Blending a Flipped Classroom

Interesting that the buzz around the ‘flipped’ classroom is taking off in Secondary education again, partly due to the Khan Academy channel on You Tube (see Salman Khan’s TED talk) but also the blog articles (such as Donald Clark’s here, Karl Fisch’s here and this one that rightly discusses pedagogy approaches). We can’t ignore the video devices that are more accessible and cheaper than ever before too but let’s not forget that we have a discerning media savvy audience out there too. Sure they may give a few extra seconds to an expertly screen-casted explanation of geometry & fractions but I can recall the ‘math rapper’ with her baseball cap doing equally creative and stimulating stuff on You Tube quite a few years ago.

There are quite a few articles contradicting the use of the flipped classroom technique too (such as this and this). For someone who has experimented for over 3 years with video-enhanced learning through the use of a TV Studio – you can read my e-book here on Videocasting to the Natives, I have to advocate that flipped only works when blended. The process I outlined here in this post. It needs a successful delivery method (in the post’s case I argued for the free Google Apps suite) but have since developed a web site with ‘channels of communication’ here. Pedagogically, the use of Laurillard’s Conversational Framework helps to structure and motivate the learning and Salmon’s 5 Stages can be adapted to scaffold-up the stages of learning. Using the studio helped the learners become co-creators of the method of the learning (they made programmes about math concepts as well as other subjects not just watching screencasts). The teachers too produced a much higher quality of learning resource with an authentic professional feel (see our Hands On Maths site to keep the math-bias going).

As Scott McLeod¹, one of the nation’s leading thinkers on educational technology and the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, observes, the “reason Sal Khan is so visible right now is that nobody did this instead. It would have been great if the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics had been doing this, but someone from the outside had to fill the vacuum.” His guidance to educators: “Start making!”. This counts for the students too though and they won’t do it unassisted.


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