If you’re trying to figure out how to organize your classes this year, you might want to give serious consideration to the Flipped Classroom model

As I was having conversations this summer with colleagues the conversations most always turned to questions about how to make this coming school year and all its uncertainties something that worked well for students and teachers.

Regardless of whether we are in school or teaching virtually or trying a mix of back and forth, I think the answer largely rests in the Flipped Classroom.

I’ve used a version of this for years in my introductory broadcast journalism class and found success with it. I was finding that I was teaching students with mostly direct instruction in class and then sending them out and having them get hands on with equipment and concepts — and many struggled.

I knew I needed to change things and I heard about the Flipped Classroom in a professional development session one day so I decided to check it out. After doing some reading and listening to hours of podcasts about the subject, I decided to give it a try.

By “flipping” my intro classroom, students watch three to five 15-minute videos each week (using Playposit.com) out of class as their homework and then we work hands-on with those lessons and concepts in class the following week.

Through this model, students are able to go through my lesson at their own pace, taking notes and rewatching parts they need repeated (something that’s a little more difficult in traditional class setting where I’m just lecturing). In class the following week, I’m not just spending the majority of my time talking at them through direct instruction, I’m answering follow up questions on things they did not understand or that they need more clarity on and I’m able to work with them while they are hands-on with cameras and computer programs and equipment.

The learning time is out of school and that’s their homework. When they are with me they are active and performing — and I’m helping where needed and offering feedback throughout.

I’ve found the model to work out really well for this class for nearly five years now and I’m planning on implementing the flipped model with my publication staffs this coming school year, regardless of what model my district chooses. I’m doing this because:

  • I think it will help me with planning.
  • I think it will help students learn as direct instruction won’t be tied to a certain day or time in class or whether or not the student could show up to the Zoom meeting.
  • I think it will help our video calls and class time be more focused on lesson follow-ups and conversations by the group, rather than me just talking at them.

There are countless resources out there about the Flipped Classroom but one I highly recommend is the Flipped Learning Radio Worldwide Podcast. When I was originally introduced to the concept, I was told to go back to the beginning of this podcast and just start listening to them in order. I tried that and it was great and I now see that there are some recent ones tied to our current realities that I need to catch up on and listen to. I highly recommend giving it a listen and starting at the beginning if this is a new concept for you.

If you have any other Flipped Classroom resources you recommend, please drop them in the comments below.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 23rd year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 704 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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