Thought about creating a flipped classroom but not sure how to get started? Already implemented the flipped classroom model and looking for ways to improve? ICS can help.

First off, what is flipped learning?

Flipped learning can be exemplified in a few forms,  but its basic design is centered around a collaborative learning environment for the students and not on a traditional lecture. Usually, this means presenting instructional content outside of a traditional classroom environment — online videos that are viewed at home, information provided through a Learning Management System (LMS), or simply required reading from a given text. Classroom time, then, is devoted to application of information through group activities, or students can use the time to clarify information so they learn at a similar pace as other students. If you’ve heard about active learning or problem-based learning, the flipped learning environment is perfect for meeting those pedagogical styles.

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Flipped learning isn’t limited to classical educational settings like schools — this “flip” on information-delivery and collaboration is also applicable in corporate trainings, department meetings, and staff development.

For a good example of flipped learning in action, take a look at the following video from a high school teacher in Colorado: Teaching for Tomorrow: Flipped Learning — via GOOD

For more introductory videos:

Flipping the Classroom Explained – via MediaCore

The Flipped Classroom Model – via MADDrawProductions

What a “flipped” classroom looks like – via PBS NewsHour

How do I get started?

“So… I just have to start recording all of my lectures, right?”

Just like there isn’t one uniform way to flip teaching or learning, there’s no one way to get started correctly — just start providing main blocks of information to people so they access that information outside of the traditional class or meeting time. Recording your current lectures is a good way to start because it won’t require a lot of additional work, but will provide information to learners who can use the repetition to increase retention.

“I don’t feel very comfortable being recorded…”

This is completely understandable, but I’ll make a couple of cases for the value of recording, even apart from moving to a flipped style of teaching and learning:

  1. It allows you to see your presentation or lecture as if you were one of your learners. You get to critique yourself, and refine both your message and your delivery.
  2. It starts creating an information repository, making teaching and learning more efficient. You don’t need to spend as much time covering the same information again with learners, when they can watch a video with that information multiple times. If a learner is absent for any reason, you can provide that information in the same format already provided to all other students, and the rest of the teaching and learning can continue on schedule.

Dr Lodge McCammon, at North Carolina St University, has created a series of videos that detail the benefits of not just flipped learning, but also in recording and reviewing your own presentations:

  • Free your time, free your mind — Recording lectures makes information-delivery more efficient because the traditional style is mentally exhausting and cognitively inefficient.
  • Rethinking the flipped classroom pitch — The greatest value of flipping teaching is in video-creation and self-critique.
  • Teach: the best assignment — The greatest value of flipping learning is the ability to have time for students to teach and learn each other, which is one of the highest levels of learning.

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If you don’t have access to recording or editing equipment, ICS has video productions services that are perfect for creating videos for flipped teaching and learning, including two types of recording studios — a full-production studio and a self-production studio. The Pyle Center also has several flexible classrooms specifically designed for flipped teaching and learning.

7 tips for creating an engaging flipped classroom experience

  1. Create professional-quality video lectures

“The video lecture is often seen as the key ingredient in the flipped approach,” according to Educause. “The flipped model has come to be identified with it.”

Quality video and clear audio are crucial to student understanding. A tool such as ICS WisLine Webcast allows you to capture and record professional-quality audio, video and content in one streamed media presentation viewable on the web.

2. Configure the learning space to facilitate small group work.

Video is key, but “flipped classroom” is not synonymous for “online videos,” educators say in The Daily Riff. “It’s the interaction and meaningful learning activities that occur during the face-to-face time that is most important.”

Group size is recognized as an important factor in the effectiveness of active and problem-based learning. Most studies have found the ideal group size is between three and six students. Consequently, the ICS flipped classrooms accommodate three small groups of four participants each (12 participants).

3. Configure for different activities and styles of teaching and 
learning.

Flipped classroom table and chairs overheadEnvironmental flexibility is a distinguishing feature of active learning spaces because it allows for multiple styles of teaching and learning while also affording learners choice and control over their environment.

To accomplish this flexibility, the ICS team furnished the flipped classrooms with trapezoid tables and nesting chairs that can be easily reconfigured and moved. Combining trapezoid tables can create complete hexagons for larger group activities.

4. Make it easy to share content, work and ideas with the group.

The trapezoidal shape of the tables in the ICS flipped classrooms allows four students to sit at each cluster with excellent views of the group computer screen and each other as well as access to technologies. A fixed table “dock” houses flip-top plugs for power and HDMI/VGA output so content on student devices (laptop/mobile) can be shared on the large screen.

Flipped room desktopICS installed a sophisticated control automation system that allows one group or the instructor to share content with all other groups and screens.

5. Accommodate distance participants

Each group station in the ICS flipped classrooms includes a computer and a conferencing webcam with built-in microphones and speakers for web-conferencing, video calls and recording. This enables students to connect to distance participants and experts as well as record group activity.

6. Support easy-to-use technology tools and a flexible learning environment.iPad

Each group station in the ICS flipped classrooms is designed to be a technology-rich environment. In addition to the large LCD screen, computer and HDMI/VGA connections, each dock contains a wide range of input dongles to support BYOD (bring your own devices), laptops and future technologies.

The overall control system is run from a simple interface on the instructor’s iPad. Wi-Fi offers the instructor the flexibility of sharing their screen from anywhere in the room, eliminating the “front” of the room as a distinct place. iPads were chosen over other platforms due to greater familiarity and ease of use.

7. Consult an instructional designer

According to a recent survey by Sonic Foundry, 75 percent of university faculty indicates that preparing for a flipped classroom takes more time than a traditional class. This preparation time can be reduced with the help of an expert instructional designer.

ICS instructional design consultation comes standard with a flipped room package. ICS designers meet with instructors to train them on technology tools and advise them on active learning resources, tools, best practices and lesson plans.

See a flipped classroom in action

Learn more about how flipped classrooms can be used for professional development, distance education, seminars and more on our web site, or contact Nate Jorgensen from our learning design team for a personalized tour of our new spaces at your convenience.

Read more about flipped teaching and learning

Educause: 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms

Harvard Education: Flipping for Beginners

Chronicle of Higher Education: Flipped Learning Skepticism: What About Technology?

Flipped Classroom Guide — An online guide put together by Sonic Foundry, a company that provides Mediasite technology. They’ve been helping educators make educational content for over a decade.