Over the last three years, flipped learning strategies have been implemented in year 9 science. There has been a gradual increase in the use of flipped learning over this time. Students watch short teacher-made educational videos via the school’s learning management system in their individual learning space. The group learning space involves learning experiences to practice and deepen knowledge through activities, peer-teaching, and experiments. I have evaluated the effectiveness of flipped learning by comparing the academic performance of the year 9 cohorts and by administering a student perception survey on flipped learning. In this post, I have provided very little commentary because I feel that the results speak for themselves.
There has been a significant and consistent improvement in academic outcomes. The average end of year grade has improved from C+ in 2013 to B in 2016. The percentage of As has increased from 7% to 35% and the percentage of Ds has reduced from 10% to 5%.
I have conducted a survey to measure student perception of flipped learning. 54 year 9 science students completed the survey. There were 21 Likert scale opinion questions and 4 open questions. Students conducted the survey via Blackboard and participation was voluntary. A summary of the results are below:
Student perception of the flipped classroom
The above summary of student perceptions of flipped learning is supportive of using flipped learning pedagogy in year 9 science. Question 6 is possibly the least convincing. Question 6 stated “I would rather watch a traditional teacher led lesson than a video lesson”. This was the only reverse question in the survey so respondents may have been confused about how to answer this question. Future posts will unpack some of these questions in more detail.
Respondents rated the following aspects of flipped learning most highly: 1. that videos help to catch up on missed work, 2. that it is easier to take notes and 3. Being able to self-pace through a unit. These ideas were supported by the responses to the open questions. Below is a summary of the open question responses. I have only captured one example of each type of response.
What aspects of the flipped learning classroom do you find most engaging?
- The increased amount of experiments our class is able to perform and the increased knowledge on the subject that I gain from the investigations.
- I find the videos really easy to take notes on, because if you missed or forgot something, you can just re-watch it. Also the fact that they’re there anytime you need to study or catch up on work.
- You are able to catch up on any work that you may have missed and you are able to come in with questions from the pre-learning and also ask questions about the class work during the lesson in order to gain a deeper understanding of your work.
- Having my own teacher make the videos and the teacher draws images which help me understand it.
- The fact that you can pause and go at your own pace in the videos. I can rewind the videos and by doing this it helps me better understand the content. Instead of having to sit down and listen and rush my notes not actually taking in the information being presented to me.
- I don’t have to wait for others and I can accelerate meaning the lessons are more engaging
- Being able to re-watch videos and do more one-on-one work in the classroom.
- I feel as if I am figuring things out rather than being told.
- Being able to take my time with my learning.
- In a flipped learning classroom you have more freedom to learn the way we want to learn.
- That everyone works together and if someone is stuck we work together to help them out.
What are the advantages of the flipped learning classroom?
- We can watch it whenever we want
- More one-to-one time between teacher and student.
- You spend more time doing practical things in class and doing the learning at home.
- It helps visual learners understand to learn something new.
- More time to practice the theory.
- Each student can learn at their own pace and have more freedom.
- We can get more ideas from others.
- Flipped learning creates easier study before exams.
- Easier to take notes.
- You don’t have to spend half a lesson with a teacher up the front teaching but instead, have each learn how they want.
- Not as much homework.
- More interaction with teacher and classmates.
- More time to ask questions one on one with teacher
- I can work at my own pace and I feel like I learn and take in more information in a flipped classroom.
- One advantage is that if you are away you can easily catch up on the lesson and be fully prepared when you get back to school like you never missed a day. It also helps me concentrate and not get distracted as easily as if the teacher was to teach on the board I would get bored quicker and not actually take in most of the information. But with flipped learning I can stay on track and monitor my process in the class room.
- The advantages of the flipped learning classroom are that the videos are super easy to understand, and if you forget something, you need to study or if you were away, its super easy to just go onto the learning place and watch them.
- To always be up to date or ahead if necessary.
Several responses from these two questions really reinforce to me the classroom culture that I wanted to achieve through flipped learning. For example, “everyone works together, and if someone is stuck, we work together to help them out” and “students get to work it out themselves instead of being told” and finally, “we have freedom to learn the way the want to learn”.
What are the disadvantages of the flipped learning classroom?
- Having to wait for my next class to be able to clarify with the teacher.
- When the internet connection is so slow.
- It is not completely social and/or interactive.
- I sometimes prefer to listen to what other students have to say about the subject as they think from different perspectives.
