Even if you are lucky enough to have two hours or more a week to deliver your computing lessons, you may feel there is not enough time to cover everything. One of things I have started to do, to make best use of class time, is to flip my classroom.
If you are new to the idea of the flipped classroom, the concept is simple: the flipped classroom essentially reverses the traditional way of teaching i.e. what is usually done in the classroom, such as lectures, is done as homework and what is usually done as homework is done in the classroom. The benefit of this model, particularly for teaching Computer Science, is that the teacher can spend more time interacting with students.
There are many ways to facilitate classroom flipping. In this post I explore some of these ways and look at tips for getting the most out your flipped classroom.
Otherwise known as vodcasting, the most common way to flip your classroom, is to use teacher created videos which students can view outside of the classroom. There are several ways that you can share your videos with your students – probably the most popular being YouTube (www.youtube.com) however, you can also use other video sharing sites such as SchoolTube (http://www.schooltube.com), TeacherTube (http://www.teachertube.com), or if your school has one, your schools own VLE. The added bonus of using video sharing sites such as YouTube is that videos can be grouped into playlists and embedded into any web based tools such as the school's VLE, wiki, blog or website. You can also add useful videos from other contributors to build your playlists. Students can follow the lecture for homework and use lesson time to explore concepts in more detail.
For examples of how you can use video tutorials to flip your computing classroom, visit Mark Clarkson's YouTube Channel: (http://www.youtube.com/user/mwclarkson)
A wiki allows groups of people to collaboratively develop websites with no prior knowledge or experience of website design. In the flipped classroom, a wiki can be used to host instructional videos and associated resources to introduce a concept or deliver a lesson. Students can then update the wiki and summarize what they have learned. Free tools such as PBWorks (http://pbworks.com/education) and Wikispaces (http://www.wikispaces.com) are ideal for creating classroom wikis. Wikispaces Classroom builds on the collaborative editing features of a wiki but includes some additional functionality to support the flipped classroom, features such as social interaction and formative assessment. Teachers can also monitor how often a student has read, edited or saved a page.
To find out more about how to use wikis in your classroom, click here.
This powerful web 2.0 tool allows you to organize and share content such as videos, images, documents and text using its intuitive drag and drop interface. The tool also allows you to create online lessons by embedding content from popular sites such as YouTube, Google, Vimeo, Flickr etc via its built-in search tool. You can also upload content from your computer, Dropbox or Google Drive.
Blendspace is ideal for flipping your classroom – students can research a topic at home and use lesson time more effectively. As a teacher you can monitor students progress and measure students understanding with the built-in quiz creation tool. You can even check to see if your students have actually viewed the resources you have shared with them.
Podcasts are a wonderful way of allowing both teacher and students to share their work and experiences with a potential huge audience over the Internet. A podcast is like a radio show however, instead of being broadcast live, a podcast is pre-recorded and then distributed over the internet or to a mobile device allowing your students to listen to them when and where they please, even on the bus ride home. There are plenty of ways to share your podcast, probably one of the most famous being iTunes however, another tool worth considering is Audioboo.
Audioboo is a free social-podcasting environment. With Audioboo, students and teachers can create podcasts (or boos) which can be shared with other social teaching tools such as edmodo.
Probably the best example of using podcasts to support the teaching of Computer Science are those by Alan O’Donohoe: http://audioboo.fm/users/104685/boos
With online tools such as CodeAcademy (http://www.codecademy.com), LearningStreet (http://www.learnstreet.com) and Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/cs), it has never been easier to learn how to code and now, thanks to such tools, it's never been easier to flip your computing classroom.
Using the flipped classroom model, students can learn the basic syntax outside the classroom thus allowing the teacher to use classroom time for problem solving and supporting students with practical tasks.
I’m not going to lie to you, flipping your classroom is not without it’s pitfalls however, get it right, and the results can be extremely rewarding. Here are some tips to help you along your way:
- Prepare your students. This concept will be as new to them as it is to you! Make sure that you share your expectations with the students and ensure that they understand the reasons for the change
- Use online quiz tools to test if students have understood the topic (Click here to find out more)
- Use monitoring tools such as those built in to wikispaces classroom and blendspace to ensure students are viewing your tutorials outside of the classroom
- Use forums, blogs, social networking tools or school’s VLE to provide support for students outside of lesson time
- Don’t go mad! You don’t need to flip every lesson plus you don’t want to overwhelm your students. Start small and build up the frequency of flipped lessons as you and your students grow more confident