The Foundations of Flipping

Best Practices for Teaching Today
“Kids don’t show up to learn new stuff.  They show up to apply the things they’ve learned at home.”
Aaron Sams
As a new teacher, I often seek advice from other mentors.  Because of the strong mentors I’ve been fortunate to have, I feel like I’ve grown so much over the past few years.  Both my public and private school experiences have provided me with master teacher mentors within the building, opportunities to learn from district leaders and trainers, chances to travel across the country to attend workshops given by some of the most sought after educational consultants, and they’ve provided me with tools to enhance my classroom instruction.  Additionally, I’ve leveraged the power of Twitter to expand my network and connect with innovative educators around the world.  Advice that all of these mentors have in common is the importance of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  How do we get students to reach higher levels of learning?

Research indicates that students learn best by doing (the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating).  Because projects that incorporate these levels of cognition take time, they’re often not included into the curriculum.  The flipped model helps to solve this issue.

Become the Guide on the Side – not the Sage on the Stage

What is The Flipped Classroom?

I’ve learned from many great teachers before me that the idea of a flipped classroom is nothing new.  While the term ‘flipped class’ is a trendy new catch phrase, the idea of the flipped classroom model is something teachers have been practicing for years.  
Defined: The flipped classroom is an instructional  method used to engage students at home through the use of video in effort to enhance the classroom experience by a more hands-on approach to learning.

Flipped Classroom

Examples of The Flipped Classroom:
When I reflect back upon the classes I enjoyed the most in high school, two classes immediately come to mind: my elective debate class and my junior year American History class.  I remembering diving deep into current events and controversial social and political issues in hopes of being able to have my voice heard, questioned, challenged, and agreed with during rich class discussions.  In each of those classes, my teacher (coach) encouraged us to extend our learning beyond the classroom.  We took ownership of our learning by conducting research, clipping articles, organizing files on popular topics, archiving content, comparing resources for a more valid and current publisher, analyzing each other’s opinions, and learning to appreciate alternative perspectives.  This discussion lit a fire in each of my peers as we knew we had to come prepared each day in effort to get the most out of each class period.  I didn’t take this ambitious approach towards my other classes because I knew that my voice wasn’t the important voice to be heard.  In those other classes, I accepted that the teacher would feed us information, and we’d be expected to demonstrate understanding by filling out a comprehensive study guide and circling answers on a faded multiple choice exam.  I still find it fascinating that I can recall who the former president was of the Worldwatch Institute.  I use to quote his research in many debate topics revolving around Global Warming.  I enjoyed getting to discuss real world issues with my friends.  
I loved watching the news at home with my dad and being able to come into class and discuss what was happening locally and around the world with my classmates.  Our teacher would often question us to determine why these instances were happening.  Naturally, our conversations led to discussions into our culture and history.  Because we already had background knowledge on a particular topic or event from our research at home, we often participated in mock trials and did dramatic interpretations of past events during class time.  Doing projects in class and collaborating with classmates really enhanced our understanding and our engagement for the material.  
Today, examples of flipping your classroom use a different medium.  Instead of using television or news articles to have children explore content to discuss the next day, teachers are using interactive videos or screencasts to have children explore the content at home.

Just Click Play to Watch…

Using Educreations, here is an example Jennifer made for a math lesson.

Using Educreations, here is an example I made for a math lesson.

Using Camtasia Studio, here is an example a student created on Mathtrain.TV.

Using Educreations, here is an example Allistair made on The Skeletal System.

You can click here to see several examples of videos teachers have created to flip their class.

Finding resources and examples to flip your classroom is simple.  You have a few choices:

  • find resources from others
  • create resources yourself

Finding Resources to Use Without Having to Create Your Own:

Personally, I believe this model is best served by having the teacher create his or her own content.  However, I know there are some amazing resources already available.  Borrowing resources is a good place to start when you’re collecting ideas on how to being creating content of your own.  Seeing great models of flipped videos will only help better your creative process.  Additionally, creating all of your own content can be time consuming when you’re first starting to adopt a flipped classroom model.

