This year I have been reading about flipped classes. I must say that I am amused by this term. Here in Australia “flipping” is used as a softer version of another less socially acceptable “F” word, as in “He is a flipping idiot!”. As a result, talk about flipping maths classes might generate some smirks or raised eyebrows amongst my peers.
For the uninitiated this is what flipping classes really means. Typical (teacher centered) teaching involves using class time to teach new material and homework to practice and consolidate. In a flipped class students cover the new material in their own time before class and class time is spent on practice and consolidation. Flipping classes is made possible by the availability of online multimedia resources. The advantages are that the teacher can spend less time teaching from the front and more time providing individual help to students. More able students can move ahead more quickly while less able students have improved access to the teacher.
This is a great idea, but so far I haven’t done much with it. I guess my resistance comes down to two main points. Firstly it takes significant time to prepare or find suitable resources. Secondly I don’t really trust my students to do the pre-class work. If I turn up to class and discover half of them didn’t bother to do the preparative work, then I need to rewrite my lesson plan on the fly.
Recently I have discovered a tool which makes flipping more convenient. EDpuzzle allows me to take clips from any online source (or one of my own) and annotate them at particular points with comments, questions or commentary. I can create classes within EDpuzzle and it will record the responses of my students so I can tell before class who has watched the video and how well they understand the content.
There are other services that do the same sort of thing, such as Blubbr, but I found EDpuzzle to be very easy and flexible to use. I sat down and was immediately able to work up this simple 5 minute flipped lesson presentation ( https://edpuzzle.com/media/54338e38ae72d0930a6fd241 ) There are a lot of other examples on the EDpuzzle site. In fact all work is available to all users of the site, so a teacher can use the search function to find suitable presentations prepared by other teachers.
So the advantages of flipping lessons with EDpuzzle are:
- You arrive at class knowing who already has a good grasp of the topic and who needs extra help.
- You spend less time speaking from the front and more time on individual assistance.
- Students that miss classes have the capacity to catch up more easily.
- It makes viewing clips fully interactive rather than passive.
- You don’t have to do the marking.
- The data collected by EDpuzzle can inform your reporting on things like participation and effort.
- The EDpuzzles can be embedded in a VLE and used over and over by classes.
I now have no more excuses and I will be starting to flip more of my lessons in the new school year.