Perfecting the art
Kognity’s Abigail Bryant looks at how the use of interactive technology can enhance the effectiveness of flipping the classroom when teaching Grades 11 & 12.
Why we struggle to flip
One of the hottest buzzwords in education in 2016 – 2017 has been the “Flipped” Classroom. Flipping the classroom isn’t exactly a new method – it is now a tried and tested practice. It’s a type of blended learning, which according to multiple studies has already been shown to be an highly effective method of teaching. However one survey showed that the number one reason why teachers struggle to implement the Flipped Classroom approach is that teachers felt a lack of time. Given that technology seems to speed up most parts of our lives, we pose the question – could technology be the enabling factor to make the Flipped Classroom approach a viable one for more teachers?
Technology replacing teachers?
Many teachers have a fear that technology will replace them. The more optimistic view is that effective technology will make the teacher irreplaceable as they become the guide, mentor and inspiration for students’ learning. Flipping the classroom is one of the areas where we envisage technology truly helping teachers and students globally, and is one of the pillars for designing effective resources for teachers.
What is “Flipping the Classroom”?
In its essence, the flipped classroom is a dynamic, but for some a somewhat controversial, concept. Traditionally, the teacher lectures in the classroom, and the students go home and revise topics to aid their understanding. The Flipped Classroom flips tradition on its head. In the flipped classroom method, the student is exposed to and presented with new material outside of the classroom, usually in the form of a traditional textbook or a recorded video presentation that they watch at home.
When the students do get into the classroom, the time is used to apply the previously acquired theory in the form of problem solving and discussion. One of the biggest benefits of the flipped classroom is the quality of the time that the teacher actually gets with the students. Because teachers are spending less time lecturing students during class time they are able to focus their time on developing students ideas and discussions.
How can Technology help you to Flip the Classroom?
There are several ways in which technology can aid in flipping the classroom, These are two..
Use interactive content
Firstly if you’re going to ask students to prepare the theory at home, you need to have interactive content to keep them engaged. This is where technology – the Flipped Classroom approach is one of the cornerstones in how we’ve built our textbooks. Thus by providing interactive and curriculum specific content containing text, videos, animations, interactive graphs, and links to external sources, we are able to not only save time for teachers preparing to flip the classroom but to also provide engaging content that can be used in the classroom and at home.
Secondly, formative assessment is another a crucial yet time consuming part of flipping the classroom. Once again this is an area where technology can help teachers to not only set assessments but also to organise the data and information that is produced as a result.
It is important that students are able to track their progress as they work through the content giving them an insight into their own understanding of topics. Evidence shows that when formative assessment becomes a daily routine, there can be a 70% to 80% increase in the speed of student learning. We think that by providing tools to encourage formative assessment students are able to track their progress throughout the course.
The role of technology in teaching
Ultimately technology can be harnessed into a tool that reinforces and supports the hard work and dedication of great teachers. Our guiding principle comes down to one statement – technology has the potential to empower teachers, but never replacing them!
The Next Steps
Learning how to flip the classroom isn’t a matter of prescription, but a matter of inspiration. No one knows your students like yourself, so no one can tell you which approach will work best when flipping your classroom. However, we recommend teachers to embrace the use of technology when Flipping the Classroom to both save time and improve results. Technology will empower teachers to flip their classroom whilst saving them valuable time and most importantly boosting students to higher achievements. So now that we have hopefully spiked your interest in flipping your classroom, what are the next steps you can take in order to get started?
Abigail Bryant is Head of Support at Kognity, who produce a range of interactive digital texts designed to support learning for the IB Diploma.
Check out this helpful step-by-step guide to help you ease into the flow of things. Flipping Your Classroom: The Get Started Guide can help you answer the questions that you have and provide you with useful tips to make better use of technology in the classroom.
Title image from Farioff in Pixabay