Sunday, 28 June 2015

My first experiment with flipped learning

I have recently started experimenting with a flipped learning model with my A Level classes - with the topic of Functions (in Edexcel C3) they are currently studying having finished their AS exams. I am keen to develop a model and am hoping to implement this model in the new academic year with the new cohort of Year 12 classes.

You can find the two tasks I set up for students to work on independently on MathsPad at these links:

(Disclaimer: There are still potentially some minor bugs with the programming on these pages, particularly if you are using Internet Explorer (nothing dangerous to your computer though!) Also, they are not linked on the main MathsPad menu system.)

One of the concerns I had about a flipped classroom model is the potential over-reliance on video and the subsequent one-way transmission-of-information pedagogical style that would ensue. This does not sit comfortably with me at all. I believe deep learning will occur more readily when students are actively engaged with thinking about ideas, and developing their own understanding of it - a broadly constructivist perspective. So it was that although I did want to use video as one of the features of the flipped learning task, I intended to keep to very short clips that fitted alongside other interactive elements,

A basic model I tried to emulate in these tasks is one that I often use in my classroom teaching:
Stimulus - student thought (and often discussion in classrooms) - teacher validation.

Here are some screenshots of the ways in which I have sought to actively engage the student in thinking about the task:

Number Sets task
1. Stimulus question:

2. Finding out about the number sets, their terminology and definitions:

3. Active engagement:

...with feedback that prompts further thinking where necessary:

Domain and Range Task
1. Finding out about domain and range:

2. Applying understanding of domain and range to functions:

Improvements I hope to make:
- for the domains task, add in a simple modelling situation to illustrate why a function might have a restricted domain (eg. x is a length)
- create an individualised menu system for students that allows them to self-evaluate and see an overview of progress.
- at the end of each page, ask students to very briefly self-evaluate their understanding (with categories such as 'I will need to return to this page.') - this will be fed back to the teacher and available for students to see an overview of in the menu system.

I am very keen to hear your thoughts on this as-yet-experimental model of flipped learning, whether positive or negative - please do let me know through the comments or via twitter or email. Also, do feel free to share these links and trial this with your own students if you wish.


  1. Hi,
    Love the look of it, everything seems to work really well and it even work on my galaxy s5 too!
    I've not come across this website before so will have to look more into it.

    Couple of questions.

    1: how long did it take you to create one?
    2: would you expected to be completed before the lesson?
    3: how would you then go about checking if the work had been completed?

    Really interested in flipped learning. Just not had the time to implement etc.

    Roll on summer :-)

  2. Hi mrlyonmaths,

    Thanks for the feedback - and glad to hear it works on the galaxy.

    In response to your questions:
    1: Alas, these two tasks took me many hours over the course of more than a week to fully program and create. We have been developing a platform on MathsPad in HTML5 / javascript for almost a year now. Devising strategies to reduce the amount of time it takes to create a task is definitely a high priority for me at the moment.

    2: Yes, students would be expected to complete the task before a specified lesson. During this lesson, I would envision some whole-class time to review the task and for questions, followed by a selection of routine and non-routine problems.

    3: We have a login system already on MathsPad that allows teachers to see if students have attempted / succeeded with tasks. I intend to adapt this for the flipped classroom with the addition of student self-evaluation.