Flipped learning was an idea that I came across last summer. In its simplest form, it involves giving children instructional presentations to watch as videos at home (presentations that might otherwise have been whole-class inputs) rather than traditional homework. This frees up more classroom time for the application and extension of these skills.
In principle I liked the concept. Visible Learning by John Hattie highlighted the relative ineffectiveness of homework, specifically in primary maths for lower attaining children. He explained that that when a lower-attaining child is unable to complete homework independently, their negative perceptions of themselves as learners are increased. Also, children are often not able to get the immediate feedback that they need to learn form challenging homework tasks. Also, I’ve lost count of the number of hours I have spent dutifully marking homework, without ever being convinced about its impact.
The basic premise is that foundational skills and ideas will be presented to children in their homework videos. Children have the ability to pause and re-watch the video if they haven’t fully understood anything, and it can also be used as a reference when completing work. Questions are presented for children to complete, then the solutions are modelled. Children can then let you know if there are any areas they need more support with.
We use Explain Everything on the iPad to make the videos. Generally speaking the videos would be between 5-9 minutes long, with spaces on the video for children to pause and complete questions. I tend to create two videos, one which I call ‘Getting Secure’ and the other ‘Aiming Higher’ – the children decide which video they watch. I usually record the Aiming Higher video, save it and then re-save it as Getting Secure. Then I edit the Getting Secure video to make it slightly easier, meaning that I’m not making two videos from scratch. I then upload the videos onto the school YouTube channel, and embed the video onto the school website.
Here’s the page with the Autumn term flip videos, made by myself and my partner year 6 teacher.
The reaction to flipped learning from both parents and children has been extremely positive. Where children were struggling to access the homework, we’d make the necessary arrangements to make sure that they could see the videos. We also designed homework diaries for children to complete their workings in for each video. Parents sign the journals to confirm that the child have watched the video and children can write how well they have understood the content.
After originally posting this blog I received lots of great feedback on the idea (not that the concept was mine!). However, I also received one message in which a teacher felt upset by the blog, as the person felt it was unrealistic – on top of their rigorously planning lessons – to expect them to spend a long time preparing homework. I’ve got three responses to this:
1. I TOTALLY understand the time pressures that teachers face. I’m a Y6 class teacher, AHT and have always battled to manage my workload. I empathise entirely with that viewpoint and would never want to suggest adding to a teacher’s workload.
2. Now I’m practiced at making the videos, flipped learning has overall saved me time as responding to the homework is so much more efficient. Also, I believe it had it a significant impact on the children’s learning.
3. Next year I will share as many of my videos as possible so people can use them with their own classes if they see fit. I’ll post them on my Facebook/Twitter feeds. They aren’t perfectly polished, but come with one quality control: I consider them good enough to use with the children in my class. I know other people are also willing to share: