3 fresh ways to flip your classroom

Flip the way you deliver content and engage students, but don’t stop there: flipping your space, your community and faculty meetings can be just as useful.

What does “flipping” your classroom look like?

The flipped classroom idea involves leveraging any and all technology to deliver content so that you, as the educator, can maximize the amount of time you spend interacting with students instead of lecturing. So simple it’s genius! Below, Edmunds Middle School educators Matt Chandler and Liz Clements talk about how flipping the classroom has produced exciting results:

With exciting new tools like Tellagami and Voxer, you can create a virtual you to deliver lesson instructions while a video plays in the background. Or the real you can use apps like DooInk and Touchcast‘s green-screen functions to place your instructions in the middle of the action.

But it doesn’t have to end there.

1. Really flip your classroom: rearrange your space

Look at the space you and your students occupy for so much of the day and think about how it could be re-arranged to be more conducive to learning. Where do you do your best learning? What does that space look like? What elements of that space can be brought into your school building?

3 fresh ways to flip your classroom
Inside the Winooski iLab. Image source: @ErikaBTV

The iLab space at Winooski Middle School has been expressly designed to look, feel and operate very differently from a conventional classroom space. From windows looking directly onto the library, to a central collaborative couchspace and vibrant wall and chair colors, a huge amount of thought has gone into how real people use and learn with technology.

The Nerdy Teacher took photos of his classroom and marked them up with Skitch and Evernote, to show how students were using — and not using different portions of the space. He used the photos to identify physical barriers between him and his students, and brainstorm ways to eliminate them and use the space more invitingly. He went and sat in some of the student desks so he’d know what his students were looking at. A change of perspective always stimulates learning.

2. Flip the walls down: make the community your classroom

With the increasing presence of mobile devices in schools, it’s becoming easier for students to get out into the community and create amazing ways to engage with community members and places. How about:

  • Prep your students to attend a community event, such as a social justice work forum or a City Council meeting, then having them interview community members or each other directly afterwards;
  • Pairing them up with a community organization or individual to do locally relevant research, like on a lake ecosystem or a labor or transportation impact issue;
  • Have them document and work with a community organization on producing a PSA and tracking its online impact.

21st century schools and tech extend way beyond the classroom.

3. Flip your faculty meeting

This week on the twitter chat #edchat, one of the topics was how to flip your faculty meeting — how to turn regularly scheduled gatherings of faculty and administrators from boxes on a calendar to genuine, productive learning spaces.

And the suggestions were some real game-changers:

Which of these 3 fresh ways to flip your classroom will you try this year?

Audrey Homan

Audrey Homan is a Vermont-based digital media producer, and producer of The 21st Century Classroom podcast. She's worked in non-profit communications for more than a decade, and in her spare time writes tiny video games and mucks about with augmented reality and arduinos, ably assisted by five dogs. Interviewing students and yelling in PHP are the best parts of her job.

7 thoughts on “3 fresh ways to flip your classroom

What do you think?