On Your Mark, Get Set, FLIP!
Are you thinking about flipping your classroom?
There are lots of different, interesting ways to flip a class. One popular, entry-level approach to flipped teaching is to deliver direct instruction (i.e. lectures) outside of class, using pre-recorded videos covering content. Instructors then spend class time on activities that students would normally do at home, such as homework problems. Flipped experts Bergmann and Sams call this the “flipped 101” approach, emphasizing that there is more than one way to flip a class and putting videos online and doing homework in class is one of the most basic of those ways.
For videos in a flipped 101 approach, some instructors select pre-existing content that others have created to use as direct instruction. Other teachers record their own videos through personal capture, these recordings are called screencasts; in a recent webinar on the flipped classroom, Bergmann and Sams recommend creating your own content rather than selecting others’ videos.
Keep these prep steps in mind as you get ready to flip your classroom.
- Prepare your students: Flipped learning will be new to most of your students – prepare them by describing what you are doing on your syllabus and in person on the first day of class. Make sure that the kinds of activities you run in class and the content that you cover in your screencasts address the same underlying and enduring understandings that you assess. Also, make sure you give students some guidance on how to effectively watch videos, just as you would on how to effectively read a journal article. Embedding or adding assessments is a seamless way to achieve this goal (see #4 below).
- Prepare yourself early for student resistance, it’s not a matter of if it will happen, it is a matter of when. Think about different scenarios – one popular one, a student will demand to be lectured in class. Have a prepared response to this kind of scenario at the ready.
Check out this quick start guide to flipping your class I developed through my own practical experiences as well as from listening to experts. I’ve broken the steps down into the lowest threshold approach possible and as such this is not a comprehensive guide.
1. DECIDE ON TECHNOLOGY
- Decide how you would like to capture your content. When you do this yourself, it is called “personal capture”- you use your own computer to capture your own content using screencasting software, such as Camtasia or Screenflow (these are two I have used, but there are many others.)
- If you are not familiar with the software, give yourself an afternoon (~3 hours) to watch some of the software’s video tutorials and play around with editing 1-2 mins of nonsense you record. You need to be able to edit out your blunders, this is easy but takes a few runs. When you record lecture videos, you will make mistakes and it’s much easier to edit after the fact than to keep trying to re-record. I know this from long and painful personal experience.
- Think about and select the ideas, topics, or concepts you want to flip. Remember, you don’t have to flip all content, you can do it with just one or two difficult areas.
- Respond to the following two prompts on a piece of scrap paper:
- a) After watching this video, students will know that … (don’t leave the that out) or will be able to …
- b) I could tell that they knew that or could do it, if they were able to…
- Sketch out a rough script, outline, or slide deck and tailor your explanation of the concept or idea you are flipping to the learning outcome from 3a. Then write a couple assessment prompts or questions for students to answer that are aligned with how you answered 3b.
- Chunk: One thing you will learn right away is that it takes considerably less time to lecture to a screen than it does to real live students. This is a good thing. Plan for 7-9 minute chunks.
- Record your video
- Make essential edits – see the effort that went into making a recent 60 second screencast in this visual
- Use some formative assessment
- If the software you are using allows you to embed assessments throughout the video, do so.
- If not, make sure you ask students to respond to a few post-video questions. If you do nothing else, use the “muddiest point technique,” ask students to respond to the prompt: “What did you find most confusing or interesting about the video?” You can do this using a web form (google docs), in Canvas, or Blackboard, or even e-mail. You will use their responses to help guide in-class activities, the technique also gives students some retrieval practice and some practice with metacognition, both are linked to deeper learning.
- Save your file
5. GO LIVE
- Publish or export your video and provide access to students
6. DESIGN IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES
- Work with students on homework problems during class
- Design in-class activities that will help elicit, confront, and resolve students’ misconceptions, misunderstandings, or difficulties with the lecture content (see McDermott)
- Help students practice working with content in authentic ways, such as doing invention or knowledge transfer problems (problems that ask students to apply their knowledge to new contexts)
- Use ConcepTests and Peer Instruction
- Reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Tweak your approach and make the next cycle better.
On your mark!