Before the pandemic, online and blended learning was a notion that many teachers had heard about, but I'm willing to bet that most had little to no experience utilizing it within their classrooms. However, that all changed when schools shifted online in the spring, and an instant, educators everywhere had been exposed to a new way of teaching. While in our current situation, not all educators are using the online model (at least for now anyway), I do believe that as a result of our experience in the spring, there has been an increase in the number of teachers who are utilizing the blended learning model within their daily instruction.
At the start of this week's class, we were tasked with coming up with our definition of blended learning. As we reviewed each group's responses after the breakouts, it was clear that most of us had a good understanding of the concept of blended learning - which I believe is indicative of the experiences that many teachers have had since we started up again in the fall. Looking around my building, I have witnessed many teachers embracing blended learning (in many its forms) as they feel it is an easier transition to full-blown online learning (if we go down that road again). For me, blended learning has been something that I've used for the majority of my career through my Grade 8 math class, as I teach this content in a flipped environment.
What is a Flipped Classroom?
This is a question that I spend some time explaining to parents at the beginning of each school year, as the term "Flipped Classroom" generally leaves most parents scratching their heads in confusion. While my definition of this term may differ from other educators utilizing this method, it can be explained as a method of instruction that involves students learning the lesson content at home through short videos prepared by their teacher and then applying their knowledge in the classroom the next day. Essentially, students are completing the homework at school and the learning at home, which essentially "flips" how learning works in a traditional classroom - hence the name "Flipped Learning".
Here is a video that I typically show my students and their parents when I am explaining this concept:
How Does it Work Within my Classroom?
As we discussed in class, flipped learning is a broad concept that is not a one size fits all approach to education. While the general framework for this method typically stays consistent, how it is utilized will differ depending on the teacher and students to which it is being applied. Within my classroom, I have created a website that serves as the home base for my flipped classroom. In addition to all the video lessons, I also list all assignments and resources that students may need as they navigate through my math classroom.
At School: Student-Centred Learning Environment
While I've only listed a few of the benefits of moving to a flipped environment, I certainly have more positive comments about this type of teaching! I am very passionate about flipped teaching and my students and I have experienced a lot of success with it over the last eight years. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me - or suggestions for how I can make the experience even better for my students. Thank you for reading!