The new buzz word in education is flipping a classroom. A flipped classroom is a teacher’s website where their students go to get class lectures or class teaching notes. The expectation is that students will watch the lectures videos the night before the material used in class the next day. Then material taught in class is done through practice problems, “real world” problems, projects, or activities. Because the students are watching the typical teaching lectures online, this frees up class time to be spent on engaging students into the lessons through “real world” problems or activities.
Does the flipped classroom work? This all depends on the teacher, the students, and the expectations of the class. Teachers who have the expectation of students watching the videos and force the students to watch the videos in order to understand of to solve the “real world” problems that are completed in the classroom, then these teachers find much success. On the other hand, if teachers give-in to the students who did not watching the videos and teach the online lesson during class time (these students are not meeting the expectations), then these teachers find the flipped classroom experience less successful. Therefore, there must be the expectation to the students that they must watch the videos.
Do you have classroom computers? Classroom computers are a must because students who cannot access the videos at home need a way to watch videos and those who have not watched the videos will need a place to watch the videos before engaging into the classroom activities.
How do you know if the students have watched the videos? Student will need to complete an assessment before being allowed to participate in the classroom activities. These assessments can be guided notes, warm-ups, or an online notes quiz that will give teachers evidence and feedback about how well the students understand the lesson video. These assessments should be the prerequisite before starting the in-class lesson or activities such as labs or projects.
What is the purpose of your flipped classroom? The concept of mastery flipped classrooms is a design in which students watch the online video(s) about a lesson and then must reach a master level of knowledge before participating in the in-class lesson. To obtain the mastery level for each lesson, teachers assign an assessment to the students in which students must meet a minimum score in order to move on to the next lesson video or the in-class lesson activity. On the other hand, a flipped classroom can be designed for students to just take lesson notes or guided notes before being allowed to participate in the in-class activity. This design of concept understanding has the students only obtain the notes from the videos, and then the teachers must find out the depth of knowledge from the students while teaching the in-class activities.
How important is the design? The most important part of designing your flipped classroom is simplicity and consistency. Both of these ideas are subjective to the designer, however, asking your students for feedback about your design will help to improve the design and functionality of your flipped classroom website. Furthermore, be prepared to spend much time working on the design of your website.
Teaching classes through a flipped classroom design takes much work and preparation in creating and finding lesson videos, designing the website, and keeping the materials on the website such as worksheets and assignment current. Furthermore, it takes teachers willing to have a constant expectation that their lessons are online only. Lastly, teachers must be prepared to grade the daily assessments from the students watching the lesson video(s) quickly. These should be graded no longer than a 1 day turn around or should be done within the first 10 minutes of class if there is an in-class activity planned in which the lesson video is a prerequisite.