Flipping your classroom

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As students are moving back into the face to face model of teaching, it would be a huge disservice to them to simply return to ‘traditional’ teaching models and not harness the digital technology available that they were using whilst learning remotely. The flipped classroom method is one pedagogical approach that teachers could consider to continue to use with their students in order to buy back some of that valuable face to face time while still engaging with digital technologies.

It is important for teachers to understand that the flipped model is not just about the delivery of videos for students, but it is also about how to best use your in class time with students.

In order to guide teachers towards this outcome, there are four pillars to the flipped model. These are:

  • Flexible learning environments – by rearranging the physical and digital learning spaces, teachers are able to provide students with choice of when and where they access the information they need. There are now a huge range of tools that teachers can incorporate into their flipped classroom in order to create and distribute the content to students and then create unique activities within the class space once the students are face to face.
  • Learning culture – there is a shift from the traditional teacher-centered scenario to a more student-centered approach. This was one that was developed while students were learning from home. Students were required to become more independent in their learning, using the resources and technology that was available to them to interact with their subject content without the teacher always guiding them from the front of the classroom.
  • Intentional content – by evaluating the content that needs to be delivered, teachers are able to determine what can be taught outside the walls of the classroom ensuring that class time is maximised to allow students to explore other active learning strategies. There are some things that can translate well into the technology space and some that cannot, so it is important for the teacher to be able to identify those things that they can flip their classroom with vs the content that they still need to approach in a more ‘traditional’ way.
  • Professional educators – the flipped classroom approach requires teachers and other educators to be reflective and collaborative in their practice. Flipping the classroom can be a tough journey to navigate on your own, but there are plenty of resources available to support you and there are many teachers online who are more than willing to form professional learning networks with those exploring the flipped classroom.

 
As an educator, the increasing demands placed on teachers to try to meet the curriculum outcomes in ever decreasing amounts of time have been witnessed first-hand. It has been found that the flipped classroom is an excellent strategy that educators can employ to help them to overcome this issue. Simply teaching facts and delivering content is no longer plausible with content overload becoming a problem that all educators face. Within classes, there are many ways in which educators can allocate time, whether it be lecturing or active-learning exercises, but it is all bound by the amount of time available.

The flipped classroom model has been created as a pathway for teachers to move toward powerful learning and teaching strategies by leveraging the technology available to deliver lessons. With the introduction of the flipped classroom model, teaching focuses on moving the content that fits into the lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy out of the classroom and reserving class time for the higher order levels of creating, analysing and evaluating.

 

In a recent webinar hosted by Pivot Professional Learning and EP around student voice, the students who were present unanimously agreed that they enjoyed having access to highly engaging videos that they were able to watch at their own pace. It was also interesting to note that these same students also stated that they love traditional ‘face to face’ time with their teachers. This is where the balance between the use of technology and the increased levels of engagement and interactivity within the classroom space are important. Face to face time with students should be spent building relationships, pushing the students to achieve greater outcomes and working towards developing their understanding and skills in ways that are not usually achievable.

The flipped classroom is not a pedagogical strategy that is seeing teachers coming up with anything unheard of. The key is that educators are now leveraging the technology available to deliver instruction in a way that was not possible before. The flipped classroom approach takes part of the technology used at school and puts it into the home, leaving the classroom as a place for active rather than passive learning. By being more thoughtful and strategic in their content design and delivery, educators are able to be present with their students as a ‘guide on the side’ when their students are engaging with the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy rather than a ‘sage on the stage’ who is simply imparting knowledge to students through lecture alone.

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