Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is where students watch the video lesson and learn the material at home then come to school and have class time to work on problems where the teacher and fellow students are available to answer questions.  This teaching technique addresses the typical math classroom problem:  Students passively listen to the lecture, begin the homework (only getting to the easy ones), go home and get stuck.  Instead, students are able to tackle the "difficult" part of the learning-the problems-in the classroom where there is immediate help available from the teacher and peers. 

YouTube Video

Some teachers have required students to watch the video at home and other allows students to watch the video lesson in the classroom if they did not get the video watched before class.  Most students will watch the video at home, which leaves more time for them to work on stuff in class where they can ask peers and the teacher for help if needed.

Our  classrooms look like they did in a traditional class when there was work time, but to improve the effectiveness of the Flipped Classroom, we often start class with either Q&A on the video and/or key questions that reinforces the concepts of the lesson.  In some classes we are using five question formative quizzes on SMART Responders to check for understanding on the homework.

The Flipped Classroom often allows more time for projects, application problems, or more labs in a science classroom.

With the Flipped Classroom in a math classroom, students are busy doing math rather than passively sitting in their desks watching the teacher do the math on the SMART Board.  The idea of the Flipped Classroom has been used for decades in English classes since English teachers often have assigned students to read part of a novel as homework then they use class time to discuss and analysis the material that students learned at home.  Recording lesson videos is the mathematics or science equivalent to assigning "reading" for homework.

Most of our videos are 10 to 15 minutes long, but for a few lessons that are longer, students need two videos; YouTube currently has a 15 minutes maximum on any video upload, and research shows that shorter, "chunked" videos are better for learning.

To improve the use of our class time with our students, we are using SMART Response XE to do formative quizzes each class period.  SMART Response XE enables students to respond to questions using open-ended answers. The remotes allow students to input mathematical equations and scientific functions, such as quadratic equations, giving you the ability to quickly assess more advanced content and deeper levels of understanding. With the intelligent grading feature, you can also choose the range of acceptable answers for a question, allowing for multiple representations of the correct answer.

Does the Flipped Classroom really work?

Below are some slides showing the number of students that are proficient on a given assessment for two courses in which we are able to compare lecture to the flipped classroom.  These comparisons are based on performance on common assessments. We define proficient as students that are at 80% or above on a given assessment.  

Calculus proficiencies are up by 13.6% with the flipped classroom with peer instruction compared to lecture.       

Pre-Calculus proficiencies are up by 11.3% with the flipped classroom with peer instruction compared to lecture.        
Algebra 2 and Trigonometry proficiencies are up by 12.8% with the flipped classroom with peer instruction compared to lecture    
*Note:  Algebra 2 Traditional Flip data not available.

Here is a summary of the flip learning model data for Calculus 1, Pre-Calculus and Accelerated Algebra 2

Below is a graph displaying our failure rates in Geometry when taught by lecture and the flipped classroom.                                                                                                               

Troy Faulkner teaches "Introduction to Statistics" at Augsburg College's Rochester campus.  Since January 2013 he has used the flipped classroom with peer instruction and his class average is up by 5.5% compared to lecture.   The results of a post-class survey are shown below.
  1. Would you have preferred class to have been taught with the Peer Instruction Flipped Model or Traditional Lecture?  Peer Instruction Flipped Model 100%, Traditional Lecture 0%
  2. Do you believe the Peer Instruction Flipped Model is more effective than the Traditional Lecture?  92% agreed or strongly agreed with 8% being neutral
  3. Do you feel that the Peer Instruction Flipped Model made class more interactive compared to a Traditional Lecture in this class?  100 % agreed or strongly agreed
  4. Do you believe the Peer Instruction Flipped Model helped you understand the material better compared to the Traditional Lecture? 100% said “Yes”

For more information about the flipped classroom check out these sites:
Here is a book Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. ISTE/ASCD, Eugene, Ore.

For more information about recording lessons click here.
For information about video shortage click here.

What happens if students do not watch the video lessons before class?

Watching video lessons before class needs to be emphasized to the kids that this is crucial for comprehensive acceptance and understanding of how the flipped classroom works.  Students do need some time and experience to get used to where the information is and what is expected of them.  A student that gets behind on watching videos is no different than a student that gets behind on doing traditional homework.  We just respond the same way to both situations ... communicate with them and their parents about the consequences of poor decision making and procrastination, so basically nothing new.  

Practical options for the teacher:

1.       You could make watching the video ahead of time part of the homework grade.  If they watch the video ahead of time then they receive those points, if they do not watch the video ahead of time then they get a zero and still have to watch the video.  

2.       For students not watching the video for two days in a row, talk to them and tell them they need to do what is expected by watching the video and getting caught up on the homework.  Then I tell them that if they are not caught up by tomorrow and have not watched the video then they owe me 30 minutes before or after school or during their lunch.  I set high expectations for my students and the majority of students meet or exceed these expectations.

3.       You could have a short and simple quiz at the beginning of class that assesses whether or not they watched the video.  You could even have the students do the quiz online via a Moodle quiz or a Google form once they have watched the video

Remember, there is a learning curve that goes with this process.  Don't forget to look at the big picture of what you want it to do...which is to improve your test scores and/or help the students feel better about learning mathematics.