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Kev Lavery
Training & Liaison Officer

Can I flip alone?

I was just wondering if anyone has any experience being the driving force behind flipped learning in their school.

I would like implement a flipped learning approach in my classes to allow me more practical time in class (I'm a Media teacher) but I worry about being the only person implementing flipped learning. Given the different types of demands it places on students and how they use their time at home, is it something you can do by yourself?

I think it is a great approach and I totally see it working as a school-wide focus but is it something you can implement in your classroom alone?

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Colin Byers

Posted on 8/31/15 3:09:51 AM   Permalink


Best Answer

No issues, if anything it's encouraged. We have a very forward thinking school and school district. What individual teachers do in their classrooms is their own business (of course the methodologies being used are approved by admin). So, if two teachers are offering the exact same course (say biology) one may used a flipped format while the other doesn't. In my mind there are many approaches to instruction, and not one is "better" than another, ultimately it comes down to relationships with students.

What I have found is that the flipped class gives you far more meaningful time with students (either one to one or for projects based learning). Frankly, I don't really care what other people think of my practice, so as far as my colleagues are concerned, if they like it, great, if they don't, well, it's not their class to worry about.

The one difficulty you may come across is parents. People like to make excuses as to why they can't do the flipped homework (for example: watching an instructional video online). But all kids have the internet in their hands these days with smart phones. The instructional content is reviewed and used in class, so parents don't need to worry that their kids aren't getting relevant content. The videos and other multimedia content used as homework is often far less time consuming for a kid than traditional homework assignments. I think it's a good model and a fairly easy sell, especially when parents can watch and learn along with their kids (if they so choose).

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Andrea Payne

Posted on 11/6/15 5:37:00 PM Permalink

I agree Kev, I think I would have the same issue, where my class being markedly different to other teacher's classes would be frowned upon in my school. I've definitely been the member on staff pushing the integration of tech in my former teaching assignments, and my students and I have had awesome learning experiences together because of that, but I'm also struggling with ideas of how to flip my classroom without it being a school wide initiative. I don't mind being a maverick, but I am thinking that if/when I'm ready to get going with flipping my classroom I'd like to host a parent information night, to help avoid some of the problems that Colin has outlined. I'm not working in a regular school setting at the moment, but when I return to the classroom school I'll also be looking at ways that we can provide access to devices and wifi for students who don't have access at home so that we can try to bridge that digital divide.

Kev Lavery

Posted on 11/8/15 10:39:04 PM Permalink

My current approach is to start running workshops at my school to show people the basic skills associated with it. I put a call out for anyone interested and got a massive response. Seems like, at my school at least, people want to do it but don't have the time or any idea of where to start skill wise. It's been a pretty big positive at my school so far though. I'm running the sessions this week - I even have a few of the top tier of leadership joining in.

Andrea Payne

Posted on 11/10/15 3:27:48 PM Permalink

Wow, that's awesome! Nice to see that admin/leadership is also making a commitment to learning! I think workshops are the way to go. If people self-identify as being interested, at least a group of you can kind of work together to grow, learn and share practices. I think that will be key for me as well. And some parent workshops - I know they will go a long way to getting the parent community interested.

Colin Byers

Posted on 8/30/15 3:04:14 AM Permalink

Absolutely it is doable on your own, my content is about 70% there already and there is another teacher at our school who's class is completely flipped (all on her own). The tricky bit is getting the time to create the content.

Kev Lavery

Posted on 8/30/15 5:44:11 AM Permalink

You don't have any issues with the expectations in your class being markedly different to those in other classes? That's the uphill battle I'm most wary of.

I hadn't considered content creation time. Thanks for the heads up. That's certainly something else I'll need to consider.

Colin Byers

Posted on 8/31/15 3:09:51 AM Permalink


Best Answer

No issues, if anything it's encouraged. We have a very forward thinking school and school district. What individual teachers do in their classrooms is their own business (of course the methodologies being used are approved by admin). So, if two teachers are offering the exact same course (say biology) one may used a flipped format while the other doesn't. In my mind there are many approaches to instruction, and not one is "better" than another, ultimately it comes down to relationships with students.

What I have found is that the flipped class gives you far more meaningful time with students (either one to one or for projects based learning). Frankly, I don't really care what other people think of my practice, so as far as my colleagues are concerned, if they like it, great, if they don't, well, it's not their class to worry about.

The one difficulty you may come across is parents. People like to make excuses as to why they can't do the flipped homework (for example: watching an instructional video online). But all kids have the internet in their hands these days with smart phones. The instructional content is reviewed and used in class, so parents don't need to worry that their kids aren't getting relevant content. The videos and other multimedia content used as homework is often far less time consuming for a kid than traditional homework assignments. I think it's a good model and a fairly easy sell, especially when parents can watch and learn along with their kids (if they so choose).

Kev Lavery

Posted on 8/31/15 3:50:51 AM Permalink

Thanks Colin.

I think we will have some issues with the digital divide at the school I'm working with (there are often a few kids in each class who do not have the internet at home) but, we have that with most aspects of the school at the moment so that isn't really a deal breaker.

I'm actually most wary of how students respond to the difference in expectations between their flipped learning classrooms and their traditional ones. Obviously you aren't having any issues with that though if you have teachers running a similar courses in both format. Thanks for your responses. They have been an eye-opener. I think this is something I can see working for me going forward.


Ben Forta

Posted on 9/3/15 7:07:13 PM Permalink

Complete agreement with all Colin said. I'll add one thought, though. There will always be naysayers, including concerned parents. But the first time they see a student get up in class to "teach" what they learned the night before to their peers, those concerns seem to quickly dissipate (especially when it's the students who, in a traditional classroom, would have been one of the quieter ones). Change scares people, seeing students step up to take ownership and responsibility works wonders in combating the fears.

--- Ben

Kev Lavery

Posted on 11/8/15 11:07:39 PM Permalink

Thanks Ben,

I'm all for flipped learning and I think it is pretty well supported (at my school at least). I was mainly concerned with how my students would respond to doing something very differently than how they would in their other classes - it's an issue we face already in practical classes (I teach film and animation).

I have a new solution though - I'm just going to run PL for other teachers to get more people doing it. That way I don't have to worry about different expectations because it will be (at least acceptably) common. I've had about 15 teachers sign up for my PL so far (including some leadership) so it is looking pretty good.

cheers