Ready, Set, Go! How To Make Your Flipped Classroom Work

You’ve decided that you’re going to flip your classroom and you’ve even convinced some of your fellow teachers to get involved! After taking inspiration from other educators who are already using an inverted classroom approach, you’re full of ideas on how you can improve the learning experience for your students.

Now that you’ve prepared your flipped classroom, what are the practical steps you need to take to get started? And what are some of the common pitfalls to avoid? Here are a few key tips and hints that we’ve picked up from universities and colleges we work with who are already flipping the classroom.

Talk to your students – why the flipped classroom? How will it affect them?

If your students haven’t had a flipped classroom experience before, it’s likely to be a culture shift for them. The expectation that they will watch recorded material in advance could provoke two less-than-positive reactions that you’d want to mitigate against:

  • First, students might not immediately recognize how essential it is to do the pre-lesson work, and thus may come unprepared for the face-to-face session.
  • Second, students could mistakenly view this approach as the teacher merely putting the onus on the student to teach themselves.

Both issues can be resolved by making it clear to your students how the flipped classroom will work in practice, what they need to do to get the most out of it, and most crucially, what they stand to gain from it.

Once students realise that in the face-to-face, interactive class they will only truly be able to participate if they’ve put the work in upfront, our customers tell us that the majority will happily watch the recorded content.

And as for the idea that flipping the classroom means less engaged teaching, as flipped educators know, the exact opposite is true! Students that take part in flipped classrooms quickly learn that it frees up a teacher’s time to cover content in greater depth or to foster discussion, collaboration and group work. Making students aware that this is the case upfront will make them much more receptive to flipping from the outset!

Have a clear plan for your face-to-face time

Having recorded your lectures or bite-sized learning chunks and distributed in advance for students to watch, it’s crucial that all the face-to-face time you now have is used to best effect.

Many first-time flippers are nervous that students might only watch the recordings and not come to the live sessions at all. But with a well-thought-out and enticing programme of activities for this contact time, some flipped educators have actually seen increased attendance compared to their lecture-based live sessions.

So, how do you optimise in-class time? A few ideas:

  • Have students come to class ready with questions they have from the pre-lesson viewings and hold an interactive discussion session.
  • Run a quiz during class time, based on what students learned in your videos.
  • Encourage students to prepare their own presentations so that they can share their particular spin on the video lectures with the rest of their peers.

There are myriad possibilities and by sending out a format for the flipped classroom time in advance, it will both help students plan better and get them inspired so that contact time is more meaningful.

Make sure everyone is included

When you make classes more interactive and discussion-based this can sometimes result in more confident students leading and quieter students taking a more passive role. It’s therefore particularly important in a flipped class setting to identify the students that might need more encouragement to voice their views and find ways to engage and empower them to participate fully.

If you want to start flipping your classes, Panopto can help. Request a demo to find out more about how other institutions are using our system to flip, or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Published: May 08, 2014