Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teacher's Survivor Guide to Flipped Learning

As a follow up to suggestions for students to excel in a flipped class, I offer some assistance for teachers who wish to convert from traditional to flipped courses. 
  1. Know why you're making the switch, the reason(s) must go beyond the cool factor or a way to mix things up. Identify and communicate what you're trying to accomplish by flipping. Flipping is most useful when it is used to solve a problem or enhance or maximize features within a course, rather than merely following a trend. For example, will flipping allow for more differentiation, problem based learning, projects, writers workshops, student centered learning, discussions or labs? If you're not immediately sure how you will recuperate class time, then perhaps you're not ready to flip your class.
  2. Keep data on student progress. Parents and administrators will want to know if the switch to flipped learning has been successful. Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your class and continue to make improvements. 
  3. Connect to other flipped teachers and look for opportunities to collaborate. You will get tons of ideas about implementation, as well as warnings about common pitfalls. Consider joining Twitter and Google Plus, there is a robust #flipclass community which discuss issues in flipped classes. 
  4. There are tons of variants of flipped classes; you will have important decisions to make. Will your course be synchronous or asynchronous? Will you offer anticipatory work before students watch videos? What will you use to create, host and share videos?
  5. Make own videos, if you can. Perhaps in the beginning, you will not have an extensive library of your own videos, so you may need to have a combination of your videos and videos found online. Since you are not giving direct instruction in class anymore, students will be somewhat removed from you. Having your own voice and perhaps even face on videos can bridge some of that gap. 
  6. Keep videos short. It's better to have two videos rather than one long video. Students can get intimidated from having to sit through one long video. By splitting the video into shorter ones, students can get positive reinforcement and a sense of accomplishment when they complete the videos. On a similar note, try to limit each video to only one core idea or concept. Not only will this help to keep videos short but it will help students rewatch only the videos they need. Consider making separate videos for concept introduction and demonstration of examples. Students who don't need to see multiple examples won't have to sit through needless video footage. 
  7. Hold students accountable for watching the videos. Think about what you will do if students do not watch the video. Create a post-video assignment to ensure students understood the content. It doesn't have to be long and exhausting but it should hold students accountable for watching the videos. Have students take notes and submit questions they'd like to have answered. There are some sites like educannon or zaption that can embed questions into videos and pause the videos until students have answered the questions; they also provide embed codes in order to store and share these interactive videos on your website or learning management system.
  8. Make a commitment to avoid reteaching the content in class; otherwise, students will learn videos are not required.  
  9. Consider providing a guided note sheet to help students pinpoint the important information from the videos. You can always wean students off note sheets as the school year goes on. 
  10. Ask for student feedback. Make appropriate adjustments.  
  11. Respect the learning curve. Be open to students being confused and even resistant to change. Be patient even when you're setting consistent expectations. Give yourself the same patience. You won't get it right the first time, the second time or even subsequent times. If you are a veteran, then you have learned to be effective in different ways. It will take time be effective in this new way. 

What suggestions have I missed? Tom Driscoll, a fellow flipped educator, offers some other tips in his video embedded below.