8 Types Of Flipped Learning Classrooms And The Tools You Need To Build Them
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Tips To Build Those Flipped Learning Classrooms

Flipped learning is creating active learning environments wherever it is being implemented. The new age of flipped learning is about teachers working in collaboration to learn newer strategies for improved learning. It’s also about viewing flipped learning from a broader perspective, to see how it is helping us create a true learning ecosystem.

Which is why, in this article, we shall see the different flipped learning models you can implement as well as the tools you can use to create a flipped learning ecosystem.

When we start looking at flipped learning as a way of creating a learning ecosystem, we realise how effective it is. Flipped classrooms connect people and provide them with a variety of content and technology. This increases the engagement of the learners as there is activity-based, practical learning in classroom time. A general chemistry class showed a growth of 7%, 3%, and 6% in grades of the top third, middle third, and bottom third of the class respectively after the class was flipped.

Flipped learning also boosts healthy interaction between members, in a mutually beneficial manner, which is the essential function of an ecosystem. Blended learning, interaction between members and informal learning are other characteristics of a flipped classroom that take you closer to developing a learning ecosystem.

Types Of Flipped Learning Classrooms

As you might have figured out, there is more than one way of flipping a classroom. The idea is to customise delivery methods that suit the subject field and type of learner.

We can start by understanding some of the types of blended learning that inspire flipped learning. These act as underlying models and although they talk about offline learning, these concepts can be extended to online courses or e-learning.

Blended Learning Models

Rotation Model

Rotation Model

It is the most widely used format in blended learning. In fact, flipped learning can itself be treated as a subset of this category. The students are exposed to rotation of lectures for a subject between face-to-face classroom instruction and online instruction. The face-to-face interaction may include full class or small-group instruction, group projects or individual discussion.

Flex Model

The Flex model comprises the making of every class a mixture of online instruction and classroom interaction. This is different from the rotation model as every class is converted into online instruction and classroom time. In the rotation model, there are only 1 or 2 courses that are divided in this manner. The school implementing a flex model resembles office areas as students are provided cubicles for online instruction. Classrooms of different sizes are used for small-group lessons, group activities, doubt clearing, individual counseling, or just tutoring.

Enriched Virtual Model

In this model, there is a clear division of work for school and home. Unlike the flex model, students don't attend school every day. An example is the Rio Rancho Cyber Academy in New Mexico where students in Grade Six to Grade Eight come on say Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Different days are assigned to different classes. The rest of the days are devoted to online instruction, developed by Edgenuity, to be studied at home.

Flipped Classroom Models

Flipped classrooms can be divided into the following subtypes depending on the variation in the distribution of study material, use of classroom time, or type of students -

Standard Inverted Classroom

It's the classic flipped classroom. The learners are asked to go through the lecture videos and other study material that are prerequisites for the next class. Usually, all the aspects of a topic are converted into video lectures. The class time is reserved for practicing the concepts studied at home and to improve the students’ understanding in various ways like a one-to-one interaction with the teacher.

Micro Flipped Classroom

In this type of classroom, short video lectures are distributed as study material along with short assignments. The rest of the lecture and assignments are conducted during the classroom time.

Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom

Homework is assigned in the form of video lectures and external video resources. Discussions happen in the classroom time where topics are explored further. Having studied the basics, students can add value to discussion.

Demonstration-Based Flipped Classroom

Subjects like Maths, Chemistry, Physics, etc. require careful instructions to deliver content. For example, precision is key in a subject like geometry. In demonstration-based classrooms, screen recording tools are used to create instructional videos assigned as homework. Instead of doing this in the classroom, students can go back and forth in the video to understand concepts fully and come back to the classroom for doubt removal.

Faux-Flipped Classroom

This is a specific model targeting young learners. The aim is to replace the homework with instructional lecture-videos and other resources. When students come back to the classroom, one-to-one guidance and support are provided by the teacher.

Group-Based Flipped Classroom

The group-based model focuses on group learning. After the students have studied the material provided, they work together on assignments during the classroom time. The students learn by explaining concepts to each other, which improves retention.

Virtual Flipped Classroom

Classroom time for tutoring is completely eliminated in this model. Educators, like university professors, share all the resources and allocate time for individual sessions during office hours. Assignments are collected online through learning management systems.

Role-Reversal 2.0 (Flipping The Teacher)

We know that flipped classrooms usually have students as the centre point of learning as opposed to having the educator as the focal point of information dissemination.

The role-reversal concept is to flip the teacher. Here, students are also asked to create videos demonstrating their understanding. Students can film their group activities or can film themselves. The teacher can assess their progress in the subject through these videos. An advantage of this format is that these videos build a repository of references that can be used in future classes.

The above models give us a fair idea of various formats that are being used for flipping classrooms. Using these techniques, you can customize an individual format to suit your own classroom. Blended learning is all about sensible experimentation and customisation, according to the needs and requirements of the students.

This brings us to the second half of the article - what are the tools that can be used to create these models of flipped classrooms?

Tools You Can Use To Create A Flipped Classroom

The principal study material in flipped classrooms comprises of video lectures, slideshows, audio lectures, screencast content, and engaging animation. Here are a few tools you can use to create this content.

