Fortunately, more and more teachers are becoming eager to make a change in schools, classrooms, and education”. Raúl Santiago reassures us that the success of flipped classroom depends entirely on them. He is a professor of the University of La Rioja (UR) School of Education (Spain). He is also a coordinator of theflippedclassroom.es, which has already gathered nearly 600 experiences of teachers of all subjects and educational levels, with a wide variety of methodologies and who have already been changing the way they organise their lessons.
Javier Tourón , a professor of Research and Diagnostic in Education at the University of Navarra (Spain), dedicates a significant part of his blog (javiertouron.es) to explaining and analysing the flipped classroom. In his view “the term is used to describe almost any type of class that offers pre-recorded videos or podcasts complemented by a series of exercises in class, where the students can view short videos (five to ten minutes) accompanied by online activities so that the teacher can provide immediate feedback, give additional explanations, and clear up any confusion in class”.
It is therefore a good framework for teaching innovation. The main objective is to make the most of the class time by assigning tasks and activities that are usually carried out in class to be completed at home.
In this approach, the student can go back to the fragments of the video which she did not understand fully, and prepare some questions which will be answered in class later. The teacher’s role, apart from clarifying doubts, is to facilitate a space where the students can create, collaborate and put into practice what they have learned outside the classroom. Thus, it is a pedagogical model where the typical class structure is reversed: we assign the lecture as homework and the homework to school. It gives the teacher extra time in class to work with each student individually and to learn more about her needs and progress made. The students, on the other hand, have the opportunity to ask questions and solve problems in the presence of the course instructor. All of this fosters creativity and allows for collaborative learning.
Carmen González Franco, ICT coordinator and Chief of Studies of Bachillerato (Higher Secondary Education) of the “Champagnat” Marist school in Salamanca (Spain), sees it important to emphasize the idea that “students participate in the learning process using critical thinking and complex problem solving”. The flipped model students are active constructors of knowledge, leading debates practicing under guidance of the pedagogue. Ms González highlights the importance for “the students to come up with their own solutions to the problems they face through collaborative learning in class and can ask questions that go beyond what is initially set in the curriculum”.
However, there should be no doubt that proper functioning of the model depends highly on the teacher’s own work. First of all,the teachers need to be well informed, familiar and updated with all available resources and teaching tools for organizing a flipped class. On the website of Professor Raúl Santiago theflippedclassroom.es we can find many programs and applications that can be very useful for lesson preparation.
Tourón warns that the flipped classroom “requires careful preparation, implies extra work, and new skills on the part of the teacher, (the work load lessens once the new model is introduced gradually)”. The professor of the University of Navarra stresses the change of the traditional roles, where the teachers take on the role of facilitating learning, replacing the traditional role of the teacher imparting knowledge to a set of students and contributing more to the collaborative learning”.
For Raúl Santiago, “it is very important to impart relevant content”. According to the UR professor, “it is not enough to simply watch the video, but to re-enforce it with questions which make the students think, analyze things, propose answers and be active learners”.
That way, if the activity is well designed, the teacher will be able to detect potential difficulties that the student might have had while studying the content prior to arriving in the classroom, since she will obtain that information thanks to the technology. Right now teachers can already design an activity to be done in class based on the prior evaluation: whether she is going to work with the whole group, or if she is going to focus on those students who demonstrate more difficulties, whether she is going to work in groups or pairs, etc.
In this regard, Raúl Santiago warns that “the full advantage is being taken from the “flipped” model by means of active methods, which, additionally, use systems that recently have become very popular, like gamification and mobile devices”. The mixture of the emerging technologies, inductive methods, innovative pedagogical models and of the new assessment systems is what really makes it successful.
FLIPPING MUSIC CLASS
Antonio Jesús Calvillo is a music teacher in the IES “Cristóbal Colón” of Sanlúcar de Barrameda High School in Cádiz (Spain). He has flipped his music classes with his 4th-year high school (ESO) pupils. In his videos, he covers the main blocks of his subject, which will be put into practice later in his class.
He uses a digital camera and then transfers the video footage to a computer. He assembles the video clips and images with Emovie, Screenflow and Premier Pro. Afterwards, he uploads the videos to Musicawa and YouTube. Apart from that he has created a Moodle page where he publishes the videos that cover all didactic units, which go accompanied by questionnaires in order to strengthen the input and guarantee effective learning results. The students can count on over 300 videos designed specifically for the 4th year of ESO.
“If I can do it, anyone can” says Antonio Jesús Calvillo encouraging his fellow teachers. “All you need is the urge for innovation and time, but the student’s results are impressive”.