This is an excerpt from a chapter in my blended learning book (in progress) on flipping instruction using online discussions.
In the traditional classroom delivery of content takes place within the walls of the classroom and homework is usually an extension of that work which requires students to review and apply the information they learned. Within this model, students are isolated at home during the practice phase, which often requires the most coaching, correction, and collaboration. Many teachers feel it is a waste of class time to have students silently taking notes, when they could be working together in small learning communities.
The concept of the “flipped classroom” explores the ways technology integration can allow teachers more flexibility in their classrooms. The flipped classroom refers to a course in which the instructor is delivering content online outside of class, then using time in class to support group work, wet labs, or application practice. For many teachers time limits their ability to both provide necessary content specific information and engage students in meaningful activities. This frustrates many instructors who realize that the hands-on application is a critical step in progressing up Bloom’s pyramid beyond simply remembering and understanding to analysis, evaluation, and creation. Accessing these higher level thinking skills requires that students work with the information provided to make sense of it.
Online discussions using a learning platform with multimedia embed opportunities can allow teachers to present both videos and lecture notes online for students to watch, review and take notes on while pairing it with discussion questions.
Presenting information inside a frame by pairing it with a discussion question or task makes the information more meaningful. For example, if a teacher asks her students to view the Khan Academy video describing the stages of meiosis online to prepare for a lab, the amount of information retained will be lower then if they are asked to engage in a discussion online about the video. If the teacher embeds the Khan video into a discussion question that asks them to choose one stage in the process to describe in detail, then they will have applied what they learned and remember more of what they heard. The discussion questions can vary in difficulty depending on the level of students. Basic discussion questions might ask students to restate part of the lecture, while more complex questions might ask students to apply or make connections between concepts.
5 (of 10) Strategies for Flipping Your Classroom with Online Discussions:
1. Embed a video- either self produced or uploaded from an online resource- for students to view, then pair with a discussion question to reinforce understanding and drive evaluation, analysis, and synthesis.
2. Ask students to research a topic online and engage in an online discussion about their topic, then pick up in class to build on the information gathered during research/discussion. Students can present information on their topic to the class.
3. Provide lecture notes in the form of a PDF online and ask students to annotate, then share 3 annotations online to drive a discussion about the reading.
4. Upload part of a documentary or lab for students to view and pair with a discussion question about the content of video clip. In class, use the information in video clip and discussion highlights to drive in class work/discussion.
5. Provide a series of questions for students to work with and discuss online. In class revisit any areas of weakness or challenge. Allow students to group up and practice the types of questions/problems they struggled with online allowing face-to-face collaboration with peers…
Chapter also discusses tips for educators interested in flipping their classroom to maximize class time. I welcome any feedback, advice, additions, etc. from educators experienced with flipping their classrooms!