Thursday 23rd February 2017 is Digital Learning Day – and your friendly neighbourhood eLFs are challenging you to ‘Flip Your First Lesson!’

Digital Learning Day is an opportunity to raise awareness, encourage innovation, and celebrate the good things that can come from embracing the power of technology to ‘strengthen a student’s learning experience.’  Why not ‘dip your toes’ in the waters of flipped learning by starting with one lesson?

Flipped learning is a term that might not be familiar to all of you, but is one of the most significant changes sweeping through education the world over.  It refers to a model where much of the didactic instruction takes place outside of the classroom, often through videos, and much of the more traditional homework activities such as completing essays or assignments can then be carried out in class, with support from you!

Now, this is not to say that flipping is simple and takes no effort … putting the flipped model to effective use on an ongoing basis takes effort and requires time and professional development, but taking the first step to help get you thinking about the longer term doesn’t have to be hard.

Here is a pretty simple approach to flipping a lesson. You get to decide how tech-y you want to be with this by selecting from 1 of 3 different levels of tools or techniques:

  1. Find a great video on a topic to introduce it and make that the homework the night before you want to start exploring this topic
  2. Require engagement and gather feedback that can expose areas that require further exploration, or simply raise fun questions, by using one of these tools or techniques:
    • (Low Tech) Have your students complete a “WSQ”: The “WSQ” is a simple idea that requires students to Watch the video and then write a Summary that includes a Q The idea was developed by Crystal Kirch.  You give the student guidelines on what’s expected in the summary (how long it should be, for example). As for the question, this can be a question that students think you might ask about the material, or it could be something they want to ask about regarding the material. You could encourage Socratic questioning – see the post found by Andy McGill here:
    • (Medium Tech) Embed the video within your Moodle course and add a link to a Padlet: The use of a Padlet allows your students to express their questions or queries, ahead of your next lesson, which means you enter the lesson fully armed with the general feeling about that topic. Setting up a Padlet is very straightforward, there is a 55 second intro video on the Padlet website, as they say that’s how long it takes to learn how to do Padlet – but if you would like more support, please contact
    • (More Tech) Use the video and build questions around it: use tools such as EdPuzzle or Nearpod or even a Moodle Quiz to ask the questions you would normally have asked about the topic in class – this gives you the most complete picture of your student’s understanding well before you even set foot in the classroom.  Maybe reinforce this learning with a Kahoot or Socrative in class as well?

Each of these approaches addresses several very important elements of good flipped lessons. First, they require engagement. Students have to do something while or right after they consume the learning content. They can’t just “zone out” and not pay attention while watching (and if they do, they’ll have to go back and really watch so they can do the work). Next, it gets them thinking about the content. By asking or answering questions, they have to make the effort to develop some understanding. Finally, those questions will likely help to expose misunderstandings or areas that really require further review. They can also provide some great feedback and thoughts that are fun to explore.

Of course, you can also give a shot at the “hi-tech” approach of creating your own video, which is strongly recommended if you decide to move forward with more flipping, but it isn’t really necessary for this first go round. It can also be pretty time consuming to do this the first few times, depending on your approach. Students generally appreciate and expect their teachers to be the ones creating the content (assuming you do a decent job and don’t make the videos too long). But for your first flipped lesson, using someone else’s content is a great way to get started!

If you’d like to know more about Flipped or Blended Learning, the eLearning Facilitators have developed a six-week course that is designed to teach you the concepts, explain how to use the tools and help you produce your first Flipped or Blended Learning course or topic.  Contact Peter Davis on for more information.




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