This guest post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.
The flipped learning approach has been around for some time now and it is something that I have been experimenting with for just over a year. I first discovered it through @PE4Learning on Twitter and adjusted the GCSE PE examples to suit my BTEC Sport classroom. In basic terms, the students are presented with tasks to complete outside of the classroom so that when they come into the lesson they have a basic understanding of the key concepts and can therefore have a deeper learning experience. It can also highlight any misconceptions that the students have in a topic, as well as serve as a measure for the required differentiation within a lesson.
The BTEC Sport Level 2 has a great deal of content for the learners to take in and apply, particularly in the externally assessed Unit 1 – Fitness for Sport and Exercise. This unit alone has 13 topics, within which there are numerous key terms and concepts that need to be defined and applied to in order to be successful in the online test. I have therefore found using the flipped classroom approach really useful in building students knowledge base and focussing their attention the areas that they need to develop in order to be successful in their external or internal assessments.
The problem I have been facing is that although my students were able to demonstrate understanding in class, when they got into the external assessment and had to apply their knowledge to exam questions they struggled. This obviously could be due to misunderstanding of what the question asking, but I also believe that they went into the exam without a deep enough understanding of the content. The work of Daniel T. Willingham on cognitive science that has made me focus the development of fundamental knowledge prior to teaching my students to apply the key concepts in an abstract way. The use of flipped classroom activities is starting to make difference in the amount of depth my students can put into their answers.
Three methods I have used so far
Video notes task
This is a template that I found on @PE4Learning and adapted to suit BTEC Sport Level 2. My students are given this as a homework task prior to starting a topic. I create videos that cover the key elements of an area and the students are asked to complete a series of activities while watching them. In the example below the students needed to watch a video on testing an athlete’s speed and agility, and then draw a diagram to summarise the video, note down key words and sporting examples and create an exam style question on what they learnt from the video. They are also asked to write down any questions they have about the video, whether this be things they do not understand or something that that has sparked their interest.
Example of a flipped classroom homework task for testing speed and agility.
My students complete their best work when they are offered a choice of activities. Therefore, I have set up a takeaway homework sheet to consolidate the learning of a topic, or to organise areas that need to be further investigated within a topic. Once they have completed the video notes task and the teaching of a topic is underway the students are set this homework. As you can see from the example below, there are a number of layers to the task sheet. This can be organised in a number of ways, they can complete tasks horizontally (Starter, Main and Dessert) or vertically (tasks within a set meal type). The tasks include watching a video, drawing a diagram, constructing a model, creating an exam question/revision resource and writing a tweet/blog post. The key idea behind this type of homework is to try and take the knowledge the students are picking up in the lessons and applying it in a more abstract, less concrete manner.
Example of takeaway homework task
More recently I have been using Thinglink as an alternative to the video note task and takeaway homework. Thinglink is a web platform that allows you to create an interactive image. It is free to sign up and really easy to use. You upload an image that is relevant to the topic you are studying and then attach “targets” to the image. These targets take students to resources that you want them to use. This obviously can also be used in throughout a lesson as well as set as a homework task. The key benefit I have found using this resource is making sure that the students are researching relevant content and that they know the kind of resources that will be beneficial to them when it comes to completing independent research tasks.
As I have discussed in a previous post my students follow a learning journey of three levels; they complete a learning task prior to a formative assessment and then use all feedback to complete the BTEC Assignment. I have begun to use Thinglink images within the learning tasks, both as a support strategy for low ability students and to stretch the more able (using relevant journal articles and other wider reading materials). Another great aspect of the Thinglink web platform is that you can search for images created by other teachers and there are some great examples out there. Below is an example of a Thinglink I used when we were looking at joints and their range of movement. The targets that I attached were a range of YouTube videos related to the topic, the class presentation and various documents that would both support and stretch the different ability levels within the group.
Thinglink on the range of movement at different joints
What is next?
I am now looking at developing flipped classroom resources specifically based around answering questions in the externally assessed Unit 1, as well as the Unit 7 – Anatomy and Physiology of Sports Performance. This will be done through the use of the Chrome extension Screencastify, anyone that is already looking into this or would like to collaborate please feel free to contact me @MrCwBailey. I have also been designing learning journey resources for each Learning Aim, which include the flipped classroom tasks. I have begun to alternate my usual scaffolding formative assessments with scenario based tasks. This is partly because of preparation for the new 2016 specification for Level 3 and partly because it provides the students an opportunity to apply their knowledge to real world examples.
Example of Learning Journey for Level 3 Sport