The Flipped Classroom or Flipped Learning has been a buzzword in education for years. This popular pedagogical model reverses the traditional elements of lesson planning, where listen to the lecture outside of class and complete assignments inside of class. Educators at all grade levels are using this valuable strategy to develop engaging lessons, collaborative learning experiences, and learner-centered environments; however, does this model work for ALL students?
Challenges of Flipping
Think for a moment about the challenges that Flipped Classroom videos create. We may spend hours designing the most engaging and groundbreaking video; however, we may create unintentional learning barriers for hearing impaired students, students with visual impairments, and even students without Internet access.
Here are some basic ways that you can flip your classroom and meet the needs of your students:
Helping Hearing Impaired Students
- Where you publish your video can make all of the difference. YouTube’s advanced speech recognition features provide automatic closed-captioning on many published videos. Although it is not a perfect solution, it helps students with hearing impairments understand the video.
- If your school does not permit YouTube, you may want to consider providing students with a transcript of the video. Whether they are hearing impaired or just need to read while listening, this is quickly becoming a popular method in how online courses are developed.
Helping Students without Access to Technology or the Internet
Even in the 21st Century, there are many students who do not have access to the Internet at home for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, religious beliefs, and even parental choice. Here are some ideas to help:
- Community building is an important part of creating a learning environment. As part of your getting to know you activities, survey students at the beginning of the year if they have technology and Internet access.
- Rather than alienating the students who do not have technology or Internet access, it may be a good idea to have help ALL students come up with a “back-up” plan if their device breaks, the Internet goes down, or they don’t have access.Help your students find places such as the library, a friend’s home, or a coffee shop.
- Have a USB flash drive with the video for students who have a computer, but no access to the Internet.
- Ask parents and students to help create a borrowing library of old devices, such as old cell phones, iPods, etc. If students do not have technology, the can borrow the device and watch the lesson.
Should we scrap this highly popular way of learning? By no means! Instead, we need to direct our attention not to designing experiences that work for students regardless of ability or disability. In other words, we need to look at ways for universally designing the flipped classroom to work for all students. When planning a highly impactful and engaging use of technology, it is important to plan for and address the needs of ALL students.
Matt Bergman is currently a Technology Integration Coach at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA. He is responsible for helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms, while providing ongoing professional development throughout the school year. Matt has designed several graduate courses on Universal Design for Learning for teachers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. He is a member of CAST’s Professional Learning Cadre and recently developed a five-hour online professional development course on UDL for teachers in Florida. Matt has made presentations at Harvard University, ISTE, Towson University, and Clarion University. For more ideas or questions, please feel free to check out his blog, follow him on Twitter @mattbergman14, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org