Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flipping the Classroom: A Blended Learning Approach

I have been very intrigued by the "Flipped Classroom" for some time. I have created a page about this approach which you can view on my site at this link.

While teaching online last year, I pondered how much of what I was doing could be applied to a classroom in a face-to-face context. I provided learners with videos and links to sites and documents that aided their understanding of what we were learning about. I also provided learners with a space to discuss and ask questions pertaining to topics we were exploring.

I am currently teaching grade 6 French Immersion learners face-to-face in a public school. I have been fortunate to teach in a classroom equipped with a digital projector, laptop, and speakers. I have been extensively making use of digital resources with learners across the subjects. I have also created a wiki for learners to visit and view all content that we are exploring in the classroom. I would like to eventually reverse my approach to teaching and "flip" the classroom. Lectures would be captured on video and assigned as homework. Practice exercises to help students acquire mastery would be assigned as in-class work. This would ensure that I could provide more personalized support to students needing further instruction. But the lectures would be digitized to ensure that students can access them at anytime they wish and as often as needed.

It is important to ensure that all learners have access to the internet at home. "Never assume" should be the mantra of a teacher, even in this digital age that we take such an assumption for granted. While everyone might have access to internet, some families may object to having their children use the internet at home for a variety of reasons. Some children may have access but it may be slow or they may be sharing a computer in the household with other members. If you are going to expect learners to use digital resources at home, it is important to clarify this with families at the outset. Otherwise, this could lead to misunderstanding and frustration on both the part of the learner and his/her family.

I am wanting to first let my students "dip their toes" in the pool of digitized educational content while following a somewhat traditional approach of assigning largely print-based work. The wiki is proving to be a great starting point for my learners who have mostly expressed a lot of satisfaction with it.

I have been using videos I've created in our classroom.  I intend to allow students to view these videos in class at their discretion during our time focusing on practice exercises.