Just like there are many ways to skin a cat (something most A&P teachers probably have extensive personal experience with!), there are also many ways to flip a class. The purpose of a flipped classroom is to motivate students to acquire the background knowledge necessary to participate in active learning during class time. There are only two main requirements to implement a flipped pedagogy.
- Students must come to class prepared. Techniques used to accomplish this task are limited only by the creativity of the instructor. Students can read the textbook, watch video lectures, complete interactive tutorials, take a quiz, build a model, make their own lecture, etc. I was excited to learn about one particularly intriguing approach at the annual conference in Vegas called the “External Brain”. The “External Brain” is a comprehensive resource that covers the content that would otherwise be delivered during lecture and it is a unique document built throughout the course by each individual student. Creating the External Brain guides students in preparing for class and encourages them to put the content into a form that is most helpful for them. To encourage students to build a high quality resource (and to reward them for their efforts), they are allowed to use their External Brains on a small portion of each exam. The result? Students come to class very prepared.
- Active learning must happen during class time. People have asked me why my students bother coming to class if I am delivering the lecture content online. This really is the magic of the flip. My students come to class because we are DOING things during class time that really help them learn the material! This is why simply asking your students to read the textbook before coming to lecture does not, alone, constitute “flipping”. You must then require students to USE the content that they just read, to engage in active learning.
Committing to flipping your class can be intimidating. But you might find it easier if you think outside the “there’s only one way to flip a class” (or a tire) box.
In the next post, I will talk about the Wendy-style flip and recording video lectures.