Oct 29 2012

3 Steps to Flipping a Classroom

Flexibility and collaboration are key ingredients to any flipped classroom recipe.

Dan Spencer, a former teacher who now serves as an educational technology consultant for the Jackson County (Mich.) Intermediate School District, offers these tips for flipping a classroom.

Think about what you wish you could do in the classroom that you don't have time to do now. Those are the activities that should occupy class time once you begin recording lectures for students to view on their own time. When Spencer flipped his chemistry and physics classes, students used class time to work on lab exercises and to collaborate on problems together.

Keep your lecture videos short. Spencer's recorded lectures were never more than seven minutes long, he says, and he only assigned two to three videos a week. Videos should be clear and concise and should set the stage for students to apply what they learn in class. "In my opinion, if you can't say what you need to say in less than 10 minutes, you need to look at how you can break it up into smaller pieces," he explains.

Learn from other teachers who are already flipping their classes. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, Spencer says. A variety of resources are available online for teachers who need tips and best practices, including the Flipped Learning Network (flippedclassroom.org). "One of the cool things about the education community is that everyone is willing to share," he says.

For more on how schools can flip the script on learning, read our feature story, "How New Instructional Models Are Transforming Education."