Flip My What?

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Buzz words in education flutter in and out of our vocabulary through websites, blogs, Twitter feed, and other professional development conversations. Have you heard the buzz word, “flipped classroom?” Some of you are thinking, “Flip my what? My classroom can’t take another flip to end up in a flop!”

The flipped classroom model involves students preparing for classroom learning BEFORE teacher instruction or class discussion through the use of technology. The technology can include audio files, video clips, PowerPoint presentations, websites, and other types of media. Therefore, students equip themselves already with prior knowledge to participate in more meaningful and applicable discussion and activities in the classroom. Here are some benefits to a flipped classroom:

1. Students can take ownership and control of their own learning.

2. Teachers can spend more time with students in small groups or one-on-one instruction.

3. You can save time and stop repeating yourself, because lessons are recorded.

4. Substitutes and parents can have access to your lessons.

5. Educators have more time to differentiate instruction.

In order to implement flipped learning, an educator will need a “vehicle” for students to access the media for learning. The vehicle should be accessible at school and home. Last year, I had the opportunity to utilize Edmodo for a class of 2nd graders. Edmodo is easy to use, and my 2nd graders were able to use it for a variety of flipped learning. The students would watch the background videos and listen to the audio lessons either at home or during center time. Then, the students had a task to complete. During small group time or whole group, the students would share, critique, and discuss the task.

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This year, my school district has decided to implement Schoology. Schoology is more difficult to navigate; however, the benefits to a common “vehicle” promote Internet safety and consistency among the students. In addition, teachers can expand the “flipped classroom” method by being able to collaborate with one another on a common site.

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My flipped classroom experience has been a positive experience. I believe flipped learning gives me more time to work with my students who need remediation; provides enrichment for my high students; and facilitates me to plan better lessons and activities.

So, now that you are enticed by this buzz word, where can you start? Well, I had the personal experience of training myself through http://www.sophia.org. You can access a free on-line course on flipped learning through their site, and earn a free T-shirt. Educators can earn certification at: https://www.sophia.org/flipped-classroom-certification.

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