- Use EDpuzzle (or similar) to set and monitor videos
- Set a couple of diagnostic questions with the video to help plan the lesson
- Take advantage of the extra time in class by getting lots of practice
- Start the lesson by reviewing the material - a question or discussion raised from the homework questions
I started to flip some of my classes two years ago. I started with my class just starting on the IGCSE in the first year, and after some positive feedback from students, as well as evidence of good progress (both academically, but possibly more importantly, in students independence), I decided to expand slightly last year. I continued it with my IGCSE class, did it with my Year 10 class sitting the IGCSE and Additional Maths simultaneously, and also with my IB Standard Level class.
So what have I discovered about this method of teaching? Some practicalities on the homeworks first...
Firstly, it is a lot of work. I have been using videos for the homeworks, and for each objective, I need to find or make a video. I have been trying to produce my own videos for the IGCSE content, as I have found that the students react better to material produced by me than by other teachers, but that is very time consuming. If I do not make my own video, I need to find one that I like and that teaches the material in a way consistent with my own teaching. That means watching it first, which is also time consuming.
Secondly, early on I realised I needed some kind of accountability for the students. There needed to be a way for me to check they had watched the video. I started with questions in class, but this proved difficult to guarantee they had watched it. I then started to use Google Forms to create 2 or 3 questions for students to complete on the video before class, so I could check their basic understanding, and have something concrete to know they had done something. This worked well, but was also time consuming to set up, and still didn't guarantee they watched the video (copying homework in our school can be a big problem). Eventually I found EDpuzzle, which is an excellent tool, I talk about below.
Thirdly, find a way to set the videos. Most schools have an online system now where you can set a link direct to the video. This works well. But EDpuzzle also takes care of this. You can import a video directly or from YouTube (or any number of other video sites), and cut it to only be the bit that you want (cut out the long introduction or the finale). You can then add annotations to the video which pop up as the student watches the video. These could be voice notes or typed notes. Best of all, you can add questions (open or multiple choice) throughout the video. Best of all, students sign up to a class, and then you can see exactly how much each student has done (how much of the video they watched, did they skip bits, their answers to the questions). All this is visible in real time, so you can check before the lesson if they have done the work, and identify any misconceptions. It also tells you when they did it (I have had to talk to a couple of students about sensible working times when it was registered at 3am).
But the homeworks are only half the story. You also have classtime, so how does this work in the flipped model?
Other than developing independence in students, the main benefit of this method of teaching for me is the time it opens up in class for students to do maths. I can give students more challenging problems as I and their peers are there to discuss the problems with. For those who need more practise of the basic skills, they have the safety net of being able to ask whilst they are doing the question. For those more confident, they can move to more challenging questions more quickly.
I always start the lesson with a starter based on the video. Sometimes this is one of the questions I attached to the video, if several students struggled with it. I then get one of those who got it right to explain how they did it, or get students to discuss their methods in their pairs. If there were a lot of problems arising from the video, I will get students to discuss these, and I will always review the key points, usually going through a final example based on the video, asking the students how to do it. Also, at the end of each video I include a question asking if the students have any questions on the content. I use this time to talk to individuals about these, or sometimes discuss them with the class if they point to a key misconception.
This is followed by jumping straight into questions. For exam classes, this has proven a great way to get them practicing more questions, especiaclly moving on to exam questions more quickly.
And what about for the students' learning?
Well this very much depends on the student. As I have mentioned, this method is really good at developing student independence. We have moved through the course significantly quicker than before, which allowed more time to do revision at the end, but in future I would make sure to do more practice in class at the time, with a larger variety of tasks. For my additional maths class, this has given me a lot of scope to get through the material for both courses in the time allocated, something we have struggled with in previous years.
I would not say that I have evidence that the results are better, but they are certainly no worse than those classes I have taught using the traditional method. With the thrown in benefit that students are visibly more independent, and have a better work ethic, I think this method has its advantages. It also provides the students with a good set of revision resources.
Some key points that I have learnt:
This year I am going to continue to use the flipped classroom with my Additional Maths class in Year 11 and my IB Standard Level class in Year 13. I am not going to use it with my IB Higher Level class in Year 12 since it is the first time I will be teaching this course, and want to teach it through once first, but next time I teach the course, I would definitely strongly consider it. Similarly, in my Year 7 class, I want to use a more traditional approach, though I will probably use elements of the flipped classroom through the year (such as the odd homework).
I am a maths teacher looking to share good ideas for use in the classroom, with a current interest in integrating educational research into my practice.