Flipped Learning Using Edmodo: An Innovative Approach to Education

One of the most exciting education strategies I’ve used this year is flipped learning. This weekend, I’m presenting at the TechConnect 2.0 Conference in Sacramento, California with my friend and colleague, Amanda Sharpe. I thought I’d share some of the excitement with you!

What is a flipped classroom?

  The flipped classroom, simply put, is having students do at home what they traditionally do at school. Using technology, students would watch videos, listen to podcasts, or participate in online reading and discussions as homework, and use class time in teacher-facilitated discussions and activities directly related to their previous night’s activities. A flipped classroom turns the teacher into a guide, not the starring performer. Flipped classrooms provide for learning through activity, not passivity.

flipped learning

What does a flipped classroom look like?

  • Discussions are led by the students where outside content is brought in and expanded.

  • These discussions typically reach higher orders of critical thinking.

  • Collaborative work is fluid with students shifting between various simultaneous discussions depending on their needs and interests.

  • Content is given context as it relates to real-world scenarios.

  • Students challenge one another during class on content.

  • Student-led tutoring and collaborative learning forms spontaneously.

  • Students take ownership of the material and use their knowledge to lead one another without prompting from the teacher.

  • Students ask exploratory questions and have the freedom to delve beyond core curriculum.

  • Students are actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking that reaches beyond the traditional scope of the course.

  • Students are transforming from passive listeners to active learners. 

From: “The Flipped Class: What Does a Good One Look Like?” by Brian Bennett, Jason Kern, April Gudenrath, and Philip McIntosh http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-what-does-a-good-one-look-like-692.php

What are the benefits of a flipped classroom?

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In my classroom, students enjoy using technology as a different way to access their homework. Somehow, it seems more ‘fun’ and even shy, inhibited kids who normally wouldn’t participate readily in class discussion want to chat online about a video or article we’ve read.

How do you flip a classroom?

In my classroom, I utilize Edmodo. Edmodo is a free social learning network for teachers, students, schools and districts that is set up like Facebook, creating instant ‘buy-in’ for students. Some of the benefits of Edmodo are:

Image representing Edmodo as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
  • Exchange ideas

  • Share content

  • Access homework, grades and school notices.

  • Closed environment

  • No private information required from students

  • Students join classes by the invitation of their teacher only

  • All communications are archived

  • Teacher has full management control

     How can Edmodo help the flip?

    Students can access online or on the go:

    Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
    Image via CrunchBase

    – web – iPad

    – iPhone – iPod touch (wireless)

    Easily share content (files, videos, pictures, etc.) in posts and monitor student responses.

    Assess student mastery of at-home learning with quizzes and get feedback quickly with polls.

     

     

Finding Your Comfort Level

The best way to begin flipping your classroom is just to start at your comfort level. Flipping can happen in what I call four stages: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert. I’ve found that if teachers wait until they have it all ‘figured out’ they will never try it. Flipping your classroom can make teachers feel a bit nervous about loosening control, and change is scary. Comfort Level depends on various factors, including familiarity with Edmodo, comfort with technology tools, and development of a safe online classroom environment.

Comfort level: Beginners

Edmodo is used at this level mostly for enrichment and extra support. Teachers can:

  • post handouts used in class

  • post Powerpoints used in class

  • post copies of stories used in class

  • post articles to read ‘for fun’

  • post syllabus, permission slips, forms used regularly

Is this flipping your classroom? Yes, sort of. It’s the first step! I started here the first year, got myself grounded, and the next year I went to Intermediate.

Comfort level: Intermediate

Intermediate level users do everything in Beginner plus…

  • post audio versions of stories and poetry read in class

  • post articles to read and start online discussions

  • post videos to watch and start online discussions

  • take polls

  • use badges

  • create folders for library

At this level, you are actually flipping your classroom! I suggest you hang out here for as long as it takes to feel comfortable, and you’ll see such great responses you’ll want to move to the Advanced level!

Comfort level: Advanced

Advanced flippers do everything in Beginner and Intermediate plus…

  • Post content lessons on Edmodo and use in-class time for applied learning

  • Post teacher created podcasts for new and review information

  • Post teacher created video to introduce or supplement concepts

  • Have students use Edmodo app for back channel discussions and Q&A during class instructional time

  • Create a library on content-linked instructional resources for students to reference throughout the year

  • Have students share work on Edmodo and provide feedback to one another

This is where I’m experimenting right now. Some of these depend on your technology expertise, but also on the time you’re willing to invest outside of class prepping for your flip. Like any new skill, sometimes there’s an upfront investment that pays off in the back-end.

