What does it mean to flip your classroom?

There isn’t any rocket science behind flipping your classroom, by flipping we mean, stop ‘chalking and talking’ in your classroom and become a youtube sensation outside the classroom. Before you know it, you have bought yourself a huge chunk of time you could never seem to find  between a huge curriculum and co curricular commitments of students who usually choose PDHPE.

Generally flipping the classroom can be done in two ways, you can create your own using various video creation apps or you can outsource videos from YouTube, Kahn Academy and Click View etc.

As Mark Frydenberg of the Huffington Post notes, “It is not a ‘one size fits all’ model.” He points out that every classroom is different, with different levels of access to technology, different levels of motivation on the part of the students, and different technological know-how on the part of the instructors. Additionally, teachers must re-learn how to act as the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”—and that takes time.

There are 7 different models which are identified below. Personally I find myself doing a mixture of the 7, depending on the content, students and class size. I strongly believe there is no one ‘perfect’ model.

  1. The Standard Inverted Classroom: Students watch the videos at home and then a tradition classroom approach is still applied. however the teacher has more one to one time with students.’
  2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom:  Students watch videos and take notes for homework. During class time the lesson is heavily focused around discussion.
  3. The Demonstration-Focused Flipped Classroom: Teachers create demonstration videos which are shown during class – this is popular with science and maths courses. This allows students to work at their own pace without the teacher having to give multiple sets of instructions.
  4. The Faux-Flipped Classroom: The videos and notes are take during class time, this can be done for younger students and when the teacher is away.
  5. The Group-Based Flipped Classroom: Students watch the videos and make notes for homework. During class time they will work as a group on a lesson task or assessment tasks relevant to the recent video.
  6. The Virtual Flipped Classroom: This approach is effective for distance education where a teacher may have limited face to face time with the students. The content and lessons are managed through LMS.
  7. Flipping The Teacher: Videos are created by students to peer teach and ‘teach the teacher’ – be careful with this one – ensure that videos are maintained in the LMS rather than posting to youtube – depending on your schools social media policy.

Why Flip in Stage 6?

The Stage 6 PDHPE course is very content heavy, I personally struggle teaching from a text book and writing on the board. Flipping content can be a challenging and time consuming task. Flipping a stage 6 course goes against the grain and is often outside the stereotypical style of teaching stage 6 – teach the content, practice questions for homework.

I present you the ‘A Team’ a class of 14, varied abilities, 11 boys and 3 girls without getting into the specifics I have one student learning the life skills syllabus and several on learning profiles. Initially the class was a struggle – I had all the ‘lads’ who were stinging for a practical lesson and in no way ready to put pen to paper. During semester one  it was a struggle to get through content as most students failed to write at least a paragraph let alone even be able to apply this content.

Flipping my classroom was a bit of secret hope for saving my passion for teaching and gaining control of my classroom. At first they loved the concept of having their own videos – mind you there was more watching than note taking. There were and still are alot of learning curves in the initial stages, as a class we developed consequences and expectations like any usual classroom in order for the flipping to work. I gave the students one term of flipping to decide if it was for them. I think they were shocked to be saying 5 months later that they actually wanted to continue learning this way into their HSC year.

We found that by taking notes at home, on their own time was best. The students got creative with their note taking, were a regular classroom only allows students to write what is written on the board, flipping allows students to make bullet points, paragraphs, pictures, subtitles and verbal recordings #differentiation!

In one semester I was blown away by the change in student attitude, results and goals. Some of the big winners were:

  • 32% increase in results between the 1/2 yearly and yearly examinations
  • The  bottom cohort increased their results between 15-114% between their 1/2 yearly and yearly examinations
  • “I cant believe my goals used to be to bring my book and pens” – “look at me now!”
  • “What is this miss?” (in response to a youtube clip which wasn’t mine) – “We want Smiddy’s Learning Room back!”
  • Watching one student decipher his notes which had all been written with images #modernday #hieroglyphs

Have a look below to how I set up my classroom in order for it to to allow for flipped content and the challenges I have/am facing during this process

Setting up a flipped classroom

Example Video From Smiddy’s Learning Room
  1. Initially I set up a YouTube account Smiddy’s Learning Room to post my videos online – at this point I pretty much swallowed my pride and got over the fact that I could possibly have the most “Australian” accent.
  2. I created videos using the following iPad applications – As technology develops I intend to investigate further options. The content was reflective of the syllabus and up to date text books.
    • Explain Everything
    • Green Screen by Do Ink
    • Adobe Spark
  3. I began uploading the videos to our LMS but then realised the students subscribed to my YouTube Chanel and were notified when new videos came up anyway.
  4. I created a OneNote Class NoteBook to house the videos to assist students with note taking – this came in handy when they were revising their notes
  5. I used Aurasma (Augmented reality) to allow students to see direct correlation between the video content and the syllabus dot points
  6. I developed a pearltrees folder to house further research for the students to read through i.e the physiological effects of altitude training on the cardio respiratory system.
  7. I developed a large bank of formative assessment tools to test the students knowledge when the came to class including:
    • Quizlet
    • Quizlet Live
    • Plickers
    • Kahoot
    • Ed Puzzle
  8. I intend to developed Office Mix tutorials for when students are away for the HSC content now that I have got my head around this software.
  9. It is essential to develop questioning scaffolds and techniques – flipped learning allows you to spend a lot more time on practicing developing and answering questions.
  10. Swallowed my pride again and made the video’s personal – I put photos of myself and used examples of both myself and the sports the students play – they laughed and gave me a hard time, but their capacity to use succinct examples improved as they could relate to it.

Challenges of a flipped classroom

  1. Making the content – some videos (the skeletal system) are epic, others are not so great (components of fitness).
  2. It takes time – trust me its worth it, not only for the time it buys you in class but also in the future and when exam time comes around
  3. Finding things to do in class – Flipping my class has forced me to become so much more innovative with my pedagogy but its been a fun process
  4. Making the videos interesting when the content is theory heavy (core 1)
  5. Students not taking notes for homework – as a class we decided that if they did not do this they would catch up by watching the video in class, this didn’t last long as most students didn’t want to miss out on the fun of formative assessment and “cafe learning“

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