As has been discussed previously, online or virtual classrooms, are excellent digital tools that allows you to do many things with your students. Maybe one of the best uses could be using it to ‘flip your classroom’. Getting into a discussion on the merits of such a teaching philosophy is a blog post in itself, so I will avoid such a debate. Instead this post will simply be about providing you with the details of how to do it using your online classroom.
However, before we begin, a brief overview of flipping the classroom is needed. Simply put, flipping the classroom, is based on the idea of having students learn a new concept out of the classroom, so that when students return to class the next day, that knowledge can be applied and greater critical thinking can take place. This attainment of knowledge can come from watching online videos, digital presentations, reading their textbook , news sources, or wherever the information is. The implications of this practice means that rather than spending 90% of class time learning a concept and using the remaining 10% applying it, ‘flipping the classroom’ allows the teacher to allot more time on ensuring students understanding and providing greater critical discussions around the topic.
I would hazard to guess that most teachers want to achieve such a result. Imagine walking into class everyday knowing that your students have learned the concept on their own, and are ready to engage in such activities? This is the Utopian model of teaching! However, it’s not easy; and in most cases it means a bit more ‘up-front’ work for teachers. It means teachers will need to organize, and in some cases, prepare a variety of digital resources for your students.
Step 1: Whether it’s a Prezi, PowerPoint, YouTube video, website, blog, or whatever it may be, these resources will be the required material that students access in order to learn new concepts. Therefore, lots of online researching is required and teachers need to accumulate a tremendous amount of digital resources.
Step 2: The next part is getting your students to buy into the concept. This is also easier said than done. However, the fact that you are using a digital platform to present information, students will more readily accept such learning. Much of their time is spent online anyway, and in many cases students would prefer this format. However, not every student will ‘buy into’ your model and this is where formative assessment plays a large role.
Step 3: One of the tools many virtual classrooms provides you with is the ‘assessment’ or ‘survey’ function. These functions allow you to create a quiz, test, or exam using questions you determine and input into the virtual classroom. They allow you to create any question type from multiple choice, to short answer, and therefore you can create a quick 10 question type quiz based on a resource you have asked your students to look at online. This follow-up and formative assessment will ensure your students are doing the required readings, video watching, or whichever learning you decide.
So what if your virtual/online classroom doesn’t have this tool. Well you can revert back to pen and paper and have a daily quiz when your students return to class the next day. Either way, you are ensuring your students are learning the concepts and following-up with them if they are not.
Online classrooms provide you with plenty of opportunities to engage your students. Using these tools to 'flip your classroom' could be what your students are asking for!