Educators are flipping traditional learning on its head with a new learner-centered paradigm that reverses the typical lecture and “homework” elements of a course. The flipped classroom is being used to improve education everywhere from K-12 classrooms to professional development workshops.

There is no single model for the flipped classroom, but common elements include:

  • Students view prerecorded online video lectures outside of the class or meeting time.
  • Face-to-face time is spent solving problems or creating content together.
  • The design of the space emphasizes student-centered learning versus presenter-centered lecture and encourages collaboration between students.
  • An inclusive learning environment encourages on-site and off-site participants to connect with each other using built-in technologies.

ICS recently designed two flipped classrooms in The Pyle Center (UW-Madison) to be used for professional development, distance education, seminars and more. Below they share tips on how to create an engaging, learning-centered space.

7 tips for creating a flipped classroom

  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.