So I kept reading over the last year about ‘flipping’ my class and it sounded interesting so I spent the summer term trying it out with a great year 9 class.

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The more I thought about the current way of teaching the more sense flipping makes. It dawned on me one day when I wasn’t given an agenda for a meeting, how was I expected to give insightful suggestions without having some time to prepare. Now times this by the number of lessons your students have a week and you can see why some of them wonder around without a clue. Teaching can sometimes be in the format of a magic show. We do the introduction and hope they are interested enough by the surprise that they do the activities we set. The thought of them knowing what’s coming is a bit unsettling for reasons I can’t fathom.

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My first stop was to find a portal to communicate with students & share lesson resources. I shopped around and came upon Edmodo. After running a class session, where we all logged in, we tried out a test assignment and looked at it from both teacher and student perspective.

I then went through my planner and added my lesson titles to the edmodo calendar. A week before each of my double lessons I would create an assignment with a description, web links, photos & videos for the students to use to learn about the topic before arriving. This had number of benefits:

  • Absent students: “what did I miss Sir?” “look up Edmodo and make notes”
  • Time to digest: Setting an exact time to learn the lesson objective might not be the perfect time for my students, some are nocturnal.
  • Two bites of the cake: With the breadth of the curriculum I don’t have many opportunities to revisit a topic again before revision time. This lets students have a record of what they are/have learnt and can revisit it any time they want.
  • A record of what they have covered: It scares me to think that my year 9’s who start GCSE triple science in summer term will not be sitting the exams for 2 years. I hope that by leaving digital bread crumbs over the years, students can revisit past work to revise.
  • In 50 minutes I try to impart my enthusiasm for my subject (physics) while keeping a diverse group of abilities all moving along and learning. By flipping the lesson the more able and interested are able to delve deeper into the subject should they wish. I post links to science news articles and podcasts, that for some, is a window into a bigger world they may want to make a career some day.

I estimate that about a half of my lessons are flipped but it wasn’t always possible due to timetabling and I don’t want to create ‘flipped fatigue’.

They described how they felt more involved in their learning by being able to write comments under the assignments, being able to help each other and make posts that contributed to the group.

Technology played a big part in all of this and has given me another reason to think that an ipad 1:1 scheme is the way to go.

I’ve now rolled this out to my other upper school students and hope it helps with their learning and enthusiasm for my subject.

Let me know about your flipping stories…..

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