The focus of the second week of study on the EDU720 module was the idea of ‘flipping the classroom’ a well-known blended learning approach which turns the traditional teaching model on its head and provides more time in class for discussion, with students having completed certain reading/watching/ listening tasks at home in preparation for the module.
I have a good understanding of flipped learning and its approach, given that I am a Learning Technologist and I support a number of academics across the College of Arts at the University of Lincoln with employing this technique in their teaching. There are a number of examples which I can draw upon from my own experience, and I expressed these in the first discussion task where we were required to explain our own understanding and experience of flipped learning. In this way, I think I engaged well with the task of the week – to gain an understanding of how the flipped classroom approach works.
The set reading and examples of scholarship were very useful this week and they expanded upon my own ideas of the flipped classroom. The video from Katie Gimbar (Why I Flipped My Classroom: Katie Gimbar, 2011) set out the approach in a clear way, explaining some of the key evidence that shows her flipped classroom approach works. I was particularly interested in the fact that students have a multitude of ways to take in the set content and the fact that Katie openly admits not all students will adapt well to the flipped approach. However, having the content freely available so that students can refer to it even if the session (when they realise they haven’t completed their homework task, for example) is a really interesting way of ensuring that students of all levels are able to achieve using the flipped classroom approach (What If Students Don’t Watch The Videos? – FAQ – Katie Gimbar’s Flipped Classroom, 2011). What was also interesting from these videos, was the idea that the students in the middle level of attainment fared the worst when this new approach was introduced. As Katie points out, this goes to show that much of our time as academics can be spent focusing on those who are somewhere in the middle, leaving low and high achievers left struggling at either end of the spectrum (How Does This Work For All Learners? – FAQ – Katie Gimbar’s Flipped Classroom, 2011).
The second source from Aaron Sams, both surprised and challenged me in my own approach. As an early adopter of the flipped classroom approach, Aaron is now taking this to the next level and introducing an idea he calls ‘project-based learning’ (Aaron Sams – Flipped Classroom: The Next Step, 2015). This makes a lot of sense, although it felt quite revolutionary to me when I first watched the video. Students are given access to the assessment task at the start of a module and their learning from that point onwards is directly tied to the way in which they want to complete the assessment. It could be that they wish to create a presentation, a video or a physical product, the format of the final piece is not important here, it’s more important to realise that the students are focusing every week on the task at hand, therefore, the learning is more directly tied to their attainment and they are more focused as a result.
It was very helpful to be able to use the resources from this week’s reading to inform my own approach to the flipped classroom. I decided to focus on my micro-teach session from the first semester, which I could see was already moving towards a flipped classroom approach. I outlined the ways in which I might ‘flip’ my approach even more, suggesting that students could have some form of choice in the early weeks of the module on who they would like to focus on for their final project (Atkinson-Foster, 2019). The various learning content would then all be consumed with a focus on their final piece and the artist that they wished to talk about. Already, I had decided in my original session that students could complete the assignment in a number of ways, but following Katie Gimbar’s approach (Why I Flipped My Classroom: Katie Gimbar, 2011) I felt that it was necessary to get the students to submit some form of formal overview of their work also.
Finally, the podcast from Andy Peisley was very useful in setting out how to streamline the flipped learning approach (Lessons learnt from implementing and evaluating flipped classroom approaches, 2014). I am guilty of often spending too much time on making my learning resources perfect. This might be down to my media production background or my own experience as a learner. But Andy made a key point in this podcast about the quality of the production as compared to the quality of the content. The idea that the content is most important is an important one and looking at the feedback on my posts in the discussion boards for this week, my peers also seem to struggle with striking the right balance between a high-quality product and one which is the most informative for our students.
Aaron Sams – Flipped Classroom: The Next Step (2015). USA.
Atkinson-Foster, B. (2019) Flipped Classroom Idea, Falmouth Flex: EDU720 Discussion Board – Week 2: Share Your Flipped Classroom Ideas.
How Does This Work For All Learners? – FAQ – Katie Gimbar’s Flipped Classroom (2011). USA.
Lessons learnt from implementing and evaluating flipped classroom approaches (2014). UK. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnjMBzEco1g&feature=youtu.be.
What If Students Don’t Watch The Videos? – FAQ – Katie Gimbar’s Flipped Classroom (2011). USA.
Why I Flipped My Classroom: Katie Gimbar (2011). USA.