the opportunity to deepen learning through engaging with the material before they come to class, thereby, creating a flexible classroom where the student and teacher can easily identify any gaps that need to be connected.
I had the opportunity to visit Melinda Wraith’s math classroom at Pickering High School, where she has set up her flipped class using Google Classroom. Melinda uses a document camera to record her lessons in bite-sized chunks and posts them to her Google Classroom. Students are required to access the lessons at home and come prepared the next day to spend more time on higher-order thinking skills. Doing so allows for Melinda to have more one-on-one time in class for students to ask questions and enrich their understanding of the course content.
Melinda originally got the inspiration for the philosophy of the flipped classroom when she watched some of the Khan Academy’s videos of teachers completing specific math problems. She knew she could easily post the Khan Academy videos to Classroom, but realized the students appreciated the personal approach of her making her own videos. I contacted Melinda after 6 weeks of implementing the flipped classroom to inquire how the students were doing, she replied with:
It’s been going extremely well. Kids that were totally checked out before are actually watching the videos and filling in the lesson template AND doing work in class!
I learned that a flipped classroom should be viewed a philosophy instead of a method. It’s important to remember that teacher – student communication is extremely important when implementing a flipped environment. Small tweaks along the way will be necessary and taking a personal approach is always appreciated by students. Making videos can feel awkward at first, but it gets easier along the way and in the end you have a library of curriculum-based content to use in years to come. Find your style, have fun and go for it!