Differentiating with Flipped Learning

Differentiating with Flipped Learning

1. Why flipped learning? Flipped classroom is the integration of videos watched at home in an effort to achieve higher performing tasks in class. This practice is ideal for advanced coursework, but shows promise in differentiation across all levels.

2. How to implement? If you are in a larger department, have teams coordinate who will cover specific content. It is beneficial if you have universal guided notes as the expectations are all the same and allows fluid transitions from teacher to teacher.

If you are taking this on solo, it might be best to set goals such as two to three units a year. If you are extremely ambitious, the entire curriculum can be done in one year, but it will come at great cost with the immense additional workload. I recommend recording definitions/theorems with an adjoining idea or problem to connect new content. Providing recordings for each specific example seems tedious, but it allows the educator the freedom and flexibility of stopping for challenge questions and resume where they see fit. This is additionally beneficial as pacing for teachers may vary.

3. How do you sell it to your students? Dan Meyer, a high school math teacher, once said: "I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it." Perhaps you have felt similarly at one point or another and feel videos online may be a challenging task to get students to buy into. Be honest with your students and why the videos will help. In an AP class, show sample questions that exhibit the rigor. During Open House is another prime time to discuss with parents the process and what is expected. In turn, this should get more unilateral involvement. For our class, I had former students volunteer to be recorded and answer a short set of questions; here, they discussed their thoughts on the flipped classroom and how helpful they thought the videos were. Students are more apt to listening to their peers and parents which greatly assist.

4. What does a typical day look like? Students watch 20-30 minutes the night before of class content. When students come the following day, ask if there are any questions about the material before moving forward. After this, have a mini-quiz that should take no more than three to five minutes. This ensures students are watching the videos posted to allow smooth transition into the start of class. I also allow the use of their notes, but that is up to the teacher. From here, continue where you left off at the beginning of class for about 20-25 minutes of class. The remaining time is comprised with challenge questions, experiments, or other activities that engage, promote collaboration and require higher order thinking. At the end of class, have students discuss their ideas and reasoning. Make sure you also tell them what videos to watch for the next day depending on where you left off. This is merely a template and you can certainly mix things up as you see fit.

5. How can we use this for differentiation? Though it has tremendous impact at the higher levels, the flipped classroom can be used for differentiation to reach all students who need additional resources. RtI is a perfect opportunity to allow the flipped classroom to flourish. Here, we identify areas of weakness through target-based evaluations and improve those skills as students relearn content. I recommend an exit-slip or other formative assessment to ensure mastery. This truly allows educators to pinpoint areas of weakness and work at an individual’s specific needs. If you have laptops, you can have students move around to different stations while monitoring student progress.

6. What is the atmosphere generated like? When your students see the countless hours you are putting in for their success, there is a much higher level of respect and collaboration in the classroom. This is an underlying variable that is easily overlooked with the flipped classroom. Experiencing it first-hand, students go above and beyond for your class because they want to be equally invested. At the end of the year, I even had my proudest moment in teaching. Students rose to the call by conducting four times the expected recordings to hold each other and future classes to a higher standard.

7. What kinds of technology are out there? The YouTube Capture app is best for recording with the IPad or IPhone. Have a stand to place your phone/tablet to record problems underneath. From my experience, this is the cleanest and easiest way to get the job done!

SMART Notebook 15 is outfitted with a recorder that now can range from 20-30 frames per second. Be sure to have a good microphone connected to your computer as well. I use the Sony ECMCS3 clip style microphone. If your school has a Smart board, and you would like a more professional/clean look, this offers a great final product!

With more schools going 1:1, the Surface Pro 3 offers a great screen size for workspace, stylus for writing and essential hardware to generate recordings. I recommend an I5 processor or better with at least 4GB of RAM. Being a tablet, you can also have more flexibility of being mobile. If pricing is a concern, be sure to check out the Wacom Intuos digital writing pad as an alternative. Combine this with SMART Notebook 15 and Camtasia recording/editing software for excellent fluid videos at a higher frame rate. With Camtasia software, you can even incorporate quizzes!

What kind of tech hiccups should I expect? You will encounter technical issues as you incorporate the flipped classroom; it is an honest expectation. With these hiccups, it is easy to get frustrated and want to give up. The hardest time you will have is learning how to incorporate the best method for you. Go into this project knowing that, but know that when everything is in place, things are much easier to manage and enrich. Once over the learning curve, things work fluidly. One recommendation I can make is to plan ahead. Summers and weekends are ideal for recording. During the week can be a little much; especially as you are trying to plan for those enrichment activities or challenge content.

Do the benefits outweigh the cost?

  • Allows the teacher to take a step back, and enhances student discovery by putting the responsibility on the students. This is the heart of flipped.
  • Access anywhere with any device. Students have accessed their videos even with a cell phone.
  • Improved AP scores.
  • Differentiation.
  • Revisit specific content when needed.
  • Utilizing technology in a real and powerful way.
  • Asking higher order problem-based questions that promote critical thinking.
  • Allows more time for fun enrichment activities.
  • Better prepare for post-secondary online classes.
  • When students miss class, they can easily catch up.
  • Significantly reduces your tutoring time.

I’m sold, but where do I start?

The following is a how-to tutorial of the different technology discussed in this article:


Videos already made: http://dberthold.weebly.com/

Student testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELndJ9Gf5QE

See what others have to say: http://dberthold.weebly.com/

Other Resources: Khan Academy

Other inspirations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzMFdDT6FSA

Dustin Berthold teaches math at North Boone High School in Poplar Grove, IL