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Applying the 4 Pillars of Flipped Learning

Applying the 4 Pillars of Flipped Learning

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, learners will investigate criteria for applying the pillars of flipped learning in their own teaching.

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Source: Image of light bulb, Public Domain, http://pixabay.com/en/the-light-bulb-light-bulb-lighting-349400/ ; Image of computer and tablets, Public Domain, http://pixabay.com/en/tablet-screen-monitor-phone-pc-313002/ ; Image of magnifying glass/paper, Public Domain, http://pixabay.com/en/magnifying-glass-pencil-search-97588/

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Welcome to a tutorial on Applying the Four Pillars of Flipped Learning. In today's tutorial, we will talk about what does it look like to incorporate the four different pillars-- remember, the F, L, I, and P-- of Flipped Learning into my teaching.

So let's start with a reminder of the four pillars of Flipped Learning. Remember, the F stands for a flexible learning environment. And here, we need to make sure as a teacher that we're creating a flexible classroom and flexible learning opportunities for our students.

The L stands for a learning culture shift. We're shifting away from the teacher directed or the direct instruction model, the traditional model of teaching, to a student centered model of learning where the student is taking ownership of their learning and responsibility for their learning.

The I stands for intentional content. As a teacher, using the Flipped model, we need to make sure that we are using very purposeful, intentional content both in our tutorials or videos that our students will be watching as homework and activities to go with those, as well as our active learning environment, activities in our classroom that follow that homework.

The P of the Flipped Learning model stands for professional educators. And here, we need to make sure that we are not only collaborating and reflecting on our own teaching and strategies using the Flipped model, but we're also making sure that we're using those formative assessments throughout our class time and really facilitating the learning instead of directing our students' learning.

Let's apply these four categories to a sample lesson. And here, we'll start by talking about what would the homework be or the pre-learning that would be completed before class. So we'll talk about a lesson that is an introduction to plants, maybe for third, fourth, fifth graders.

And the homework section of this lesson in a Flipped Learning model would be to watch a video on plant life cycles. In this particular video, which is a YouTube video, it's a short cartoon segment on plant life cycles that really discusses each different individual part of a plant, the roots, stem, leaf, fruit, flower, and seed. And it goes through each of those parts quickly with a picture in a cartoon.

If I were teaching this lesson and giving my students this video for homework I might ask my students to draw a diagram or a picture of a plant with all of its parts when they were finished labeling each part of the plant. So labeling the roots, and the stem, and the leaf, the fruit, the flower, and the seed, so they would be able to go through and watch this tutorial and pause it or go backwards and rewatch parts of it again if they missed a certain section. And this is a shorter video, so this would be just an introduction to these ideas of the different parts of a plant and the basic needs as well.

The last thing I would have my students do is write down some ideas on the question, what are some important things that plants need to grow? And this particular video does not go into depth on these different needs for plants, but it does talk about some different things, like sunlight and water, that plants need to grow.

So all of this would be the homework section. Students would be responsible for taking this worksheet home and completing these tasks and bringing their information back to class.

Then, we would move to the class time portion of this lesson, which is the active learning during the class. And here, we would use questions to guide a class discussion on their homework activity. Questions like, what do you remember about the video? What are the parts of the plants? And again, they would have their worksheets that they completed while watching this video, so that they could use those to go back and remember what they learned the night before.

Next, as a teacher, I would place different types of plants on the table, maybe using a variety of different vegetable plants in containers that were clear so that they could see the roots, or even some that were uprooted so students could touch, and feel, and see all of the different parts of the plants. And I would let students use magnifying glasses in their groups, so that they could study the plants and feel like real scientists by making observations like, are they the same or different? What parts do you see that we saw in the video last night? So connecting those ideas back to what they learned the night before in the video or tutorial.

Maybe give them a worksheet using some observations that they could draw. We could guide them by saying, draw a root. Draw a stem. Draw a whole plant and label the parts. There's many opportunities here for students to be engaged in their learning about plants.

So now, let's go back and apply those four pillars to this lesson and see where we are as far as application of the four pillars of the Flipped Learning model. First, we'll through the first pillar, which is the F, flexible learning environment. And you can ask yourself questions like, do I allow students to interact and reflect as needed? Do I have opportunities to observe, monitor, and adapt through the lesson as a teacher? Do students have various ways to learn content and demonstrate mastery? These are some questions to help guide you in your incorporation of the elements of the F pillar of Flipped Learning.

