Flipped Classroom Instruction in My Special Education Classroom

In this post, I have decided to dig deeper into my understanding of the Flipped Classroom to see if it would be beneficial in helping my students retain and comprehend their learning. 

What is the Flipped Classroom?

A Flipped Classroom is an instructional strategy that is a type of blended learning. Blended learning is the integration of digital content and online technology as part of the instructional framework along with face-to-face content and activity. A flipped classroom reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering classroom multimedia instruction online usually outside of the classroom and moves activities, including those that would usually be considered homework, into the classroom.

In the flipped classroom the teacher has more ability and time to serve as a mentor and guide in their student’s learning. Students access the lesson before class, which allows the teacher to use class time to lead and support activities and discussions for students to apply and develop their knowledge. Flipped classrooms and blended learning allow students and teachers to learn together, creating differentiated instruction and transparency and connections with parents as they have better access to what their child is learning at home. The digital environment of flipped classrooms will allow students (and teachers) access to immediate, relevant and timely information and materials.

Flipped Classrooms and Blended Learning have already been happening at the higher education levels of Universities and Colleges for some time, as they need to prepare students for the 21st-century workplace. We need to also begin preparing our students for post-secondary education and the work world beyond.

The Benefits of a Flipped Classroom

  • Watching lessons at home before class can allow students to come to class ready to participate. Flipped classrooms allow students class time to master skills through collaborative projects and discussions. This may result in students teaching and learning concepts from each other with teacher guidance of their teachers.
  • Lessons can likely be viewed on a variety of technologies computer, iPad or even a phone, thus it is likely a student can access it at home
  • Students are able to watch lessons at home at a time an in a place that works for them. They can take notes. They can re-watch the lesson or certain parts of the lesson to better their understanding
  • Parents have access to what their child is learning in the classroom and can better support them with their learning at home
  • Likely improves classroom management as students are not sitting and listening to a lesson (or if so will be a brief review) and they are instead focused on their own learning tasks and activities
  • Students can still watch their lessons even on days when their teacher is away. And similarly absent students are able to catch up on missed lessons.
  • There is more opportunity for the teacher to work with small groups and individuals, supporting student in their learning where they are at
  • Develops students’ ability to independently use technology Also increases student accountability May allow for more free time or time for extracurriculars for students at home as student only has to watch lesson set for a specific time instead of doing homework that can vary time wise for individuals students based on their understating of the material and their home support

The Drawbacks of a Flipped Classroom

  • Some families do not have access to technology at home
  • Initially, very time consuming for teachers creating at home lessons, learning the technology, coaching their students (and possibility parents) on how the flipped classroom works and the expectations for it.
  • Teachers and/or students may not have access to the technology or the knowledge for using it to create the lessons or access the lessons
  • In class learning can be impacted if the learning at home hasn’t been completed by the students
  • Students may not have time to access lesson at home due to extracurricular activities and/or parents may not want have child to have access to technology at home
  • It increases time for students in front of screens, an issue that is already being studied by researchers

**A solution to a number of drawbacks listed above, if they were occurring with my students, would be to create an In-Class Flip classroom which

can be set up as one of the online learning stations in a station rotation lesson. Teachers can record videos explaining a concept, introducing vocabulary, or modeling a process. Then students can watch that video in a station where they can still pace their learning by pausing or rewinding the video. Once they’ve seen the video, they can engage in a collaborative task attempting to apply the information from the video as a group. This is a great way to take the benefits of the flipped classroom and embed them into the station rotation model”. http://catlintucker.com/2016/01/inclassflip/

 How would a Flipped Classroom Work in My Elementary Spec Ed Classroom?

For my students, the biggest challenges to their learning, are the retention and comprehension, thus repeated exposure a concept in a variety of ways is essential. Depending on the topic the ability to retain and comprehend can really vary from student to student within the class as well. A flipped classroom could be really beneficial to my students in a number of ways:

  • Despite their learning challenges, my students, like most primary students have an amazing and innate ability to understand and manipulate technology, thus using it to access class materials at home would be achievable for them
  • Being given more opportunity(ies) to learn and/or regularly and repeatedly review our curriculum at home will only strengthen their retention and comprehension of it
  • Having the opportunity to share their learning at home with their parents will also help to strengthen their retention/ comprehension, as their parents can take the opportunity to further explore their learning with them
  • Having students learn and review their learning in a flipped classroom scenario will allow myself and my TA the opportunity to work with small groups or even one on one with students who need further support in retaining/comprehending the material
  • My students are quite rule-bound, thus their following guidelines around what is required by them for a successful flipped classroom for all would be workable
  • Because a great deal of repetition is needed to ensure student retention/ comprehension of the curriculum is achieved there are a lot of ecological resources (paper) consumed. Increasing flipped/blended learning in our classroom would decrease this consumption
  • Strong technology skills and understanding will be essential to my students learning as they move through the education system and into the post-secondary world

Bettering my understanding of flipped classrooms and blended learning has really broadened my thinking of how it could beneficial to all student learning – even to students in elementary schools and even for students like mine who have extra needs.

I would love to hear how flipped classrooms and blended learning, are working for you and your students?










http://www.washington.edu/teaching/teaching-resources/engaging-students-in-learning/flipping-the-classroom/  (** Picture heading on this post found with this article)


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