Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flipping the Classroom: Tips and Tools

I have been researching the ‘flip the classroom’ concept and consequently have been experimenting with tools that might facilitate that flip all while participating in the "CLMOOC" and the Morehead Online Summer Writing Project Institute. While there are many sources that discuss the pros and cons of the flipped classroom, I have discovered some of the main ideas that are important when considering the flip design.

  1. Keep it simple to start. Choose one class or even one lesson/ unit to flip.  See how it goes, reflect on the good and bad, even poll your students to see what worked for them and what didn’t. There is no need to test your sanity by trying to flip your entire classroom for the year.
  2. Pare your typical lecture down to what is most important. I like to talk. A lot.  And I suppose most educators do, but what I find is that I talk too much and if I had stopped or narrowed my ideas, it would have cost less time.  Take a look at your lecture and decide what is most important to get across. This forces us to really analyze what we present to our students to get it to more digestible, "bite sized" chunks of material.
  3. Accountability- What will you have your students do once they have viewed or read the flipped assignment? A journal entry, questions to answer, questions they still have, even an online quiz. There are many ideas as to what you  might have your students do to show they actually completed the flipped assignment. They can bring this product to class to add to discussion or gain points for completion.
  4. Assessment- The flipped classroom may involve more assessment than usual. You might assess them at home following the flipped assignment. Then the next day, you assess them again to see what they gleaned and what is still confusing. You can group them to work on those confusing points and assess students for that point only. Regardless of how you assess, the main idea that I saw that worked is that following the lesson, you assess students (clickers or student response systems work best). You can see immediate results and can tailor that day’s instruction accordingly.
  5. In-depth follow-up lessons for the classroom- After you have assessed student understanding, it’s time to dive into the lessons. What lessons, activities or collaborative work do you want your students to do with the basic information they gained from the previous flipped lesson? Providing collaborative work also allows students to help each other and if you have that student who refuses to partake in the flipped assignment, you can have them watch the flipped assignment in class or form a small group with the teacher, while the rest of the class is doing the collaborative or higher level work.
What Tools Are Available for the Flipped Classroom?
Jing- offers a great recording device- it allows you to video your computer screen while talking. You can record up to five minutes for free before you have to purchase the product itself. The finished recording provides a link that you can post for student access. No one can change it or delete it, they can only view it.
PowToons- A really fun video program where you can create videos for students on any topic of up to five minutes each. Like Jing, a link is provided for student access. You can also share the video to Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter. One other option is that you can actually embed the video!  Sophia was pretty easy to use. You can create tutorials or playlists. Playlists basically takes many resources already made and places them in a progression for students to follow. Sophia also allows you to create classes for students to enter via a code, much like Edmodo.  I like Sophia best for the tutorial option. You can pull up an image or reading and create up to five minutes of voice over- recording your voice for a short lecture. You can also add other materials such as embedded videos from Youtube, PDF’s etc.

Mine below was my first try so it isn’t very in-depth. It is a basic lecture about the parts of a paragraph meant for my lowest students as a refresher. I was able to use the graphic I always use, record my voice discussing it, I found a fun song on Youtube about the parts of a paragraph (pulling in my musical students) and I ended the lesson with a PDF of a paragraph from bad to better and an assignment at the end. I also really liked Sophia because I am able to create a multiple choice quiz related to the material my students just viewed. The results of the quiz comes directly to me within the Sophia site.

BlendSpace – I think of all that I’ve tried this summer, Blendspace is one I like the very best. I can access materials from many sources to produce a play list of activities, reading materials and viewing delights for my students. Like Sophia, I can create classes and have students use a code to enter. I can access Google, OpenEd, Gooru, Flickr and many other online sources for materials and images.  I can also upload a document and insert a quiz and the site autosaves as I go.  The results of the quiz come to me within Blendspace for quick referral as well as other feedback from student use.

Teacher Dashboard to view quiz results, student feedback, etc.

 Take a look at my Blendspace creation below- You can share the video about the same way as PowToons with the addition of a QR code to access the Blendspace lesson and you can share the lesson to Edmodo. Yes, Edmodo! Since I use Edmodo, I was very excited about that!  

There are many other venues in which to flip the classroom. Educanon and Edpuzzle (where you can insert multiple choice questions throughout a video. The video pauses and the question and answer choices come up for students to answer.), Nearpod that is very much like Sophia. and the more familiar venue of Edmodo, and so many others. No one tool will perform the same purpose so it's important to play around to see which ones suit you best.

For a full article on findings about the Flipped Classroom Technique see:Flipping the Classroom  

Are you flipping the classroom? What tools and strategies do you use?