Our final workshop of Magic Monday 3 was the second joint production we’ve had by our Science and MFL departments, following a superb workshop at Magic Monday 2 on F.A.I.L………..S.A.I.L. by Simon Thompson and Michael Caygill. This time though, the honour fell to Heads of Department Julie Ryder and Lee Ferris.
What is the flipped classroom?
Traditionally, new learning and instruction will take place in the classroom, with homework set afterwards for students to consolidate learning that is then completed out of class.
In the flipped classroom, students undertake some of their learning before the lesson via a set of preparatory tasks that they complete. These can then be built on further in the classroom, as well as freeing up additional time for interacting with students and clarifying any misconceptions they may have. Students can review their preparatory tasks before the lesson at their own pace as many times as they wish and have the opportunity to discuss their learning at home with family members in advance of the lesson.
As a keen advocate of SOLO taxonomy, Julie’s aim when flipping her classroom is to always try to move her students to the relational or extended abstract levels of understanding. Flipped learning supports this by building some of the factual knowledge required to demonstrate multi structural understanding before the lesson. The time spent in class can then be dedicated to supporting students to apply their understanding. You can read more about SOLO in one of Julie’s previous posts here.
The flipped classroom in action
Julie and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit colleague Jon Tait at Woodham Academy just after Christmas to watch his flipped classroom in action. Jon had been flipping his GCSE PE classroom for a term with considerable impact, which you can read all about here. Thanks to Jon, we were able to gain a valuable insight into the process from someone with greater experience of flipping their classroom. It also allowed Julie to really hit the ground running when she trialed it with her own classes.
Julie has been flipping her classroom for half a term now. She advised us not to flip our class every lesson initially to make the process more manageable and to enable a bank of resources to be built up steadily.
In true flipped class fashion, Julie asked us to look at the following slides and video a few days before her workshop:
Preparatory tasks are set for students in a similar way, with students using the Cornell note taking method advised by Jon to organise their work and record any questions they may have. You can watch Jon’s video on effective flipped learning note taking here.
Julie often starts a flipped lesson with a silent discussion. Each group is given a different stimulus to record their initial ideas and views based on the pre-task, which is then followed up by a carousel. The carousel gives students an opportunity to view and comment on the work of others, adding any additional information they think has been missed. It also provides additional ideas and information that they can use to improve their own work.
This is usually followed up with class discussion and questioning using Julie’s home-made dice that prompt students to:
- A gree B uild on or C hallenge a response made by their classmate.
- Ask a question that requires a classmate to describe, explain, justify….etc.
- Answer a question pitched at a particular SOLO level.
Finally, students are then asked to apply their understanding at an extended abstract level through an extended written response, for example by considering the ethics and morals of stem cell research.
We then heard how Lee he has been using Edmodo to flip his classroom.
Edmodo is a free tool that has allowed Lee to communicate with students in a controlled way with the added appeal of a social networking site that looks and feels a lot like Facebook.
Students like that they can communicate with their teacher and ask for help, as well as being able to chat with each other about their work and provide support to each other.
It also allows students to use the sort of technology they might already be using out of class or in the future in a way that supports their learning.
Lee makes his own videos and uploads them to his class Edmodo account. Here’s an example of a video Lee has used with his Year 8 German class:
By sharing videos in advance, all the listening and repeating can be done before the lesson, leaving time in class to focus on higher order content and skills.
As well as sharing videos, Lee also sets online quizzes or vocabulary tests in class to ensure that students view and use the videos. A big advantage of setting the quizzes online using Edmodo is that they can be marked, stored in a grade book and analysed automatically, saving valuable time in the process.
Resources can also be uploaded so that any absentees can access lesson materials outside of the normal class times.
The benefits of flipping your classroom
- Providing information in advance allows students the time they need to think, discuss, ask questions and seek further information.
- This in turn can help to build confidence, especially for students who don’t like to be put on the spot or want additional time to think.
- By allowing time for students to build confidence in the lesson content they are in a stronger position to be able to share their ideas. The chances of securing a “no opt out” classroom increase as a result.
If you are interested in flipping your classroom and would like to find out more you might also like to check out this book by Bergmann and Sams, which is available from our Teaching and Learning library in our Learning Resource Centre.