In Flipped Classrooms, Videos Require Attention

By Anthony Rebora — November 25, 2013 1 min read
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T.H.E Journal compiles nine tips for teachers interested in flipping their classrooms—defined as having students watch video lessons on their own while reserving class time for more one-on-one instruction and active learning. Tip no. 5 makes the interesting point that it can be a mistake just to assign students a videotaped lecture and expect them to go off and roll right through it. Instead, the article notes, you have to first teach them how to watch such videos:

[Jonathan] Bergmann [co-author of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day] advises that teachers spend some time going over the basics with students. After all, "You don't watch instructional videos in the same manner as a popular film," he says. When he and [co-author Arron] Sams first started flipping, they gave class tutorials, letting students take turns controlling the pause button as other students took notes. They also used class time to work with students on how to write questions about the video as they watched.
[High school math teacher Crystal] Kirch developed what she calls the WSQ ("wisk") framework, which stands for Watch, Summarize and Question. She started hosting her videos and assignments on Sophia, which allows her to embed interactive features using Google Forms. Students watch videos, making use of the pause and rewind buttons to make sure they understand what is being said, and take notes. They then complete a guided or open summary of the lesson online in a Google Form right below the video. She also requires them to develop a question to bring to class. It could be something they are still confused about or a general question about the concept they are studying.

As an earlier tip in the article suggests, teachers are also discovering that finding, or creating, the right kinds of instructional videos for flipped arrangements can be more complicated than expected given the deluge of videos available on the Web. There can be questions not only of quality but also cost, technical requirments, and standards alignment. This leads to another one of T.H.E.'s tips: Start small. Many flipped-classroom converts advise starting the process incrementally, or with select lesson units.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.