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Phoenix Forward magazine

7 ways to successfully flip a classroom

Flipping classroom tips

Flipped teaching — in which students do teacher-prepared video lessons at home and then use class time to apply what they learned — is becoming increasingly popular across the country.

“I was hesitant at first about flipped teaching because it seemed like we might be relying too much on technology, but I’ve changed my opinion because it’s a great way to make use of what students are naturally doing” on the Internet, says R. Lewis Cordell, a high school English teacher and an instructor in the education program at the University of Phoenix San Diego Campus.

Here are seven ways to flip a classroom:

1

Spread the word.

Getting parents on board with the idea is critical since it’s a departure from the standard teaching method. You need to ensure they understand the new format, your expectations and student goals.

2

Use new tools.

Cordell says an increasing number of platforms to create and disseminate video lessons have made it easier to engage students. “There are a growing number of options every day that can be used,” he says, such as TED-Ed, which offers customized lessons, complete with quiz questions and additional reading suggestions.

3

Get students excited.

One way to help a flipped classroom be effective, Cordell notes, is to capitalize on the strengths of tech-savvy students. Sixty-five percent of U.S. teachers said students were more productive than they had been three years earlier because of technology in the classroom, according to a 2011 report by CompTIA.

4

Ensure accountability.

In a successful flipped classroom, Cordell emphasizes, teachers must be certain that lessons are being viewed and absorbed, so he has students fill out various Google™ tracking documents to show their progress. “There has to be a component for me to gather information,” he notes. “There has to be an accountability element.”

5

Change the pace.

While YouTube™ videos are an important resource in flipped teaching, instructors also may employ varied strategies to make sure students remain engaged. For example, The New York Times offers ways to use the newspaper as a teaching tool in lessons, such as through its skill builders, literacy games and activity sheets.

6

Join the community.

With more instructors looking to transition to flipped teaching, a robust online community is developing that provides advice, instruction and examples of successful flipped strategies. One popular site is the Flipped Learning Network, which has more than 10,000 members and offers training workshops across the country.

7

Keep low-tech options.

Teachers actually have used the flipped method for years without realizing it, Cordell says, pointing to requiring students to read literature at home and then come to class ready to discuss it. “You don’t have to use technology,” he notes. “The concept is facilitated by technology but not dependent on it.”

 

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