Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Seven Stepping Stones to a Flipped Science Classroom

Seven Stepping Stones to a Flipped Classroom

The “flipped classroom” is not the newest fad that will save education.  It will not replace textbooks.  It certainly will not replace teachers.  And it definitely will not make every student all of a sudden love school and turn in every assignment.

However, with a little extra work up front, a little more imagination and an openness to change the parameters of the traditional classroom, the flipped classroom could create opportunities to provide more content, create extra time in your classroom, develop opportunities to interact with students and empower them to take charge of their own learning.

Oh there will be push back.  Students will complain, parents will wonder, colleagues will question and administrators may balk.  Student complaints will include things like, “your not teaching us,” “I used to get my homework done while you lectured,” ‘my dog ate my hard drive,” and “I don’t get it.”  Parents will wonder, “why is there no homework,” “what do you do in class all day,”” why is my child on the computer all the time,” and “why are you not teaching my child?” Colleagues will ask, “Why, What and How?” And Administrators will balk at, “What is this going to cost?” and “How are you going to meet the standards?”

To get a handle on all of this and make the transition easier, there are basic step that will make the process move a little smoother and provide opportunities to get all of the publics on board. 
The Seven Stepping Stones for implementation of the flipped classroom include:

1.     Brainstorm
2.    Create
3.   Design
4.   Prepare
5.    Set Outcomes
6.    Build a Library
7.    Create a Portal


The first thing to do is decide how you want to transition into the world of flipped learning. Do you want to spend the summer creating an entire semester of content and go “whole hog”?  Are there specific lessons or content areas that make sense for your subject matter? Do you want to have a flipped day?  Monday will be flipped homework and Tuesday will be the Flipped Classroom day.  What content can you create or find easily?  Is there a special unit or class project that flipping might enhance? Remember not all lessons can nor should be flipped.  The teacher facilitator must do what is best for all students and must maintain their own sanity.

Create the “flipped” homework assignment.  Determine what the students will watch.  What is the content that the students will need?  Do you need to make your own video?  Is there something already available on line or from your textbook?  What media can or should be used?  Is this a lesson or a unit?  What will the students do?  And, how will you create accountability?


Design the classroom follow-up activity.  How will the classroom become student centered? Will the activity be a project?  Will inquiry be the focus?  What choices will the students have in demonstrating their knowledge?  How will the learning be assessed? How will the students take ownership of the content knowledge they have been exposed to?

Get students prepared for the “flipped experience”.  Outline expectations and
parameters.  Encourage the students to take charge of their learning.  Demonstrate 
how to use the media.  Explain all the options and choices available. Be proactive in 
assisting students who have special needs or lack access to the technology.  Offer 
options and possible solutions for all students to feel they can be successful.

Set Outcomes

Determine expected outcomes and processes for assessing the learning.  Prepare for success but be ready to support failure and develop areas for improvement.  Provide opportunities for growth and varieties of methods to demonstrate learning and mastery of the content standards.
Build a Library

Develop a library of resources that can and will engage all students. Provide choices 
in what the students can watch.  Evaluate media for the effectiveness of delivery of 
the content, engagement for the students, presentation of the content standards and 
development of formative assessment. Encourage students to use other resources to 
further their understanding of the content. Allow students freedom to take care of 
their own learning.

Create a Portal

Determine how to deliver the content.  Does your school offer a platform for the organization of the content library?  Do you need to develop your own portal?  Is there something already available that can be adopted to fit the needs of your students and your classroom?  Can you use a platform like Moodle, Blackboard, Ted Ed, Vimeo or YouTube to put your content in a format that is user friendly for both you and your students?

Now it is time to start “Flipping”!!!

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