Flipped Classroom

4 Tools for a Flipped Classroom

Whether students do the advance work at home or in class, these tools help teachers track their work and assess their understanding.

July 23, 2018
A high school student looking at his laptop and writing notes on a pad of paper
©Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

Flipped classroom, flipped learning—you’ve probably heard these phrases in recent years, and you may be wondering how this strategy works.

Flipped lessons replace teacher lectures with instructional material—often a video—that students watch and interact with at home. They apply what they learned in class the next day through a variety of activities or assignments that could once have been homework, with the teacher working as a coach or guide. 

The benefits include allowing students to work at their own pace, to determine for themselves the material they need to review, and to apply concepts in different contexts in class to ensure that they thoroughly understand of the content.

But this model can be unsuccessful if students don’t do the advance work—if they don’t have access to reliable internet outside of school, for example. Students who are unable to complete the advance work the evening before find themselves either unable or ill-prepared to participate in class activities the following day.

One solution is to keep the advance work in the classroom—students can reap the benefits of flipped instruction while doing everything in class. In this model, teachers give their students time to watch the video or read a text in class; students then do the follow-up work, with the teacher providing help and guidance as needed. This is extremely helpful for students who need help with the content they’re learning in the video.

The teacher still moves from being the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side” by providing individualized help for each student. While some teachers may prefer to avoid whole-class direct instruction, others may find it helpful for their students when reviewing content or demonstrating or revisiting a concept. Part of the beauty of the in-class flipped model is that it provides a great deal of flexibility for teachers based on their students’ needs.

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Structure of a Flipped Lesson

Flipped lessons can take a variety of forms. Some flipped lessons stand alone, meaning that students learn the content presented in an instructional video or text and demonstrate their understanding through an assessment, project, etc., before moving on to the next concept. Other lessons may take the form of a unit HyperDoc that requires students to progress through a series of lesson components designed to encourage them to engage with and explore content, apply what they’ve learned, and extend their knowledge.

Google Classroom: Teachers use Google Classroom in a variety of ways—to deliver assignments to students and to provide effective and efficient feedback, for example—and it can be a great landing page for students as they navigate assignments. At the beginning of a lesson, teachers can direct students to assignment goals, objectives, and instructions in Classroom. Classroom can also be used to distribute a lesson’s digital texts and other resources.

In flipped environments where students take notes on instructional videos digitally, Classroom can be used to assign a unit Google Doc to students for that purpose. Teachers can establish this procedure as a norm at the beginning of the school year so students know that they should begin each class period by going to Google Classroom.

Edpuzzle: Instructional videos are an important component of the flipped classroom. While there are many schools of thought concerning teacher presence and action in these videos and how long they should be, most teachers would agree that students should be held accountable for the video content and that teachers should have a way to monitor student progress and provide timely feedback.

Edpuzzle allows teachers to do just that, and it provides teachers with the ability to embed a variety of formative assessments into videos they create or use from other sources. Students can access Edpuzzle videos from any browser or through iOS or Android apps, so it’s very convenient.

Padlet: After students have viewed an instructional video, it’s a good idea to provide them with an opportunity to reflect on the content. Padlet provides teachers with a way to have students not only review and reflect on content, but also collaborate with their peers.

Teachers can create a new Padlet wall for each video or unit and encourage students to ask questions and answer their peers’ questions about content as a review for unit assessments. Using an extension such as Screencastify, teachers can create screencasts of the Padlet wall for their students to use as a study aid.

Quizizz: Formative assessment is extremely important in any classroom, and flipped classrooms are no exception. The flipped strategy puts more responsibility for viewing and interacting with content on the students, and formative assessment is therefore needed after every video.

Teachers can create gamified formative assessment activities for their students using Quizizz and assign these activities as homework, which allows the students to play the games individually. Quizizz activities can also be used as a whole-class formative assessment—students enjoy Quizizz because of the gamified component of the activity and the memes that greet them when they respond to each question.

With the help of these tools, teachers can implement a flipped classroom approach—with students working on their own either at home or in the classroom—and provide a more individualized learning experience for all of their students.