By the end of this lesson, you should:
Understand how the roles and responsibilities of a teacher shift in a blended and/or flipped learning environment.
Understand the roles and responsibilities of students in a blended and/or flipped learning environment.
Understand what you need to consider when planning a unit of work.
You will also have the opportunity to start to craft your own unit plan, incorporating blended and/or flipped learning.
We know from Unit 1 that blended learning involves a combination of face-to-face learning (in the traditional sense) and online learning, and a flipped classroom involves the reversal of the traditional learning delivery method.
Having an understanding of blended and flipped learning is just the start. As educators, we need to reflect on our own students, subjects, expertise, resources, schools, and education regions to decide how and when we can include these approaches.
Every teacher has a range of skills in their ‘teacher toolkit’. We work throughout our career to hone the skills we already have while improving our toolkit by developing new skills to suit the needs of the individual learners we work with. Blended and flipped learning are not new concepts to many of us but they are skills which, once mastered, can have a profoundly positive impact on student outcomes.
In this unit, we will explore the changing roles and responsibilities of teachers and students, and how teachers can plan to successfully adopt these approaches, as and when appropriate.
In a traditional classroom, the teacher could be considered the keeper of the knowledge. Over the past twenty or so years, there has been a shift in the role of the teacher from ‘sage on the stage to guide on the side’ (Alison King, 1999).
The ‘sage on the stage’ analogy focuses on a teacher-centered approach to education where the teacher is at the front of the room delivering content to students. Blended and flipped learning do not require teacher-centered education to be removed from the classroom, instead that teachers move away from this as a primary source of delivery. In a flipped or blended classroom, the ‘sage’ has the freedom to step aside and act more as a guide or facilitator.
Watch the Ben's Mindsets video on this website to find out more about this concept.
With any shift, there will be a learning process as educators adjust their mindset, pedagogy, and perception of their role. In this shift, there is also a learning process that students have to go through as their roles change from being passive receivers of information to active creators of knowledge. Both of these learning processes need to be acknowledged, planned for, and reviewed if the use of blended and/or flipped learning is to be successful.
Explore the shift in roles for teachers and students when a blended and/or a flipped learning model is applied.
The changing role of the teacher
Traditionally, teachers …
In a blended/flipped environment, teachers …
The changing role of the student
In a blended/flipped environment, students …
To find out more, read the following article.
If you search online, you will find there are many pre-prepared units of work that teachers can access for use in their own classroom.
These can provide a good starting point for inexperienced teachers or those teaching outside their area of expertise, but experience tells us that these plans don’t usually reflect:
the ‘personality’ of the teacher;
the values of a specific class;
diversity in culture, ability, resource availability, and expectations;
the relationship between the teacher and the students.
Reflecting on past planning is an essential part of our improvement journey as teachers.
These questions are a good starting point when planning to use a blended or flipped learning model.
The idea of developing a unit plan that includes blended and flipped learning may be daunting for some teachers. As with most learning journeys, taking the first step can be the hardest. You may choose to consider simply how you could incorporate technology into a single activity or lesson.
Here are two simple examples of activities that include flipped and blended learning:
Example 1: Teaching new content
Record yourself delivering new content—this may be a video of you physically teaching in a classroom or a voiceover on a slide presentation.
Share the recording with students, setting them the task of viewing and reflecting on its content outside class time. Start the next lesson with an engagement checking activity (e.g. entry ticket or short formative quiz).
Make time for an open discussion or question and answer session on the recording you shared.
Set an activity that requires students to put their understanding of the new content into practice.
Example 2: Scientific experiment
Use an online video repository (such as YouTube) to find a recording of a ‘safe’ scientific experiment you want students to complete in class.
Set watching the experiment as an out-of-class task.
Start the next lesson by arranging students into groups.
Ask each group to collect the equipment they need to undertake the experiment they watched.
Circulate among the groups guiding them to set up the equipment appropriately.
Support students to complete the experiment.
Set an activity that requires students to input their data into a shared online document then to individually use the collective data to draw conclusions.
Additional examples can be found below:
Example 3: Spanish A simple example from Penny Christensen of a blended lesson learning plan from a Spanish class.
Example 4: Mathematics A more complex example from Catlin Tucker of a blended learning lesson plan for mathematics.
To find out more, read the following articles.
For the purposes of unit planning, educators can choose whether or not to see flipped learning as an element of a blended learning environment.
No matter what your background is, how much experience you may have, or how confident you may be regarding blended and flipped learning, you can take steps to enhance the experience of your students through planning for their use.
There is a huge amount to consider when developing a unit plan that includes a shift in usual classroom practice and the existing culture, including:
the objectives you are trying to achieve the needs of your students
the priorities of the relevant education authority, examination system, school, and faculty
the time available to both plan and deliver
the curriculum how significant the change would be the resources that are available;
A significant proportion of the work associated with planning a unit with blended and flipped learning in mind takes place before the plan is written. Developing the vision of what you want to achieve in your specific learning environment is the perfect picture to have in mind when crafting your plan.
All teachers have constraints they have to work within but don’t let these stop you from 'blue sky thinking' or 'thinking outside the box'. Don’t set limits on your ideas; instead, try to conceptualize your problems differently or find innovative ways around the constraints. Not every issue will be overcome, but you may find ways around some of the ‘roadblocks’ you expected to encounter.
You can record your answers using the word document template below.