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Flipped Learning: What To Do With Extra Classroom Time

Ideas for deeper learning activities.

If you have read our previous blog on the topic of flipped learning, you may have noticed that it opens up a very valid question for educators. What can you do with all of that extra classroom time?

When you remove the bulk of the direct instruction from the classroom, it makes available a lot of time that would normally be filled with the kaiako leading discussions, teaching, and demonstrating from the front. And that’s the point of flipped learning: to free up time for other things.

But WHAT other things?

It’s a fair question.

I (Hi, ko Stephen tēnei!) once went to a big and well-regarded conference for educators in Australia and was a little shocked by what I heard. One of the presenters, talking about flipped learning, acknowledged this common question and then made an off-handed but—in my opinion—heavy statement that I’ll paraphrase as:

“Teachers who ask what to do with the extra classroom time must not be very good teachers.”

And the whole room full of ICT directors and other non-classroom teachers nodded along.

I think it’s a very valid question, and cringed at the condescension in his response. I, along with many of my fellow kaiako, had been brought up relying on direct instruction in my teaching programme. While I wanted a more interactive classroom with more collaboration and deeper thinking, I was still on that journey. “You should already know” is not the most helpful advice.

So if you’re wondering what can be done in that freed-up time, for you or for your team, you are not alone. Standing in front of a classroom full of tamariki or rangatahi with little idea what to do with them is nobody’s idea of a fun time.

Some ideas to encourage deeper thinking

If you’d like some direction, I have put together a few ideas. Talking about the theory of flipped learning is all well and good, but when it comes down to it, an ICT leader must be able to equip their team with practical suggestions. Feel free to borrow these whakaaro to equip your own team:

  • Think about ways in which students can design and develop digital outcomes relevant to the subject matter. As an example, they could plan and create podcasts, comic strips, or videos to illustrate a concept.

  • Have some fun with Minecraft Education Edition—where it aligns with learning outcomes, of course! Games can be powerful learning activities, especially games which the students already love and are familiar with.

  • Get out of the classroom where possible. Go outside or make use of other resources around the campus.

  • Use the skills learnt at home as part of a wider investigation or problem-solving endeavour, something you didn’t have time for before flipping your classroom.

  • Incorporate cross-curricular activities. There are plenty of resources out there with suggestions for ways you can link different areas of learning together.

  • Use the SAMR/SOLO axes to identify gaps in knowledge, and choose activities that will fill those gaps. This is a great opportunity to ensure that learners are receiving all they need.

It’s true that there are plenty of ways that you can fill classroom time that’s made available by flipping. And as an ICT leader or enthusiast, it is your chance to use digital tools in new, creative, engaging, and collaborative ways. The TPACK framework may help you to decide on which activities are most appropriate and effective.

If you or your team are struggling to think of things to include in your planning, that’s normal and understandable. To implement flipped learning successfully in your kura, you need to nurture a collaborative and encouraging atmosphere amongst the kaiako... it’ll be more helpful than the condescending line of the conference speaker I mentioned earlier!

It’s my hope that the ideas listed above can get you started.


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