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

10 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 those whose schedules are so cram-packed with assignments from all of their other teachers.

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. I suppose that if flipped learning gives learners the chance to access our classes multiple times (rather than in a single session) and via a medium that they call their own, he’s not entirely wrong.

‘Flipped classrooms’ are one of those trendy terms at this year’s talk. I didn’t know exactly what a flipped classroom was, I must admit, but found out at the talk. You can find out (better than I could describe it) here.

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.

Some tools for flipping your classroom

Paid tools

Steven’s talk was one of the short 30-minute sessions, as it was paired with Lindsay Warwick’s talk which looked at flipped classrooms and their impact on motivation. This meant that Steven had to flip through the slides on various resources available for flipping the classroom, but here’s the list that is a good starting point for further exploration.

Paid tools

 Knowing that teachers always prefer freebies, we didn’t spend much time on these two.

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

Apps for flipping

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.

Steven also pointed out that a flipped classroom 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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