Tag Archives: Flip it!

5 Reasons Why You Should Flip Your Classroom



The flipped classroom is a learning approach whereby students learn content by watching online video lectures assigned by their teacher at home, and what used to be homework is now done in class which frees up time for the teacher to offer more guidance and personalised interaction with students. Catch us in this 3-part series of Flip It! to learn more about the best practices for flipped learning.


In the previous blog entry, we discussed about how to create effective videos for the flipped classroom. However, what is compelling enough about the flipped classroom model that would make you change your entire classroom pedagogy, spend countless hours filming videos, building up online resources and potentially change your whole workflow for? It sounds like too risky an investment to make for results which may not be so radical. But here are 5 reasons why the flipped classroom should be considered.

1) It relates to 21st century learners

You might not realise it, but students are already using youtube and the web as a source of knowledge and to learn things that they are interested in. From dancing to guitar to craft to cooking, using the web to learn a skill is part of their everyday lives. However, they are often forced to turn off their phones and digital devices in school. Instead of using the full benefits of the digital culture for education, we end up fighting it. More often than not, students get use to learning through digital devices faster than we can imagine.

2) It allows students to replay lessons

Struggling students are strong proponents of this flipped classroom approach. In a typical class, students who are struggling to catchup in class may be disengaged as a result because there is a mentality that they can no longer grasp these concepts as a result of them not grasping earlier concepts. They go down a slippery slope of struggle and disengagement because they no longer have access to earlier resources. The flipped classroom allows an archive of concepts that is made available not only to struggling students, but to students who miss on lessons as a result of their busy schedules. The flipped classroom essentially passes the remote control of the lesson to the student.

3) Student Engagement is Increased

When students get to learn at their own pace, they are given more autonomy. Even if students may not increase their interest in the subject dramatically, allowing them to take ownership of their learning allows them to own their own efforts and results. Many a time, reluctant learners in a traditional classroom environment become the most hardworking ones in an environment where they can own their learning as they feel empowered.

4) It changes how we interact with parents

Most parents are informed of their child’s progress every quarterly when they received their child’s report cards. Anything more than that frequency, and parents might have to be faced with issues which they do not want to contend with (discipline, bad behavior, etc.). The truth of the matter is that parents have very little clue about what their child does in school. Flipped classroom allows parents access to lesson content in which allows them to be more involved in their child’s learning, and to guide them in the process.

5) It increases interaction between students

Personally, I remember enjoying those times that I sat down with my friends when we were studying in our free time as we tested each other, engaged in discussion about concepts that were covered in class. Those were precious moments. In a flipped classroom, the role of the teacher has changed to be more of a facilitator than a deliverer of content, thus, there is room for students to interact with each other. By allowing students the autonomy of forming their own collaborative groups, it gives the students a chance to either discuss or to guide their peers (depending on their abilities). This also leaves the teacher more time to focus on the weaker students.

This is a great case study on how the flipped classroom has helped to improve student engagement in a 7th grade math classroom. I’ve also created a playlist of awesome flipped classroom resources for educators to learn more about what the flipped classroom comprises, including some good samples of videos by teachers. View the playlist here.

Source: Why You Should Flip Your Classroom

How To Create Effective Flipped Classroom Videos


The flipped classroom is a learning approach whereby students learn content by watching online video lectures assigned by their teacher at home, and this frees up time for the teacher to offer more guidance and personalised interaction with students during contact time. Catch us in this 3-part series of Flip It! to learn more about the best practices for flipped learning.


In my last blog entry of Flip It!, I talked about the misconceptions that some educators may have about the flipped classroom method of teaching. Personally, I think that if there is one thing that some teachers might have qualms with about this approach, it’s the problem that teachers face even in the class- how do we trust distracted students to be more engaged in a video lecture out of class when they are already so disengaged during a face-to-face lesson? It seems counter-intuitive to introduce a new element of out-of-class learning. Idealistically, the flipped class approach seems great for all kinds of classes, but they are suitable especially for classes with

  •  IT and internet access at home

Students who own a computer or mobile device so that they get to access videos at home. They need not be super tech-savvy as students will place as much emphasis on the importance of technology in their learning as the teacher does. If there are a minority number of students in class that do not have access to computers and the internet, perhaps it could be good to work out an arrangement between the school and the student. It could be loaning computer equipment and portable internet modems, or giving them access to computer labs in their free time.