Here are a few of my favorite resources for finding video lesson content:

  • Khan Academy: over 3,200 educational videos
  • Snag Learning
    Watch educational videos and documentary films by grade level and classroom subject.
  • Neo-K12
    Kids science, math, social studies, history, geography and other educational videos, lessons, quizzes and educational games for K-12 grade kids 
  • StudyJams
    Aligned with state curriculum standards, StudyJams! takes math and science problems and presents them using relevant, real-world examples students can learn for fun!
  • 25 Best Sites for Free Education Videos: a great collection of resources
  • ShowMe, Educreations, ExplainEverything, and ScreenChomp are also great archives for teacher created content via tablet whiteboarding
  • Watch.Know.Learn: free videos organized by subject area
  • FlippedHistoryVideos: a collection of YouTube videos for history

You can also check out Jerry’s page on his Cybraryman site: 

Creating Your Own Content:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

One of my favorite resources for creating content is Camtasia Studio by TechSmith.  TechSmith has also recently launched an amazing collection of resources to support teachers getting started with The Flipped Classroom model.  You can click here to see this great resource.

TechSmith’s Education Community for The Flipped Classroom

I highly recommend joining The Flipped Classroom Network, too.  Click here to become a member.

I have made annotated videos via my iPad.  My favorite resources for tablet vodcasting can be seen here.

What Are Others Saying About The Flipped Classroom?

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with some amazing friends about two popular topics: #beyondthetextbook and #flipclass.  After Discovery Education unveiled the news about the Techbook, I was fortunate enough to have a few Skype conversations with  friends who were invited by Discovery to attend their conference.

I especially enjoyed chatting with Audrey Watters, author of Hack Education.  Though she and I appreciate the forward moving steps Discovery is making, we both agreed that it would be nice to have information remain open source.  Here is what Audrey had to say about flipped learning…

I have mixed feelings about the “flipped classroom.”  I’m not a fan of homework, for starters. And I worry that when “flipping” involves technology, that we’re overlooking access issues.  That is, not everyone has hardware, software, high-speed Internet access at home. 

But if there’s one great positive about all of this buzz about “flippping,” I’d say that it’s forcing us to have a conversation about our teaching practices.  What does it mean to lecture?  What do we gain and what do we lose when this form of instruction dominates?  What do we expect students to glean from textbooks and reading assignments?  How are we using class time? Do we offer enough personalized attention to students?  Are students sitting and listening or are they making and doing?  Even without a “flip,” I hope that we’re now recognizing the importance of making time for more of the latter.

Wes Fryer shares amazing resources and ideas through his blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity.  He and I talked for quite some time about projects our students have created.  I really enjoyed this exciting exchange of dialogue because it was inspiring to view the work created by children.  Seeing these projects really helped me to see how much went into the process of learning.  Because many of the children were given time in school, these projects were possible.

Three people that I love to learn from and collaborate with were kind enough to write a quote for a whitepaper I was asked to write for TechSmith.  I’d like to share their thoughts with you on flipped learning.

“The flipped classroom represents a major shift in learning for students. Now, students can master concepts at their own pace, away from school and spend valuable time in the classroom, remediating or extending learning, again, at the pace of individual students. Then think of the possibilities. Once students master topics, they create the videos for others who may be struggling or want to explore other areas of learning.”

flipped approach to learning is becoming a widely popular pedagogical
technique.  When structured properly and
used at opportune times, it transforms the teachers’ role into that of a
facilitator of learning.  The end result
is a more student-centered approach to instruction that allows students to
actively apply what they have learned from content outside of school to
demonstrate conceptual learning.”

“Flipped Learning gives teachers new ways to connect
with and create alongside their students. 
This isn’t a face to face event anymore. 
Teachers (and students) can be creating content and having rich
discussions that benefits everyone; inside and outside of class.”



Mother. Teacher. Keynote. Author

Erin Klein is an award winning educator, national keynote speaker, author, and mother.

  1. Thank-you, for taking the time to put this site together. As an administrator, I am always looking for great ideas to take back to my teachers! We have been discussing the flipped classroom, but having this resource with examples is amazing!

  2. Thank you for this post. I came across it through pinterest. I have been thinking about using this framework for my fifth grade math class. I am on the midst of doing some research so this information is much appreciated.


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