Tools For Screencasting

Educators use screencasting software to do a recording of their computer screen that can be used to create a lecture video. Teachers can also record their tablet screen as they write on it. The software records audio of the instructor and in some cases video too (using a webcam). Some of the popular software for screencasting are:

  • Camtasia (PC and Mac) - Using Camtasia, you can add music effects, video effects, notes, annotations, and more to the recorded video.
  • Screencast-o-Matic (PC and Mac) - Screencast-o-Matic allows you to easily edit your recorded videos and share them on various platforms.
  • Snagit (PC and Mac) - With Snagit, you can capture high-quality screenshots and videos in one program. Other useful features include built-in editing and text grabber.
  • Screencastify (Google Chrome extension) - Screencastify creates screen recordings using the browser extension. There is an option to add microphone recordings as well. All the videos are saved in Google Drive.

Here is a useful resource to create effective content through screencasts.

Tools For Videos

While some teachers prefer screencasting, others like to simply use a video camera (or a smartphone) to record instructional videos. A number of professional tools are present to edit videos and make them interactive. We list down some easy-to-use video creation/editing tools:

  • EdPuzzle (Android, iOS, Chrome, Youtube extension) - EdPuzzle is an amazing tool to make any video interactive using audio and questions. You can track if your videos are being watched by students and how much time is spent on a section to get an idea of how well they have understood the concept. You can use even existing videos or upload your own.
  • Playposit (PC and MAC) - Using Playposit, you can enrich videos with a variety of interactions. These options are live feedback for learners, tracking of response on content, and adding questions/discussions/multiple choice/poll survey/open response/third-party rich content. There is LMS integration available with the software.
  • Tes Teach (iOS and Google Chrome) - With Tes Teach, you can create interactive lessons, projects, presentations, quizzes, and discussions. It includes support for Youtube links, PDFs, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
  • Classflow (PC and Mac) - Classflow can be used to make presentations for interactive displays like Smart, Epson, and others. You can add interactive quizzes, polls, and activities; send digital badges for recognition; collaborate with students; and insert ready-made activities, videos, and other resources from a dedicated marketplace.

Besides these, a number of normal video editing apps can prove helpful as well.

Some Miscellaneous Tools

These are some miscellaneous tools you might find useful.

  • Audio/Video narration in your Powerpoint Presentation- You might have missed this feature in MS Powerpoint and it’s a useful one. Here’s how you can add audio/video narration to your slides. Also, Microsoft Powerpoint displays the slide timings or the time spent on each slide so that you can analyze better. Powerpoint also records the use of highlighter, eraser, or pen. Pretty cool, right?
  • Sheppard Software - Use this website to redirect your students to a world of educational games. Your students will really benefit from these. The content is for Grade 1-8 although there is a Precalculus and an Advanced Algebra section too for higher classes.
  • Wonderopolis - This is a great reservoir of interesting articles for almost all academic subjects; a great place to refer to your students.

Resources For Supplemental Instruction

There are a number of open-source platforms out there that contain exceptional educational information which can be embedded in your course flow.

We are particularly fond of TED-Ed for its simplicity and content quality. You can use TED-Ed for its pool of existing short lessons on a variety of topics. Or you can easily create your own lecture through customising any existing TED-Ed original lesson, TED Talk, or Youtube video. Apart from adding quizzes and external links, you can also track the progress of students watching your video. You can also use TED Talks that consist of great, enriching speeches from people coming from different walks of life.

Video sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo are commonly used to share content for online courses. Thousands of videos with useful content are waiting to be discovered. YouTube even has a separate education section that has videos categorised according to subjects and levels of education, like Primary and Secondary Level, University Level, and Lifelong Level.

Khan Academy, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), has a range of quality, educational videos in the fields of Science, Engineering, Computing, Arts and Humanities, Economics, and more. CosmoLearning is another such website, the only difference from Khan Academy being that the videos feature more than one instructor. Academic Earth is a brilliant site that features only top scholars that teach at Ivy League Universities. Other useful websites like Open Culture and Crash Course are also widely used to refer good academic content to learners externally.

Some Real-Life Examples Of Flipped Classrooms

  • Robert Talbert, Ph.D. in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University, has a popular Youtube Channel where he teaches MATLAB, Calculus, Linear Algebra, etc. He creates these videos through screencasting. His students are able to use these resources before coming to the classroom to understand better.
  • Michigan's Clintondale High School has completely transformed its curriculum with flipped learning. Principal Greg Green says that they have been able to quadruple the actual amount of time students spend with the teacher. The failure rates have dropped by 33% in one year, ever since classes were flipped. Teachers screen-capture their lectures using Camtasia Relay and screen-draw tablets.
  • MEF University in Istanbul is the first university to adopt the flipped learning model university-wide. The university mentions the benefits of flipped learning on their website along with a book published on the same.
  • UK’s University of Manchester’s Schools of Social Sciences and Computer Science has also flipped their classrooms reporting an improvement in grades of the students.

Moving Forward With Flipped Learning

Flipped learning is adaptive, flexible, and effective. Creative planning, creation, and distribution of content is the key to creating a successful flipped classroom.

A flipped classroom revitalises the traditional educational method that is suffering from low effectiveness, over-burdened educators, lack of group interaction and students dropping out in the middle of the course. Flipped learning shows straightforward improvement in grades, increased group interaction, and increased teacher-student one-on-one time—encouraging signs for creating an effective learning ecosystem.

What are your thoughts on flipping classrooms? Any other tools you would like to recommend? Drop a comment to let me know!

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