Flip a Lesson for Digital Learning Day 2017 (Thursday, Feb 23)

Get your #DLD17 on by Flipping Your First Lesson!

This coming Thursday, February 23rd, is Digital Learning Day 2017. DLD is the brainchild of the folks at the Alliance for Excellent Education and they want teachers to embrace the potential of “digital learning”:

Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It emphasizes high-quality instruction and provides access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessment, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere, and individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career.

Digital Learning Day is simply 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”.

New to Flipped Learning? Here’s a Great Opportunity!

Have you thought about possibility of trying flipped instruction in your classroom, but just haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to start? Well, we here at the FLN are embracing DLD 2017 as an opportunity to get started! Dipping your toes in the waters of flipped learning can be as easy as flipping one lesson.

Now this is not to say that flipping is a 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 a 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 be 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 Question. 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. Explore the WSQ further here. 
    • (“Medium” Tech) Use ed.ted.com to build a more complete lesson around the video: Ed.Ted.Com is a great way to turn any video into its own lesson. You can add questions, provide additional links to explore, and more. This article provides more insight into using Ed.Ted.Com.
    • (More Tech) Use EdPuzzle to build required questions into the video: EdPuzzle is tool that let’s you insert questions right a video – questions they have to answer in order to continue watching. This is a powerful tool to make the most of using videos for teaching and learning. Learn more about EdPuzzle here

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!


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