If you think back to the lesson, we used many guided questions. So that, right there, gave our students a lot of time initially to reflect on what they knew about the ideas. We used questions through our homework assignment, as well as to monitor discussion in our group learning. And then, at the end, we had students answer some questions as they were going through and applying their ideas to an actual hands-on lesson, which was discovering the plants and looking at the parts.

We did use flexible groupings in this. We put students into small groups to do some hands-on activities about the material so that they could watch each other and talk to each other and discuss ideas that they have learned together. Our expectations were flexible. Our timeline wasn't so strict. We were giving students a lot more time using class time to go through and explore rather than us just teaching them the ideas and then giving them homework to take home.

Next is pillar two and that's the learning culture shift. And you can ask yourself guided questions like, are students engaging in active, meaningful activities? Are my activities scaffolded? Do they build on one another to help our students learn in a way that makes sense to them? Are activities differentiated as needed? Are all of my learner's needs being met?

And so, thinking back to our lesson, our students did have the opportunities to take ownership of their learning, not only in the video that they watched the night before and following along and doing the homework activities that we gave them, but also in their group work. We put plants on the table. And we had students work in groups to answer questions and relate that to the information that they learned about the night before.

The activities were student centered. Our class time was not as teaching them about the plants, but applying the information that they learned about the parts of plants and plants' needs.

One way that we're helping all of our students meet their learning needs is by putting them into those small groups and giving them open ended questions. Maybe putting them in groups where we know that we have high level learners and low level learners, so they can work together and help each other.

Pillar three is the I, intentional content. And here, we want to ask, is the content I created or curated successfully presented in a way that students can access it on their own or at home? Are my content and materials accessible and relevant to all students?

And in this lesson in particular, we carefully selected age appropriate material for third through fifth grade. It was a shorter cartoon, not too long, so that it would hold their interest and not too overwhelming in material. And we selected engaging group work that was very hands-on, making them feel important like scientists.

Students were able to pace themselves through both by pausing, stopping, rewatching parts of it if needed. And in the group work, they were able to talk together using guided questions. There wasn't any time limits attached to any of the work that they needed to do.

In pillar four, which is that professional educators section, you can use questions like, am I focused on class time being for the students? Do I observe and adapt using formative assessments? Do I collaborate and reflect on my teaching?

In this particular activity, we gave them a written assignment from their homework as well as the video to watch. So we're making sure that we're starting off by knowing what did they learned right away. They can come in and talk about that and hand that in. That's our first of our formative assessments, as well as all of our guiding questions and group work where we can walk around and make observations.

Although it wasn't written in our lesson plan, we do have many opportunities for collaboration. We just need to make sure that we are doing that as a teacher.

And one of the most important things is that reflection on your overall teaching. So after the lesson, what did I do that worked? What did I do that didn't work? So that when you do this activity again, you can make those changes as needed.

So let's review what we learned today. We talked about a lot of really important details and how to apply that Flipped Learning in your teaching. Use the questions in this tutorial as guided questions, maybe as a checklist as you go through in your own lessons to make sure that you've included and incorporated all of those elements of the Flipped model.

Remember the four pillars in the Flipped model are that F, flexible learning environment, L, learning culture shift, I, intentional content, and P, making sure you're being a professional educator throughout all of this. As always, I enjoyed talking to you about these concepts today. And I hope you're able to use these guided questions as you walk through a Flipped Learning lesson in your own classroom.

Let's reflect on what we've learned throughout this lesson. What might the challenges be to applying the pillars of Flipped Learning to your own lessons? Who do you think you can collaborate with to discuss additional resources for developing Flipped Learning lessons?

For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please see the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Applying the 4 Pillars of Flipped Learning"


(00:00- 00:15) Introduction/objectives

(00:16 - 01:36) Review: Four pillars of Flipped Learning  

(01:37- 03:32) Sample Lesson: Homework

(03:33- 04:58) Sample Lesson: Classwork

(04:59- 06:18) Pillar #1 Application to Lesson

(06:19- 07:28) Pillar #2 Application to Lesson

(07:29- 08:19) Pillar #3 Application to Lesson

(08:20- 09:18) Pillar #4 Application to Lesson

(09:19- 10:34) Review

Additional Resources

The Flipped Learning Model

This white paper includes a literature review of flipped learning. It also defines flipped learning, offers insights into implementation strategies, and analyzes early linked achievement data.

The Information Literacy "Flipped Classroom" – A Lesson Planning Lab

This presentation offers a comprehensive overview that allows teachers the ability to follow models and suggestions for flipping their classrooms. Starting on Slide 17, it provides activities to help you move your traditional homework design to a flipped model.