- If you don’t do your homework then you are more behind
- It doesn’t feel like a lesson.
- When the teacher just talks you don’t know whether what is being said is important to write down or not (Author note- this is referring to green screen style video).
- Easy for some students to get distracted with other things on their laptops
- The teachers are completely relying on the student to watch the video, and cannot guarantee that they will watch the video at all.
- People have laptop problems and don’t always have access to a computer.
- When another teacher does it (makes the video) it doesn’t seem as clear to me.
When do you re-watch videos?
- When I don’t understand the content fully or when I’m away/ have missed a lesson.
- For revision for an upcoming exam.
- When I need to catch up on work
- If I zoned out and didn’t pay attention
What style of teacher-made videos do you find are most helpful- PowerPoint style videos or videos in which the teacher writes like they would on a whiteboard?
- I find videos where my teacher writes on the board and where I can see their face more helpful as I find it easier to listen if I can look at the person speaking and see them explaining the content through diagrams.
- The style where they write like they would on a whiteboard but also uses photos/animations and drawings to help explain their reasoning.
- The video where they write is most helpful so that I know what is important and should be noted down. I personally don’t like power point videos as there is too much information on them that it starts to get overwhelmed and I lose the point of the video.
- The whiteboard style videos are either made using a lightboard or using a Wacom tablet in the style of Khan Academy.
Would flipped learning be useful for other subjects? Why or why not?
- I believe so, for example in subjects such as in music, learning the theory at home and practicing the practice at school. This would be helpful since many students don’t have the instruments that are needed to practice for assessments at home.
- Depends on the subject and what the other student prefers.
- Depends on who is making the videos, needs to be a good quality.
- Yes it would also be helpful in mathematics, as some people take a long time to understand a certain part and being able to re-watch or catch up a lesson makes it easier and more efficient.
- Yes because it would let me better understand the content that the teacher was teaching and would also allow me to learn at my own pace and in a quiet environment. It would also help me with any notes I have missed or written down wrong and prep me for my exam
- Yes, it is an effective style of teaching allowing you to accelerate at your own pace and helpful for revision.
- It depends on the subject. It is helpful in some subjects like science but not in others like hospitality.
- Some subjects not useful like doing engineering because they make things.
- In other science/STEM subjects maybe yes.
- Yes. In subjects such as Maths and History, they require your attention for almost the entire lesson, and after a while, it becomes very easy to tune out of a lesson.
- I believe flipped learning would be beneficial in all other subjects as it is very helpful and engaging, and the student can always refer back to the videos if need be or for revision.
What improvements would you recommend to improve learning in the flipped classroom?
- Include summaries at the end of videos so students can copy down the main points along with their notes to help improve their own notes they have taken down.
- Consistent types of videos.
- Let us make a video once in a while so that we can get involved and have fun while educating not only others on the topic but you as well.
- Maybe having an area where students can submit questions, and the teacher can answer them online of in the lesson.
- More interactive videos.
- Short videos are always better and the one’s where the teacher writes the information we need on the lightboard is also better because for the others where the teacher is just talking, I find myself taking a lot more notes than I need.
- Add animation that explains a certain topic in an easy way. The teachers need to be in a position of a viewer/student to make the content of the video more interesting and fun when teaching students a new topic like when famous YouTubers make their videos.
Please state any other comments you wish to make about the Flipped Classroom.
- Flipped Learning is a lot of fun and makes learning more enjoyable and less stressful.
- It is a good way to learn.
- Flipped learning has made my grades go from a C in science to straight A’s this has helped me so much in improving my grades and helping me understand and better appreciate the subject.
- Don’t stop.
- This idea of flipped learning is the best out of all my classes and helps me with gaining a deeper understanding of the topic and thus, the ability to do well in my exams.
- I love the idea and wish it becomes the norm in the future.
In general terms, the feedback from the year 9 student cohort has been supportive of flipped learning and justifies continuing to use this pedagogy in science. The suggestions for improvement made by the students are very valuable and will be implemented for the next cohort. Specifically, I will implement the following: interactive videos, summaries at the end of the videos, embedded images and animations as required to demonstrate a point, a discussion board for students to post and answer questions, student created videos. I will focus on making lightboard videos as students prefer a consistent video style.
Student feedback is an important tool for continuous improvement. I greatly appreciate the time my students have taken to give me considered, genuine feedback.
Steve Griffiths is a science teacher at Cavendish Road High School in Holland Park, Queensland, Australia.