Flipped Classrooms and Video Supported Learning

Lisa Jacobs, Instructional Technology Specialist 

Young boy in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smilingThe basic concept of a flipped classroom is taking what normally happens during the school day such as lecture and flipping it with traditional homework.  Students are viewing videos outside of class time so there is more time for practice problems, class discussion, and higher levels blooms activities during the school day.  Students can also watch the video multiple times for review and absent students can access the lectures online.  There has been an increased interest in flipped learning especially as high schools become 1 to 1 settings.

It is not intended to teach a full lesson in the videos.  Flipped learning videos should be no longer than 10-15 minutes, pose questions where students pause the video, include class discussion pages, and develop questions to bring back to class.  The content may include an introduction to a topic, define new key terms, or build background knowledge.

Popular sites for pre-made videos include Khan Academy, TED-Ed, and Sophia.  There are also many videos available through the Great Prairie AEA media center.  If creating your own videos, there are tools such as Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia, and SnagIt.  If a teacher (or student) wants to create a custom video to share with others, they can use their phone, iPad, or computer to capture the video and upload it to YouTube or EduVision. Many teachers prefer using EduVision to avoid commercials and content that may be inappropriate for students.  Video hosting sites such as EduVision and YouTube provide a link to the uploaded video that teachers can post on their class website.  If you would like to have an EduVision channel where you can upload and manage your own videos, please send an email to me at lisa.jacobs@gpaea.org.

Disadvantages of flipping a classroom would be lack of a computer and/or internet access at home and increased time students spend sitting in front of their computer at home. Initially, it will also require more teacher preparation time to locate or create videos.  A common topic of conversation around flipped learning is what to do if students do not watch the videos.  Some teachers provide incentives for students to watch the video and prepare for class.  They may embed quiz questions in the video for students to turn in at the beginning of class or submit by email.  Another option is to have a short writing assignment about what they learned in the video or questions they still have about the concept.  The class could also be structured with time for students to watch the short videos during class before moving on to collaborative activities.

Is the “flipped classroom” and “flipped learning” a fad? Much of the research has been small studies and the definitions of flipped classrooms vary.  On the Flipped Learning Network Website http://flippedlearning.org, there are four pillars established to distinguish between simply flipping a classroom and achieving flipped learning.  It is my belief that gaining knowledge by accessing videos on the internet will become established as both a personal and professional way of learning.  If you have a new piece of software or want to learn how to use something new like Google Classroom, it is easy to search for a tutorial about exactly what you want to learn.  It is just as easy to contribute to the world of learning by posting your own videos.

This teacher’s blog post “The Flip: End of a Love Affair” is a great explanation of flip’s gradual disappearance from her classroom.  “The flip’s gradual disappearance from our learning space hasn’t been a conscious decision: it’s simply a casualty of our progression from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered one.”  When she was asked, “So the videos — did you make your own, or use ones that someone else had made?” My immediate thought was, “you don’t get it.” I was candid: “If you think it’s only about the videos, then you have a really shallow definition of what this could be. The real power is when students take responsibility for their own learning.”  Here is a link to the blog post http://plpnetwork.com/2012/10/08/flip-love-affair/

The GPAEA Technology team and your school technology staff can help with the technical aspects of implementing technology changes including the use of video in your classroom. Hopefully, this article helps you realize it is not just about how to implement the technology, but also the impact it can have on student learning.  The effectiveness of flipped learning depends on what is done in the classroom after direct instruction has been removed.

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