The 'flipped classroom' approach to teaching and learning is one that I've been aware of for quite a while (having first spotted in this blog post by @bradflickinger in 2011) but I've always just filed it away, whenever it has come up, as something that is only really appropriate and useful in secondary school environments with highly motivated students.
Its popularity appears to have grown and grown in recent years, however, and this weekend at BETT I finally found a teacher (@chriswaterworth) in the UK who has implemented it in their primary school with great success - see their presentation:
As you can see, flipping a classroom doesn't remove the teacher fully from the learning process but instead changes their role and the structure of their lessons to have greater impact upon their children's learning. In simple terms, the children access some materials online at home prior to a lesson (pre-reading if you like) and possibly do a short challenge or activity related to it. The teacher can then monitor the results, thus enabling them to focus more time in the subsequent lesson to: discussing the topic, addressing any misconceptions or problems and applying skills to meaningful contexts (e.g. word problems in maths or investigations in science).
The homework tasks and activities - especially with younger children - shouldn't be too long or challenging, from what I can gather. They shouldn't take long to create and generate little marking, but should provide a quick snapshot of who has completed some pre-lesson work and how well (at a basic level) they seemed to have understood it.
Examples of pre-lesson tasks that I think children could be made to easily complete include:
- reading an extract from some text;
- researching facts from a specfic website;
- searching for and comparing images relating to a particular topic;
- finding a location on a map;
- taking photographs of something;
- watching a screencast video explaining how to do a specific skill.
Examples of simple online assessment activities which could be set to monitor children's completion of the tasks and their understanding of them (e.g. using the free Edmodo website that I absolutely love) could include:
- replying to a message (e.g. writing their prior knowledge on a topic, thinking of a good opening for a paragraph, sharing a fascinating fact discovered etc.) (see this example);
- taking part in a poll (e.g. to make a prediction for an investigation or to decide which aspect of a topic they want to spend more time learning in class);
- completing a self-marking quiz (see this example) that includes: cloze procedures, matching pairs questions and questions with multiple-choice answers.
From my reading, teachers who've had success with flipped learning have done so not because they have dictated that children must do the pre-lesson 'homework' but because they have instead challenged the children to do the work beforehand and the children - being naturally keen to: learn, be curious and want to impress their teacher - have chosen themselves to do it. The popularity of doing the work at home has then naturally grown as the children want to keep up with their peers and appreciate the value in being given much more target support in lesson times.
Have you used flipped learning in your classroom? I'd love to read any examples of other primary schools where it has been successful in!