7 Steps + 33 Resources: Is the Flipped Class Right for You?


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Today’s post is a follow up to Monday’s “4 Lessons from the First Semester of the Flipped Class.” As one of the year’s most-discussed teaching methods, we decided to further explore the hype behind the flip.

The modern classroom is the result of  brain-based research, long-accepted pedagogical practices and well-known learning theories. So, suggesting we “flip” all that causes a stir.

The word itself is enough to excite the disruptors and incite the traditionalists creating a fault line between supporters and detractors.

But, what if you’re neither? You’re just trying to sort through the fuss, and maybe…if it seems right…experiment with your own classes.

Sound like you? If so, explore, this step-by-step, clickable journey starting at the flipped classroom’s humble beginnings and ending, perhaps, with your own students.

Step #1: Understand it.

First, some history. In the words of flipped classroom pioneer and high school science teacher Jonathan Bergmann: “And then one day our world changed.”

Wired’s Geekdad reports the flipped classroom is not as new as we think. “For as long as we’ve been trying to help students learn,” says Dr. Laura Berry, “we’ve wanted students to take responsibility for their learning, and we want to use our time with them to work on the meatier stuff and deepen the learning.”

But, what is it, really? EDUCAUSE breaks it down into seven things you should know.

Some people question the practice.

Others equate it with Khan Academy, but there is a difference.

Author Cathy Davidson thinks that even though the flipped classroom is an improvement, it “…doesn’t come close to preparing students for the challenges of today’s world and workforce.” She suggests cartwheels instead.

Many are still deciding what they think and they appreciate the full picture.

In fact, if you’d like an actual picture, here you go.

And, if you’re not satisfied with this pithy explanation, here’s a “goldmine of research” to keep you busy.

Step #2: Read others’ flipped class stories.

Start with this marketing professor who “excises the lecture from the classroom and blows it to smithereens” — Bloom’s-Taxonomy-of-Learning style, of course.

Then, for a slower approach, check out this chemistry instructor’s story.

If you’re more interested in procedure, math professor Robert Talbert shares his.

Step #3: View video examples.

If you’re part of the science crowd, enjoy “How small is an atom?”

More of a grammarian? Settle in for  “Transitive and Intransitive Verbs.”

Human who have emotions (or humans who are utterly befuddled by emotions) can learn something here.

These videos range from professionally produced to personally produced; both have a place in the flipped classroom.

Step #4: Consult your PLN and a few others.

Join (or lurk around) the Monday night Flip Class Chat and discuss topics like, “What are some of the risks with flipping your class?” And, “What are some ways to implement a flip/mastery model with varied skill levels in one class?” According to a tweet from creator Brian Bennett, the August 27, 2012 chat generated 655 tweets from 80 individuals — the most yet.

Monitor the #flippedclassroom or #flippedclass hashtags on Twitter.

Or, ask 8,509 members of the Flipped Learning Network for more information.

Step #5: Create and curate content.

Flipped content (that viewed outside of the classroom) can be a variety of things, including presentations (Slideshare), collaborative documents (Google Docs), screencasts (Camtasia, Jing, Screencast-O-Matic) that you’ll upload (VimeoYouTube), or combination slides and audio (VoiceThread).

Of the many, many, many places to find quality content, here are five: TED-EdKhan Academy,  iTunes U and Fora.tv.

The most important thing is to curate well, and for that we suggest checking out eight tips for curation in education and Maria Popova’s Curator’s Code.

Step #6: Consider the other side of the flip: class time.

At the end of her “full picture” post, Jackie Gerstein does a thorough job of describing the experiential flipped classroom model with its “methods, strategies, and activities for the face-to-face and/or synchronous class time.”

Step #7: Test it with your students.

Again, we return to the advice of successful first-time flipper, Alan Earhart: start slow, give them a carrot, use “Jedi Mind Tricks” and count on making mistakes.

Did we leave something out? In the comments below, share the resources you think would make this a more complete “flipped class” journey.


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