Recipes to implement the Flipped Classroom strategy in your class

Written by Manuel Jesús Fernández

Maybe you have heard about the “flipped classroom”. It’s quite the fashion among teachers right now, just like active classroom methodologies, like Project Based Learning or Gamification.

Using the flipped classroom methodology has many implications for your classroom, the most important of which, we are going to dive into now:

Flipping your classroom makes the student the key player of the learning process. He or she becomes the protagonist: they investigate, debate, create, etc.

It personalizes learning. By developing different activities in the classroom and giving them autonomy, students can work at different rhythms according to their skills.

It improves focus on diversity. The teacher stops explaining the same stuff for all the students and can focus on the ones that have more difficulty, who can also be aided by the other students who have already understood the general theory.

Mix formal and informal learning. This is one of the biggest problems in schools: we need to take into account the student’s context. We need to use technology and social networks for teaching, and make it possible to learn both inside and outside class.

Flip INSIDE the class. In sum, the flipped classroom efficiently uses the classroom time for authentic learning. To do that, we need to develop several classroom activities.

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Let’s talk about 4 memorable experiences that I have shared with my students:

Quick explanations

I get each student to explain a small part of the subject in class, and the rest take notes of his or her explanations and the teacher’s tips. This helps to improve attention, allows them to answer each other’s questions and gives them responsibility over their learning process.

Cooperative work

We have also used the cooperative learning strategy for lessons in which every group divides their work among its members and each one becomes an expert of that specific field they have to prepare.

When an expert has prepared his or her topic and has their own “Expert Document”, he or she meets with the experts of the same topic in the different groups and they compare their findings, creating a Synthesis Document to be shared with each expert and the teacher.

Then, the experts go back to their original groups and explain their topic. The group creates a Group Document. Once each expert has explained their part, they make a presentation or a video to explain the whole subject to the rest of the class.

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BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

To mix formal and informal learning and to use technology in a normalized manner in the classroom brings something else: the necessity for the students to use their own devices to learn. My students create materials like videos and mobile apps, they evaluate each other and take part in WhatsApp debates. This is where using digital interactive workspaces is the key to collaborating. Students can upload material in a shared workspace, they can contribute to the creation of content and can learn from other’s work.

#TweetTopic

Another interesting activity for students is the #tweettopic, which means to sum up the subjects in different tweets. This allows them to learn, as well as to create small “learning pills” in the net for anybody who wants to use them.

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Tools

In order to develop a learning process that is both current and permanent. We have a lot of different options, which can be a little bit overwhelming. In order to do this, we need to think about our available resources. I recommend to use a few useful tools, like:

  • Digital portfolios like Padlet
  • Evaluation and gamification tools like Kahoot
  • Apps to create content that are familiar to the students like VivaVideo
  • An interactive workspace to collaborate, Beneylu School

The students can prepare their classroom presentations through videos. They just have to record their explanations about a historical event and illustrate them with images. We can then upload the videos in our interactive workspace where we can share feedback and collaborate.

Evaluation

We are missing one key element: the evaluation. If we want to strengthen the autonomy of our students, we need to evaluate what they have done in the classroom, the process, the participation, the final product, their explanation of the latter and the overall learning.

We can give more autonomy to our students if we let them evaluate each other. For example, we can divide them into group and make a “Trivial” contest. The students of one team ask questions to another. A third team evaluates their answers.

In sum, the “flipped classroom” offers a change in the education focus that creates the necessity of designing new activities that allow the students to take over their own learning and to use the classroom time efficiently.

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Bottoms up! Ready to flip your classroom?

You’re first step? Evaluate your digital tools and establish a digital workspaces to collaborate on.

Manuel Jesús Fernández - http://manueljesus.es

Social Science professor. I am interested in teaching innovation; as well as the new strategies and methodologies that allow our students to become the key players of their learning process. I coordinate the flippedEABE community in Google+. I have been a lecturer in the Flipped Classroom course at the UIMP in Santander. I also managed the course ``Flipped Classroom, vuelve tu clase del revés!`` at the UIMP in Valencia.