Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Using the Flipped Lesson to Personalize Learning

The flipped lesson, or inverted classroom, is an increasingly popular teaching technique that replaces the traditional classroom lecture with a video or some other electronic resource. Students work through the video or resource at home which allows class time to be used for hands-on activities, practice and discussion.

The use of a flipped lesson enables students to learn how they want - and when they want - which are both important elements of personalized learning. For example, a student who needs time to process concepts can proceed through a lecture slowly, pause where necessary, consult their textbook or rewind to hear an explanation again.

The personalization of this approach can be further enhanced if the teacher does not require all students to be on the same lesson each day. Once a teacher makes this transition, students will be able to learn when they are ready, when it suits their schedule … and the classroom will be a space where students are working on a variety of different tasks simultaneously.

At Greenwood College School, the flipped lesson has become integral to our blended learning program and our personalized approach. As our experience grows, we are developing an understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Here is a list of some of our best practices for the inverted classroom and our self-paced program:

  • Keep Videos Short. Rather than record the lecture that would normally be presented, create short concept videos and try to keep them less than 10 minutes.
  • Engage Students. Create a worksheet or notes template to accompany videos to ensure students are active participants.
  • Practice and Apply. Students are monitored to ensure that they are doing more than merely watching videos. Teachers ensure that students complete practice problems and work on more complex problems that promote higher order thinking skills and build on the content presented in the resource.
  • Vary the Resources. There are many other free tools in addition to a video that can be used to teach a concept.
  • Assess Frequently. As students become more self-directed and self-paced in their learning, it is essential to know their level of understanding and modify their program accordingly.
  • Cycle Back to Key Concepts. Through daily warm-ups, students are asked to revisit concepts that are key to the unit or course. Keeping these concepts fresh allows them to successfully build on these foundation skills.
  • Be Organized. If students are going to self-pace, resources must be well-organized and easy to access. Deadlines and expectations must be clear.

Kyle Acres
Science Teacher

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