Blended Learning

Flipped Classroom 101

Strategies to move past common flipped classroom obstacles when getting started.

November 4, 2014

Editor's Note: This post was co-authored by Aaron Sams, Managing Director of and founding member of the Flipped Learning Network.

Flipping your classroom is a great way to move from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side." But that shift can also bring about a number of other complications. For instance:

  • What if students can't access the internet at home?
  • What if students simply don't know how to watch an educational video?
  • What if students blow it off and don't watch the content at all?
  • What if you don't feel confident at making videos?
  • What if you don't even know where to start?

The answers to these questions are in the video above.

Meanwhile, the rest of this post will delve into one of these questions in more detail: What happens if students don't know how to watch an educational video?

Watching vs. Interacting

To answer this question, there is a word that I would like to take out of the vocabulary of flipped classroom teachers. That word is watch -- as in: "Students are supposed to watch a video at home and then come to class prepared to learn." Watch is such a passive word. Students watch a Batman movie, they watch a TV show like The Voice, but we don't want students to watch flipped class videos.

Rather . . .

We want them to interact with the video content. There is research which states that passive learning (even learning with video) doesn't help students achieve more. Here are a few practical ways that you can bring some interactivity into your flipped class videos.

Low Tech

1. Set up an advanced organizer for students to use as they interact with the video.

2. Tell them to pause the video and do something like solve a problem, predict an outcome, or write down an interesting question. [Hint: If you tell them to pause the video, make sure that you pause your presentation for a few seconds, giving them time to hit the pause button.]

High Tech

1. Create a Google Form that the students will use to answer questions. Here's our video on how to do this:

2. Use the built-in quizzing feature in your school's Learning Management System.

3. Use some free tools like eduCanon or Zaption, which will pause the video at teacher-selected times and insert pop-up questions. Afterward, the teacher knows who watched the video, how long they watched the video, if they skipped any parts of the video, and how well they did on each question.

4. Use a questioning app such as Verso, which has students interact with each other on learning objects such as flipped videos.

5. Build your video using one of these tools, which provide analytics of student responses:

So let's take the word watch out of our vocabulary, and start telling people that we are having students interact with content before class.

Please share with us other ways that you encourage students to interact with your flipped class videos.

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  • Classroom Management
  • Formative Assessment
  • Student Engagement
  • Teaching Strategies

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