When I first started my career as an instructor, I remember my boss giving me a folder of information about “flipped learning”. I remember this clearly, because it sounded like a cool concept. I also remember filing it away, because as a new instructor, I felt like I should focus on the basics of teaching before I branched out into cutting edge concepts. This included using PowerPoints, assignments, and evaluations that had been created by previous instructors. Sure, I added my own spin and incorporated some fun hands-on learning, but I felt like I was regurgitating someone else’s knowledge.
Reading through my resources has shown me that I actually am incorporating some of these techniques already, and they have given me ideas on how I can do more.
I have the opportunity to use my creativity to plan flipped activities. One suggestion was to loop a slide deck at the beginning of class. I actually did this last week and I will test it out on my next class. My theme was “Play” and I added pictures, quotes, and information to provoke discussion. If I am getting bored with lecturing, I can be sure that the students are as well.
The opportunities for students to lead their own learning is incredibly valuable. Pairing this with collaboration with others in the class offers new ways of looking at the material. Sharing what they already know and have experienced gives them self-confidence and a sense of community/belonging. In addition, when students are accountable for their learning, they (ideally) tend to put forth more effort. My goal is to now explore ways that I can keep the students accountable in doing the prep work.
Back the beginning of my journey for a moment. I thought that the term “flipped learning” meant having the students teach themselves and the class the material they needed to know. I like the definition where FLIP means “Focus on your Learners by Involving them in the Process.”