FLIPPING YOUR CLASSROOM - EXPERIENCES IN A FLIPPED LANGUAGE AND MATH CLASSROOM
M. van Ast1
, R. Njoo2
2Gerrit Rietveld College / APS (NETHERLANDS)
The term 'flipping the class' was first used by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, both Chemistry teachers. In short this relatively new concept is best described as a class in which the 'lectures' are watched at home and class time is used to work on. Njoo and Van Ast, both teacher and teacher trainer, share their own experience with their flipped classes.
A teacher who flips his class records his frontal instruction. Njoo and Van Ast used a program that records the computer screen and the audio, the text the teachers speaks out. The result of such a recording is called a screencast. The software Njoo and Van Ast used is Jing. With Jing they recorded their whiteboard, using their whiteboard software and a simple 'slate'.
Recording the screencasts took some time, at first. You have to have at least a little 'script' for every screencast. While recording you make little mistakes. But then again, you do in front of your class. The students will recognize your voice and they don't mind you saying 'uh' or correcting a little mistake. Once you realize those little 'mistakes' don't matter and once you get used to the software by using it a few times, the time that one recording takes is not much longer then the actual instruction in class would take.
Not all topics are suitable for a flipped class. So you have to think first which topics, which content you are going to explain to your students in a series of screencasts. In the experience of Njoo and Van Ast grammer was perfectly suited for language learning, but reading, writing and speaking were less suitable. And for math they found ‘algebraic skills’ more suitable then ‘geometry’ or ‘proving and reasoning’.
Flipping the class is a perfect way to gain time for the teacher to support his or her students in class, more tuned in to the individual needs of the students. The time that saves you can use for more ‘productive’ skills.
Students in your class obviously can't rewind your instruction. But with a screencast they can. And they can watch it over and over again. Not only as homework, but also in preparation for a test. So even if you don't believe in the power of a flipped classroom, screencasts with your instruction can really support your students.
The most asked question regarding flipping the class is: what do you do when your students don't watch the screencasts you gave them as homework. There is some good experience with combining screencasts and a simple online assessment. So besides a screencast you give your students a few questions, using an online assessment tool. You can check if your students answered the questions and thereby have some indication who watched the screencast and who didn't. And students can check themselves whether they understood the instruction in the screencast right. Even if you don't have time to check all the answers, the questions alone will maybe exercise some pressure to the students.
Most importantly, of course, is how students experienced the flipped classrooms. Students where very enthusiastic, for different reasons. One of the students put it this way: "When in class I have to listen hour after hour to my teachers. That's not so motivating and sometimes I really have to do my best not to fall asleep. But with the instruction video's, I myself choose when I watch them. So I'm really more motivated when I watch the instruction video's then when I watch the same instruction in class."