Comfort level: Expert

Expert flippers do everything in Beginning, Intermediate, & Advanced, plus…

  • Extend learning beyond the classroom walls using real-time back channel discussions (during current events such as the State of the Union, an astronomical event, elections, other breaking news, etc.)

  • Globalize learning by creating a co-classroom with students around the globe

When I grow up, I want to be an expert flipper. Really. I think this is so cool and offers so much promise in education that I’m pushing myself to do more and more online. I want to teach my kids how to be responsible digital citizens not just by showing them, but by having them practice it.

What does it look like in a classroom?

While my 8th graders were studying the Bill of Rights, we studied children’s rights around the world. One activity we did was to watch a series of four videos through Edmodo-see the clip below on South African children. Students were required to comment at least once on the discussion thread, adding their thoughts about children’s rights and what they watched. Many kids commented on their classmates’ posts, and we saw a read dialogue begin BEFORE WE CAME TO CLASS. I was amazed at the depth of thinking that occurred when kids had time to watch the video, pause when needed, rewind, re watch, synthesize the information, think out their comment and respond appropriately. And the best part of all? They loved it!

So you want to flip your classroom?  

We’ve got resources to help!

Edmodo Help Center

Our 21st Century Education Pinterest Board

Log on to Edmodo http://www.edmodo.com, join our group (code: 2es376), and check out the shared folders (also public!) chock full of resources!

 

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Teaching Middle School is Not Insanity: How to Change Behaviors Einstein-Style

Albert-Einstein-Insanity-Quote-300x253

I started teaching 22 years ago, full of energy and sure I could make change happen.

Twenty-two years later, I’ve made some mistakes along the way, but ultimately I’ve had more success than failure.

I guess that’s why I keep teaching middle school.

Middle school teaching isn’t for everyone. Some say it’s the worst possible age group, but I disagree. I love it.

Challenging? Yes. Frustrating? Often. Fun? Usually. Rewarding? Definitely. Insane? Sometimes.

For the last five years I’ve been building up the AVID program in our school. AVID is an acronym for Advancement Via Individual Determination, and is a nationwide program to ‘level the playing field’ for students stuck in the academic middle.

I love it.

In fact, I’d bet that Einstein would have been a perfect AVID student.

Einstein's high school transcript
Einstein’s high school transcript (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes students are stuck through no real fault of their own-their family situations, socioeconomic status or access to education may have caused them to slip behind their peers. Sometimes, however, it’s just good old fashioned stubbornness, with a dash of insecurity, that results in their underachievement.

That’s where Einstein comes in.

His definition of insanity is one I share over and over with my students, as many times as it takes for them to believe me.  Sometimes is takes all year. Sometimes two years, depending on their stubbornness factor.

Middle school kids, especially eighth graders, like to think they know it all, and their parents know nothing. Teachers usually hover somewhere above or below parent status: we often are listened to a little bit more by virtue of not living with them, but sometimes students see all adults in the same light.

When my AVID students arrive at the beginning of the year, I lay down some basic rules about school: organization, responsibility, collaboration, and critical thinking are high on my list.  And always, there are the kids who say they like it ‘their way’, despite the fact that ‘their way’ hasn’t been working for them. They want to hang on to what they know. They are afraid to change, even when what they’re doing isn’t getting the desired results.

I know some adults like that, too.

It almost always happens the same way: the kids who try it ‘my way’ find that it works better, and their grades improve. The stubborn ones who won’t change, and have parents who don’t know how to support change usually take a very long time, if ever, to get where they want to be.  Their binders stay messy, their planners incomplete, their homework missing, and their grades below average.

So, ironically, I keep insanely repeating Einstein’s words, knowing that deep down, kids will realize that just because an adult suggests change, it isn’t all bad. Sometimes the kid has to hit bottom and decide for themselves to try it another way.

I say, whatever it takes. I know that my way gets results, eventually.

I’m pretty stubborn, too.

*  *  *  *

This post was written as part of the Saturday Sayings series on:

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Featured Post: Working With Your Child’s Teacher

Jennifer Wolfe global education classroom

Are you a parent of school age children? Do you wonder how to approach your child’s teacher to work with them?

Are you a teacher, wishing you could give parents some advice on how to create a positive relationship?

Or perhaps your children have finished school, and you have some words of wisdom to share?

I’m both a parent and a teacher, and I really believe in the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  I’ve seen the magic that can happen when schools and families take a team approach to education-it’s transformative!

It Takes a Village

So when Voiceboks, the online community for parents, asked me to write a featured post, I thought this would be a perfect idea – tips for parents who want to work with schools in a productive way.

Please click over to read my original featured article on Voiceboks – “Creating a Productive Working Relationship With Your Child’s Teacher”.  I’d love to hear strategies you use to make school a “win-win-win” situation for everyone – parents, students and teachers.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp