Thanks to the folks over at Khan Academy, alternative modes of delivering classroom instruction are all the rage. We’ve got face to face models, labs, rotations, online-only, self-blend, and of course, flipped. While there are numerous ways to implement a flipped classroom, the basic components include some form of prerecorded lectures that are then followed by in-class work.
Flipped classrooms are heralded for many reasons. For one thing, students can learn at their own pace when they’re watching lectures at home. Viewing recorded lessons allows students to rewind and watch content again, fast forward through previously learned material, and pause and reflect on new material. During traditional face-to-face class lectures, students spend so much time trying to keep up while taking notes they often miss crucial information.
Students who watch lessons at home, then come to class prepared to do creative work. The time spent face to face in a flipped classroom is reserved for engaging in thoughtful activities like labs, group discussions or individual inquiry. Classroom time becomes a workshop where instructors serve as coaches and advisors to help clarify information, facilitate individualized learning plans, and monitor progress.
Sounds amazing, right? It can be—but only when implemented thoughtfully and strategically, with an ample amount of resources to help you make this big shift. Our Teacher’s Guide to Flipped Classrooms, is one place to start, as it will give you a solid grounding in the principles and mentalities a flipped classroom requires. The following 10 amazing (and free!) resources will further ensure your flipped classroom is as successful as can possibly be.
10 Resources for Your Flipped Classroom
Content Banks: The quickest and easiest way to begin flipping your classroom is to use prerecorded videos that someone else has already made. There are plenty of great resources for video lessons out there! These are a couple of our favorites:
- Crash Course: This series of videos created by Hank and John Green is published by PBS Digital Studios. Courses such as world history, U.S. history, chemistry, psychology, literature, astronomy, and U.S. government are available online. These engaging videos feature live teachers on screen, animations, photos, and historical documents and have been viewed nearly 150 million times. John and Hank Green offer a compelling, conversational style of instruction where they make jokes, use sarcasm, and treat the viewer like a friend.
- Eduvision by FlippedLearning Network: The goal of the FlippedLearning Network is to help teachers learn about and implement successful flipped classrooms. This site offers videos for both teachers and students—videos from The Flipped Learning Conference act as professional development for teachers, while content videos ranging in disciplines from AP Biology to history to AP Calculus are available for use with students. Each of the videos within one subject area are delivered by the same teacher, so, for example, each Chemistry video features the same person on screen, allowing your students to get comfortable with his or her presentation style. While there is some premium content on the site for sale, hundreds of the videos are free.
Resources to Create Your Own Lessons: After some time using other people’s content, you’re going to want to start making your own. Doing will mean that you can tailor the instruction to your specific classes and students. A few great options include:
- Screencast-o-matic: This free screen-recording program requires no install. You simply create an account and press the “Start Recording” button. The free version allows you to capture 15 of screen time, the perfect length for a classroom lesson beamed right from your laptop to student devices or an overhead.
- PowToon: This fun program allows you to create animated, professional-looking videos and presentations. The interface is simple and does not require any prior animation or art skills. You might, for example introduce body systems or the water cycle by animating scientific processes and narrating instruction. Or, check out this video on YouTube that Teacher Elizabeth Frank created to kick off a project-based learning assignment in her class.
Hosting Depositories: Once you create your own videos, you’ve got to put them somewhere for students to access. You may want to consider these sites:
- Screencast: This hosting site gives you 2GB of storage with a free account, so you can upload a decent amount of videos, audio podcasts, or supplemental resources like PDF documents and images before needing to upgrade or swap out old content for new. One of its best features is that you can invite specific people to view your content, rather than leaving it open to the general public. Because your content is private, you control all the rights to the materials you post.
- TeacherTube: You might already be using TeacherTube videos in your flipped classroom, but have you considered adding your own videos to the system? This way you’ll be able to add as much of your own personalized content as your curriculum and class requires. There are no restrictions to how many videos you can post, though TeacherTube does get the final say in accepting videos onto the site and making them available to its 1.5 million users.
Learning Management Systems (LMS): Once you’re deep into the flipped classroom routine, you may want to consider using a learning management system. These systems organize your content and help you keep track of student progress. We’ve shared ratings of the Top 20 Learning Management Systems and compiled a quick guide to LMSs to give you more information about what they do. Try exploring:
- Lore: Though acquired by Noodle Education in March 2013, Lore remains a free LMS. It is geared toward the college market, but its sleek, simple interface makes it friendly to most audiences. Teachers create a website for their class, and add materials, including videos, quizzes, and podcasts. The site allows students to turn their work in online and to collaborate with other students via discussion boards and a live chat app.
- Sakai: As a free, open-source software suite, Sakai is an all-encompassing LMS, used by prestigious universities, such MIT and Oxford. Sakai offers an array of tools for online collaboration for students and teachers, including, email, chat rooms, messaging centers, polling tolls, and a slideshow presenter. Teachers can post assignments, track graders, and author lessons and assessments right in Sakai.
Flipped Schools and Districts: As you successfully establish your flipped classroom, you’ll probably wonder about other classrooms and schools that follow the same model—or perhaps you’d like an example to take after. We’ve previously compiled a list of 15 flipped classrooms and profile two additional ones here:
- Lake Elmo Elementary: Students at Lake Elmo Elementary have flipped math classrooms. Part of the rural Stillwater Area Public Schools in Minnesota, Lake Elmo began a flipped learning program with 5th grade math students in 2012. The students in the pilot program watched 5 to 15 minutes videos on iPads provided by the school and completed assessments on the Moodle LMS. The flipped learning model in math has since spread to all schools in the district.
- Summit Public Schools: Each student at Summit Pubic schools spends around 10 hours each week working on specialized online lessons, called playlists, curated specifically for them by their teachers. The online work includes resources to support video lessons and formative assessments. In addition, students spent 3 to 4 hours each day engaged in lab work, presentations, and project-based learning activities. You can check out this feature story from Activate Instruction’s webpage to read more about how Summit Public Schools puts together their playlists.
Implementing a flipped classroom without the help of a school or district initiative can seem like an impossible task. However, with the assortment of free content banks, video creation programs, lesson depositories, and LMSs that we’ve highlighted here, you’re well-equipp