IATEFL Liverpool: Steven Bukin’s The Flipped Classroom – From Theory to Practice in ELT

06 Apr

Steven started off with references to a few resources to back up flipping the classroom: Jonathan Bergman’s Flip Your Classroom and the success of educator Salman Khan, who began by simply making educational videos for his nephew and has since gone on to speak around the world the Khan Academy that he created based on his success.

According to Steven and his resources, flipping the classroom can help struggling students with poor outcomes as well as overscheduled students who may have too many assignments.  He advanced the controversial idea that much of what we do in class leads only to superficial learning. By flipping the classroom, we can help deeper learning take place within our students.

‘Flipped classrooms’ are one of those buzz words of the moment. I didn’t know exactly what a flipped classroom was. I found out at the talk.

Did you know that the most common model for classrooms today—a teacher working on the same thing at the same time with a big group of students–dates to the 19th century industrial revolution, when society needed similarly-trained workers? Flipping speaks the language of today’s students, and even today’s teachers (Russell Stannard’s anyone?) Steven also reassured us that flipping is rather easy to do given the right tools and a bit of training.

Benefits of flipping

Continuous enrolment greatly benefits from flipping. New students can catch up on what’s been done without the teacher having to repeat the same lessons.

Flipping  supports differentiation as students can go through the lesson as much as they need.

Flipping  allows teachers to better support students in person in class rather than doing all the teaching and support in the class time slot.

Flipping provides ready-made review and consolidation as well as being student-centered because the students take responsibility for their learning.

Paid tools

  • Snagit
  • Camstasia

Free tools

  • Jing: free, web-based screen-capture , 5 min. per video, no webcam
  • Screencastomatic: free, web-based, with a webcam
  • Brainshark: free, web-based, 100mb limit, easy to use, upload many document types, no webcam
  • 15-minute limit, 3 free videos per month, upload a power point to go with the webcam presentation

Flipping apps

Educreations: This free app is like the modern version of the etch-a-sketch. It’s multi-platform, meaning it is usable on a computer or on an iPad, for example. You can record the audio and write at the same time, then save the files and share them with students.

Explain everything: an incredibly powerful iPad app for creating visually interesting and animated lessons. You can cut and paste pics, manipulate and move them around for a fun lesson. Steven also suggested getting students to create lessons to share with their classmates.

He ended by saying that the video itself is not the important thing. What’s important is the time you free up for real interaction and connectivized (which I just invented—it’s as in connectivism– to avoid “connected” and its tech connotations) learning inside the classroom.

Also, he pointed out that it does seem to lead to better retention. The student can watch the video the night before the lesson, which gives more time to mull over the lesson and reflect on it. By slowing down the learning, it helps to speed up the acquisition. Yes, it will take a time investment on the part of the teacher, but the return on investment looks promising.


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