Sunday, June 3, 2012

Student Led Flipped Teaching

Back in May I presented at SUM Conference on my exploration of Flipped Teaching in my math classroom. At that time a question was posed to me about having the students create the videos rather than the teacher doing it. At the time, I said that it would be a good idea, but one that would be extremely hard to plan.

I read this post by Paul Lehmkuhl at and viewed David Wees's presentation on "Computer Based Math" available here: David Wees suggests that we have students use computers to create math and he shows a video that students have created to make a problem meaningful. We have also been studying constructivism and motivation this week in ETAD 802. This has brought me back to thinking about student led Flipped Teaching.

What would that look like? How would it be organized?

My thoughts on these questions are that the entire course would have to be structured with this method in mind. At the beginning of the semester, students would be assigned an outcome to study on their own and become the "experts" on. Students would have access to the textbook and any other resources and support materials. At this stage in the process, the teacher would be available to assist the students in becoming experts, but there would be no direct instruction.  

Once the students have become competent with the content, they would create the videos and other resources for that outcome. When the students have finished compiling the resources, then the entire class could proceed through the content. Two different approaches could be taken here: 
  • all students work on the same unit together as a full class group
  • students work through the various units on their own or in group
Now that I have thought about this some more, I feel that it could work. I am still left wondering if this would be a good method for teaching a course. Would students be motivated to construct the content? Would the student created content be up to par? Would the other students be more engaged by the content since it is created by their peers? 

Since this approach would require complete by-in from the teacher to commit the semester, it seems like a bit of a gamble. Has anyone tried something like this? Would there be a better but still similar approach that could be taken?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Now this is exciting! You're considering taking a very real gamble. You're right that it may be very tough, and you can't see where this might go. But you have a place to start, and a good general plan in place. I think the notion of turning the content over to the kids is great, and natural. They will respond. Just as Paul mentioned in his post, having kids do the teaching is a powerful strategy in itself. Your job in this would be enormous. You need to help the kids learn what they need to build the videos, and then you need to be on top of everything they create -- making corrections, steering them in the right direction, encouraging them to create in a way that is engaging and also substantive. You'll also need to segment the material they will be working with, and making it available in a way they can deal with.

    Then there's the whole technical aspect.

    So you'll have a busy year. But what a ride!

  2. This is a great idea Ryan. I've seen it happen in elementary classrooms but not in a secondary setting. In these elementary settings it is done on a smaller scale where students work collaboratively on problems and then teach their solutions to the class. They created their video solutions using Flip Cameras, VoiceThreads or ShowMe(on the iPad). I am looking so forward to hearing how you make this work in High School. I wonder if the there will be marked differences to how this would work in a secondary setting?

  3. Thanks for the replies. Having the students do the teaching is a powerful strategy, but is often only used sparingly. In this case, the teacher would be turning over the keys to the semester. A very scary proposition, but as you suggested Rick, the teacher would be very involved in the process. I could see it working.

    I won't have the chance to try this out since I am out of the classroom at the end of June. It would be a major undertaking.

    I wonder how student belonging would fit into this? I know that initially many students would feel scared off by the concept because they feel like they don't belong in a high school math setting, especially not as the teacher. I wonder if by the end they would feel like they really do have a place in that setting?

  4. I love this idea. Giving the students a project allows them to take ownership of their learning. By having students make their own resources for learning automatically puts the content into a relevant context. In that sense it is highly constructivist, it is focused on individual student learning and, in theory at least, it would increase student motivation. I feel like if the students have a reason to learn the math (i.e. to teach their peers through the use of technology and multimedia) then their learning will come much easier than if they are being taught through direct instruction and worked examples. However, your questions are certainly valid and it is a gamble since it would require full commitment at the beginning of the semester. I wonder if it could be tested out for a particular unit before it is fully implemented for the entire course? Do you think it would work better for some classes over others? Some grades over others? Thanks for the post. It's very exciting and very interested to think about!