  • Wide ability levels in class

The fastest of students will be disengaged and the slowest of students will be struggling to keep up in a classroom which lecture content caters to the average student. Students aren’t always just disinterested, period. It happens more often than not when a student has to begrudgingly sit through a one hour lecture in which he has already understood or is struggling to understand. The flipped classroom method allows class time to be allotted to letting high-performing and average students practice the concepts that they have already grasped, and for teachers to spend more 1-on-1 or group time with lower-performing students to guide them in grasping these concepts. (To learn more about how to incorporate mastery learning in the flipped classroom, this article presents a solid case.)

So, Ready to Be the Youtube Star of Your Class?

That being said, how would we then start to make videos? Doing a quick poll in primary and secondary schools while I was conducting training programmes has led me to believe that students look to videos as a source of both learning and entertainment. Given that watching videos is already a part of the workflow of students in gaining knowledge, it is really important that we leverage on such a shift to realise the impact that videos can have on a student’s learning. What are the best practices for making interesting and succinct videos that students would actually look forward to watching at home? Here are some best practices that I’ve gleened from countless teacher blogs:

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1) Create Bite-sized Videos

Cognitive psychology postulates that short-term memory can hold 5-9 chunks of information. A bite-sized strategy allows identification of important information by making it modular. Rather than taping a 1-hour long lecture and titling it “Week 3 lecture”, do videos of different concepts and title them accordingly so that students can keep track of the concepts that they have grasped. A really good example is openlectures.org, a site started by local JC alumni who have come together to create free video content for Junior College students to access in their free time. Videos are typically 1-2 minutes long.

2) Go adventurous with different types of videos that best engages your class

The most traditional forms of videos are the ones that best mimic classroom style lectures like Khan Academy where teachers take a video of their computer screens and doodle on them while recording voice over. Of course, these videos are the easiest to make and may be effective with a class of very motivated students, but it does not necessary incorporate the best of what videos can do. If you’re a chemistry teacher, explain concepts by conducting experiments, or if you’re a geog teacher, interview an environmental expert. If you’re a science teacher, bring them “out of class” by exploring nature with them and showing them the different kinds of plants. You can collaborate with your colleagues to do such videos. In that way, field trips can actually be a part and parcel of everyday classes, and students look forward to a variety of videos that they find more interesting than a one-hour lecture and with more engagement, concepts stick better.

3) Add in Quiz/feedback elements to Assess Understanding

You plan for your class to be split into half-lecture, half-homework question time. In the first half of the class, you struggle to deliver content in the fastest, most effective way while juggling the student persistent on making your life a living hell by disturbing the rest of his classmates. Half way through class and you’re still not done with lecture- it seems like the rest of lesson would have to cover the remaining content. And you don’t even know whether your class understands what you’ve taught.

Contrary to what some think the flipped class is (not allowing one to assess whether students understand the content), it actually increases these touch points with the students. At Openlectures.org, videos come with check points to ensure that students have grasped the content. You can build your own basic quizzes in a lesson playlist with the help of EDLE, or enlist the help of EduCanon, a site that allows you to add in short quizzes in a video as checkpoints. Also, ensuring ways in which students could provide immediate feedback and ask questions about the video content allows teachers to collect questions that they know they should clarify in class. Teaching of content is thus targeted and more effectively managed.

