This January, learn how to take the Flipped Classroom student engagement strategy to a new level with the Portland Community College workshop on the Flipped+ Classroom. PCC Instructors Jessica Bernards and Wendy Fresh have seen how to create deeper engagement with students without putting them on the spot and still allowing them the flexibility to take extra time outside of class to push themselves and learn new concepts.
What is Flipped+?
Jessica Bernards and Wendy Fresh teach math using short videos outside of class via a compilation of innovative programming and in-class practices and projects that foster engagement with the material toward mastery.
More so than in a typical Flipped classroom, the videos aim to be particularly short, usually under 10 minutes, and contain essential questions answered to maintain strong engagement during video watching. There are also notes to fill in about the videos, further increasing engagement.
Classroom activities are focused on fun but also on tackling the most challenging elements of the projects. They start with one hour to address any common misconceptions and build a shared understanding of the material from the videos, and then group or individual problem solving takes up the second hour. However, this isn't a disengaged hour for the teachers: they put in a mile or two of walking, they say, checking with students and addressing in-the-moment challenges of the "homework."
In this way, the approach is similar to other Flipped classrooms, which acknowledge that passive learning (the video elements) can be done more effectively in a self-paced environment. Simultaneously, "homework questions" are better done with an expert handy to help when needed. Flipped+ builds on this foundation by emphasizing elements like engagement during video work, careful in-class encouragement so that students don't feel ashamed or left behind when they don't understand, and strategies for handling other challenges doing a Flipped+ classroom while teaching remotely.
How Effective is Flipped+?
Part of why Bernards and Fresh want to share their strategies with the world is the major effectiveness they've encountered. They compared three years before Flipped+ and three years with it and saw some fantastic jumps in their college algebra courses. The number of A's earned increased by 27 percent, and pass rates grew by 10 percent; more significant gains were seen in a Trigonometry class study. Also, fewer students withdrew from the course entirely, which points to the possibility that students feel more encouraged to persist in this learning model.
How Does it Work Differently From Traditional Flipped Classrooms?
Flipped+ focuses its strategy on using multiple short videos with accountability questions and notes instead of long lectures or readings, which can sometimes lose student interest and result in them being underprepared for the class component. They also focused on creating the in-person "homework" experience, not entirely individual, instead of incorporating group activities and breakouts that help gamify the initial engagement with the work. It's the Flipped concept, but with additional focus on student engagement and enjoyment of the material.
Benefits of This Type of Learning Environment
There are a variety of ways that Flipped+ holds student interest even when they find concepts in class challenging. It feels safe because students know that by rewatching videos and pausing whenever they need to process, they can learn at their own pace. In-class activities and explorations are designed not to call out those who are struggling but rather to boost their interactions with those who understand the concept and with the teacher. As a result, more students come to class, and more students stick with the courses they sign up for.
Working through homework problems in class normalizes the process of trying something difficult, asking for help, and moving forward afterward, removing some stigma for not immediately understanding all concepts while also promoting a growth mindset. Because instructors walk around and work with students, the connections are more thoroughly formed, and students seem to withdraw less often since they get the chance to trust the instructor earlier on in the course. It also gives teachers better information about struggling with the concepts before major assessments, allowing them to intervene more intensively before a lousy grade.
What Will Teachers Who Enroll in This Workshop Learn?
This remote workshop will show fellow educators how to apply the Flipped+ model in their small classrooms and in-person teaching contexts, personalizing their subject matter, not just math. The lessons from Bernards and Fresh will start from planning videos that are easy to understand, accessible to students, and use time effectively. They'll then work on creating video worksheets, creating in-class assignments, and participating in the synchronous portion of the class as an effective facilitator. There will also be time to discuss handling students who don't do the pre-work and implement Flipped+ strategies gradually if a wholesale adoption of this strategy isn't right for you yet.
Learn with other educators how to do Flipped+ work for you and your subject area while bringing in better student engagement than you've ever seen. Portland Community College is here to support educators as they continue to be lifelong learners, finding and sharing new strategies for excellence over the years!