My Learning UK (MLUK), a trusted partner of Gaia, will be co-exhibiting with us at the BETT Show on 25 – 28th January 2017. We believe that developing your virtual workspace enables ‘flipped learning’ or ‘flipped classroom,’ a concept explained by MLUK below…
The My Learning VLE provides an ideal platform for flipped learning, making content easily accessible across devices and locations. Teachers can upload or link to videos and resources in customised class and learning spaces, as well as having the option to create blogs and forums to encourage student interaction and discussion online as well as in the classroom. Content remains available for students to revisit for revision or consolidation and is also a great way of minimising the effects of student absences. Features such as Task Lists, Content Library, MLTV, Blogs and Forums make My Learning the perfect platform for a Flipped Classroom.
What is a Flipped Classroom?
The flipped classroom is a teaching model in which the typical classroom and homework elements of a course are reversed. Students watch short videos/lectures at home before the class session, while class time is devoted to exercises, projects or discussions. The video element is a key ingredient in the flipped approach and is either created by the class teacher or selected from an online repository. Within the classroom, activity learning and concept engagement takes place with the help of the teacher.
What is the Value?
The value of a flipped class is in the workshop style class time where students can inquire about the lecture/video content, test their skills in applying knowledge and interact with classmates in hands-on activities. This shifts the focus of the class from the teacher onto the students, making learning intentionally learner-centred and allowing students to explore topics in greater depth, creating meaningful learning opportunities within the classroom. Teachers can provide instant feedback on student work and are on hand to help students and explain more difficult concepts. They can give support to students who traditionally may have struggled completing work at home due to lack of provision or guidance.
What Takes Place in the Classroom?
Class activities vary but may include: in-depth laboratory experiments, using math manipulatives and emerging mathematical technologies, debate or speech presentation, current event discussions, original document analysis, project-based learning, peer reviewing, and skill development or concept practice. Because these types of active learning allow for highly differentiated instruction, more time can be spent in class on higher-order thinking skills such as problem-finding, collaboration, design and problem solving as students tackle difficult problems, work in groups, research, and construct knowledge with the help of their teacher and peers. A teacher’s interaction with students in a flipped classroom can be less instructive and more personalised, and students are actively involved in knowledge acquisition and construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning.
GEMS Case Study: Ritesh Dhanak
“Educators have been talking about the ‘flipped class’ for a while now, and the benefits of students learning in advance and more actively at home are proven beyond doubt. At GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai, we decided to stretch this idea and conceptualised the ‘flip day’ – yes, flip a whole day of learning! The educational outcomes have been very interesting,” says Ritesh Dhanak, Supervisor – Digital Learning, GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai.
For one day, students of Grades 3 and 4 stayed at home and were engaged through tasks provided by their teachers. These tasks were a combination of various subjects, with fusion being the essence of the exercise. The young learners worked to achieve the tasks and upload/submit an outcome document at the end of the day. Students marked their attendance and completed their work through the My Learning system.
Students who were unable to stay at home came to school as normal, but were provided with a very different experience, mirroring the freedom, independence and ownership of their learning being enjoying by their peers at home. These children were engaged in the same learning through the school’s IT infrastructure, using their own devices, monitored and mentored by their teachers. The statistics for Grade 3 and 4 flipped day speak for themselves.
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“Our teachers planned meticulously for the fusion of STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics), along with Minecraft options and audio links, all created in-house,” Mr Dhanak revealed. “It was an incredible learning experience according to the children. Of course, there was some anxiety among the parents, which the teachers and senior leadership team handled with enthusiasm, taking time to explain the benefits of this new approach to learning.”
After the success of the Flip Day for Grades 3 and 4, it was time for the middle and senior school students to follow suit in Grades 5 to 12. The tasks were designed for students to use their research skills to learn and produce work combining their knowledge and understanding of multiple subjects. The students were free to define their ways of working as long as they completed the tasks by the end of the day and then uploaded their work through the My Learning system.
A Grade 9 student said: “It didn’t even register that I was not at school, I was so engrossed. All the questions applied to real life which made them difficult, but very interesting too!” A Grade 6 student agreed, saying: “Flip day was an altogether new experience for me. The activities were well thought out and meticulously planned. The work I did on this day was fun. It was a memorable day that left me with a happy heart and enriched mind.”
According to Nargish Khambatta, the Principal at GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai, the real heroes of this entire initiative were the school’s teachers, who planned the day so well that students were gainfully engaged at home. “We also would like to acknowledge the support of parents and students who took on the challenge and made it a success.”