4) Package your videos, quizzes and other reading content on a platform and deliver it to students

You have a whole series of videos and quizzes that you’ve created and need a place to organise it into different lesson plans to deliver them to your students. It doesn’t make sense to upload these files on your school’s LMS, which does not allow streaming. Chances are, you may end up emailing a bunch of youtube links and LMS quiz links to your students for the week. Students access these links and quizzes in their free time, and gradually, the inconvenience of an ineffective platform to deliver these content cause students to lose touch of these videos, and the takeup rate might be really slow. Also, there is no place for you to even track whether students have watched these videos. There is a need to find a place for students to access and archive these content for easy revisiting when they want to do their revision. Useful web applications out there can help you to do so. EDLE playlists allow you to create playlists of videos, documents, photos, links and quizzes, organise them into different sections and share them with your students. As a user on EDLE, the dashboard allows you to manage your playlists and they are accessible on laptops and mobile devices, making learning convenient.


The flipped classroom strategy may sound like too much of an effort to introduce to your class due to the massive preparation time needed and the many things to consider before starting out. However, the amount of time that it can free up to allow educators to focus on guiding and leading in fruitful discussions might be worth these considerations. In final part of this 3 part series, I talk about why the flipped classroom is worth the investment in the long run.


Also, I’ve created a playlist of awesome flipped classroom resources for educators to learn more about what the flipped classroom comprises, including some good samples of videos by teachers. View the playlist here!

3 Misconceptions About Flipped Classroom



The flipped classroom is a learning approach whereby students learn content by watching online video lectures assigned by their teacher at home, and this frees up time for the teacher to offer more guidance and personalised interaction with students during contact time. Catch us in this 3-part series of Flip It! to learn more about the best practices for flipped learning.


A couple of weeks back, I chanced upon an interesting facebook conversation that took place on a teacher’s status update about “flipped classroom” between a group of teachers. One of the teachers had posted an update which expressed slight displeasure at how “flipped classroom”, now being the big thing in the local education landscape, resulted in her school wanting every department to free up a percentage of curriculum time for this approach. What went on was a conversation that highlighted misconceptions that people have with regards to flipped classroom methodology. These were some of the exchanges that took place:
“Singapore schools are always chasing after the past of USA classrooms..”


“Aiyah.. tell you what.. task the kids to watch TV, then write the review in classroom.. lesson flipped..”


“Flipped classroom is not all about asking students to watch videos at home, then do homework in school but this is what most (schools) are doing.”


“Ya our schools very good at that too. They know it’s not right. But for the sake of time and ease, just take the easy way out. Watching video/tv and writing review/summary/report is exactly what is not a flipped classroom.”


Flipped classroom just the next in thing? I think the conversation above brings to mind the same few misconceptions about technology that float around staff rooms in Singapore even as MOE nears the end of its third masterplan for ICT in education. The idea of how technology comprises of putting lecture notes on slides, uploading notes online, doing a quiz on the computer, playing a cool new customised computer game to learn math frustrates many who think that technology in class is merely digitisation of content, and its benefits marginal at best. Yes, technology reaps marginal benefits (or sometimes, costs), if you don’t use it the right way.


The flipped classroom is not:


1) Synonymous with watching online videos.
It’s not just watching a video at home, ceteris paribus. Rather, it is about what happens within the span of freed up time when content learning is brought out of contact time.


2) A teacher replacement.
Sure, you could learn something from watching a video of a lecture, but the full value of a flipped classroom is extracted when the teacher is allowed to carry out classroom activities, guided small group instruction, class discussion, one-on-one guidance during contact time.


3) About students working on their own, without guidance.
Contrary to what many believe about how taking content learning out of classroom means students operating in isolation and not having guidance when they need questions answered, the increased interaction in class as a result of contact time actually allows more guidance to take place. Moreover, if the issue lies with having too much time between content learning and guidance, there could be ways in which the teacher could use technology to allow effective question and answer to take place online.


Of course then, alot of teachers will beg to differ the effectiveness of watching videos versus a classroom lecture. In the next part of our series, we share some best practices of creating awesome videos and facilitating classroom activities for the flipped classroom.