Before Flipped Learning
Before I started flipping my classes, I was the central focus of a lesson and the primary disseminator of information during the class period. I responded to questions while students deferred directly to me for guidance and feedback. Student engagement was limited to activities in which students worked independently or in small groups on an application task that I had designed. Class discussions were usually centered on me, as I controlled the flow of the conversation. In this pattern of teaching, I gave students the task of reading from a textbook or practicing a concept by working on a problem set, for example, outside school.
Seven years ago, I started to use iPad in teaching and two years later I decided to try and flip my courses. I wanted to incorporate multimedia into the curriculum, but I had to face a big problem: As my school isn't a 1:1 school, students could use school provided technology resources only a few hours a week, in the labs. This was very frustrating; at times, I thought I had to keep teaching in the traditional way, with the textbook and lecture, like all my colleagues. But this didn't discourage me and I was determined to succeed.
I told my principal what I knew about the flipped classroom and asked her if I could let the students use their personal devices (even their smartphones) during my lessons, for educational purposes. She was enthusiastic about the new pedagogical approach and BYOD allowed me to experiment a new way of teaching and learning. In this article, I explain the benefits of BYOD.
After Flipped Learning
Now, after 5 years of flipping, this is what my classroom looks like this:
In this video I explain how the iPad and the flipped learning approach have changed the way teaching and learning occur in my class:
Being an advocate for thinking differently about learning styles, I've developed a personalized approach to learning, by adjusting the pace of instruction, leveraging students’ interests and using interactive teaching methods and games, to provide greater learning flexibility and peer-to-peer collaboration.
I love inspiring students and supporting them in building creative projects that utilize mobile devices, apps, and web tools. I organize project-based learning activities that involve students in planning and learning, so they can contribute to their own learning through productive discussions and collaboration, while creating content. In a student-centered environment students inquire and explore, work on projects, develop and demonstrate subject mastery in ways they enjoy.
In my class students can use any device and choose their own web tools and apps, to create their digital stories that they share in a portfolio, demonstrate their learning by presenting their stories to a real audience and receive feedback from me and from their peers. They collaborate and interact as part of a community of learners and working together, they develop team spirit and leadership.
I have created a website / repository with my flipped lessons, a virtual environment where I publish my multimedia lessons, which consist of:
- Video lectures and tutorials that introduce and explain the topics covered.
- Mini lessons, short tech articles followed by reading comprehension activities.
- Discussion topics for conversation in English.
- Mind maps, to review the topics studied.
- Interactive quizzes with for monitoring learning and self-evaluation.
- Collaborative activities, aimed at creating multimedia projects to be presented to the class in English.
- An e-portfolio, to share projects.
I created this website to:
- Teach students to make the most of new communication channels and increasing availability of educational resources.
- Exploit the potential of the internet for educational and training purposes.
- Use technology to interact as much as possible with students.
- Enable a flexible teaching and learning process.
- Utilize technology as the common communication channel for the teaching-learning process.
I use my site as an alternative to the textbook to:
- Prepare multimedia lessons, using teaching materials produced by me or by colleagues.
- Prepare in-depth material for further stimulus for the class.
- Manage remedial work: video lessons, mind maps and quizzes for self-evaluation are always available online and facilitate remediation.
- Create my personal repository of multimedia lessons.
- Collect student showcase in a digital portfolio.
I introduce the topic in a post on my web site, with links to online materials that kids will use to study the lesson. The traditional textbook is therefore replaced by multimedia lessons created with ThingLink and published on my website. At home, students watch a 5 minute video and answer some comprehension questions; or read a text and do some short
exercises; alternatively, they listen to a podcast, review with a mind map, then practice with a quiz.
Example of multimedia lesson: Computer viruses and other online threats
Example of video with questions: Copy of How Cloud Computing Works
The next day, in class, the students discuss what they have learned at home. If there are doubts about what the students studied, they ask questions and get clarification. Those who have not studied the lesson at home follow the debate or alternatively watch the video lesson on the smart board or on their device and then do a quiz.
After a few lessons, we organize collaborative activities (pair or group-work) with the goal of creating multimedia projects (eBooks and digital magazines, timelines, digital posters, multimedia presentations). Students present their projects to the class and then collect them in an e-portfolio that I publish on my site.
My students' e-portfolio: