Recently I reflected on my integration of flipped learning principles in my English foundations program class. In my earlier action research blog, I noted several remarks by students about their motivation, or lack thereof, towards outside classwork. I avoided using the term homework but it doesn’t necessarily need to be completed at home, right? Mobile technologies will remove “homework” from our vocabulary… 🙂
I have reflected more on this and thought more about the learning design and the my employment of flipped learning. As a language teacher, I always want to incorporate language learning elements within all of my lessons. Firstly when I completed the passive learning task within class, due to more than half the class not completing the passive activity, I tried using communicative activities.
I first observed success during an information gap-esque activity where students watched two different videos on the passive voice. The video content had some overlaps but also some different points. Students were given some general questions to help them take guided notes as well as specific questions for students to answer. After watching their separate video, students started their active learning and came together to complete a number of different tasks specifically related to information from the video. Students then proceeded to actively use the passive voice within appropriate texts.
My teaching context involves teaching IELTS preparation and skills and thus I feel hamstrung because the assessment can, to a certain extent, dictate the types of teaching activities. This is especially the case within the education culture of the Middle East. I first start with specific IELTS language input, both grammar and vocabulary, within a passive learning mode and most was completed outside of class. I informed students of the next day’s activity that we would do only if the flipped task was complete.
Based on the language input, I used small tasks to integrate language skills and provide ‘authentic’ tasks in which to practice specific skills related to the IELTS. I say ‘authentic’ because they are skills necessary for the test, which is the students’ real world, as opposed to the outside real world. Students use iPad apps like Explain Everything, iMovie, QuickTap Survey App and Keynote to actively create and produce language necessary for the IELTS. When I asked about these tasks, students didn’t automatically see the connection to IELTS practice.
I also observed students working quite hard throughout these active tasks. The tasks caught their attention and they worked for longer periods of time individually and in pairs. I asked several students afterwards and it came down to their preference for the iPad apps we were using. Explain Everything and iMovie were hits as they produced their own videos. They loved the creative expression afforded to them (my words) and the ability to bling their videos (their words).
The principles of flipped learning could be used in contexts without technology, no doubt about that. But the technology certainly affords many more opportunities and modes of content delivery in both the passive learning before class and active learning during class.