Wednesday, 30 December 2015

BYOD and Flipped Teaching Update

Badly amiss of me not to have updated this blog since August! However, it's been a very interesting term in our development of BYOD in our school and with my class so it's worth a summary,

My new Year 6 class came up to me having used iPads and devices in class while in Year 5 though not to the extent that I had been using them with my previous class. I also found that not all of the class had devices unlike last year. Luckily our school does have a few spare iPads which I could use but I also paired children up to share devices where necessary.

From January 21016, each child in Y2-Y6 will need to come to school with an iPad. Whereas Y5 and 6 have been using the since February 2015, it is going to be a radical learning curve for a lot of our teachers/students/parents in a few weeks time. Therefore, this term, we have been undertaking a lot of training and experiments so that we are ready for January. Google EdTech team have been out for a training day as Google Drive forms the backbone of how we intend to use technology.

My classroom practice has developed this term as the initial euphoria about iPads and devices has worn off and I have noticed that these devices have become much more seen as an everyday tool by the children - sort of a very expensive pencil case.

I have become much more selective in how I use them. Google Drive I find is by far the best way to share work and messages with my class. I have a shared folder for my class which contains subject folders; activities fro each lesson and sometimes a tutorial or flipped video.

The use of Drive also changes how my class communicate with me. This may not to be every teachers liking but they use Gmail to message me in the evenings and at weekends if they are stuck about their work. I could choose not to reply but I think this accurately mirrors how work is changing in the real world around us so I am usually happy to reply if I have the time.

I have learnt that very quickly your Drive becomes full of work shared by the class so I have begun using Google Classroom (bundled with Drive) as a means of setting and monitoring tasks. I love this as it automatically creates a folder in my drive for each activity and saves their work with their name in it! It's also good for sending messages to my whole class.

I have been using apps much less. I now rely on just a few. i have found that many apps can be great for a one-off 'Wow' effect but they soon wear off and I found that I was teaching how to use the app rather than the curriculum content.

I use video a lot for my class to make videos of their work - recording their poetry and such. I also ask them to occasionally make a video explaining how they did some work in their boos and then QR code it which is then stuck into their book with their work. I never ask them to write using their devices - more trouble than it is worth! 

I still make flipped videos although i now use them in my class rather than doing my usual spiel at the board or I use them as a resource for he children if they get stuck. As they are on drive, they have access to these all the time.

I have begun using Edpuzzle which allows you to add questions to your videos as well as to narrate over videos which you have found elsewhere such as YouTube. I really like this as it makes the watcher an active participant and you can also monitor their progress. 

I am hoping to use Edpuzzle more next term for flipped videos and homework activities.

I do occasionally use other apps but only if I feel that they enhance learning. For example, we recently went on a trip around Bahrain to learn about the ancient Dilmun civilization which was here 3000 years ago and the children had to write a summary of their learning. I used Thinglink for this as it enabled the children to easily incorporate all the videos and photos they had made of the trip and to share them to the rest of the class and their family. Sometimes I feel technology can obscure the subject learning so I have to choose how to use apps and software carefully - high impact, low effort!
You can see this Thinglink at

Online assessment is still a key feature of my use of technology. I still use Kahoot - especially getting my class to design their own quizzes. This works really well with spelling lists as they have to come up with incorrect but plausible spellings! Increasingly we are using Socrative as it is better at keeping data and enables you to set a wider range of questions - we are presently transferring reading comprehensions on to Socrative for use next term.

Next term, my aim will be to develop flipped videos using Edpuzzle. Flipped teaching has taken a bit of a backseat recently but it is something I now want to return to as I feel that iPads are now firmly established in the day-to-day running of my class.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Flipped Teaching Reflections

For the final two terms of last academic year, my Year 6 class all brought in their own smart mobile devices - iPads, Android, phones, tablets...

The year saw me implement all that and also have to present ideas to parents, staff and governors. It was a busy year!

The BYOD project enabled us to use digital resources on a daily basis. This year, we are going to go with every child bringing in an iPad. It was insanely busy implementing this technology and updating my blog suffered. By the summer holiday, I never wanted to see another iPad let alone write about them!

However, a new academic year beckons and it's time to reflect on how the technology has been used and my plans for the next year. It would be impossible to list and discuss all the apps and strategies that I used last year but I will try to focus on flipped teaching.

Strangely, I probably didn't do as much flipped teaching as before, despite the abundance of technology. There was simply too much other 'new' stuff to absorb, try out and evaluate.

However, I did still flip my classroom at times. With all the children having access to Google Drive, it meant sharing the videos was easy. I ended up using Screencast-o-matic to video my lessons and then pushed them out on Drive one or two days before. Screencast is free and so easy to use - it doesn't make all singing and dancing videos but it does the job and after experimenting with iMovie, VideoStudio etc, the feedback from my students was clear - short and simple. Very quickly I built up a library of lessons on Drive which included a flip video and activities to go with it - the students could access these at any time - in the lesson and for revision. And I can use them again this year!

But what I found much harder was thinking of what to do in the actual lesson if they had seen and watched the video. And also ensuring that they had LEARNT from the video. So I used Kahoot online quizzes to check for learning from the flip video (sometimes I just used pen and paper). But I was finding that the result of the video was often me just setting harder work - nothing wrong in this itself but not really creating the more exciting learning environment that I wanted. In all the literature that I read about flipped teaching, the most important message is that it is not about the video - and this is what we all worry about so much.

Jon Bergmann ( and Aaron Sams talk of using the flipped model to create 'mastery' so that learning is deeper and embedded. But I think the one area that I have struggled with with is how their idea ties in with a UK primary school as they worked in a secondary US school which (and I may be wrong here) seem to have more modules and formal assessments than we do. This makes our learning environments rather more ethereal - we don;t really do a test to check that they have mastered the Battle of Hastings. I did find myself doing more quickfire tests though and this is something that I will try to develop this year.

However, I did increasingly begin to use the devices to engage the students in more original ways. They began to record their work in video and images much more. The children created the island from Kensuke's Kingdom in Minecraft then used Thinglink and PuppetEdu to add text and video to their islands; they wrote and performed poetry based on the work on Suli  Banks, they used Booktrack Classroom to write their own stories with a musical soundtrack...but a lot of this happened without flipped teaching.

This year I want to use the flipped model to prepare the class in advance for these types of activities. The reason I didn't do flip videos for all this was, well, because i didn't know how to use the apps myself!

I have been sort of evolving my own theory of flipped teaching for the primary model. Our lack of formally assessed modules seem to make flip teaching more of a tool for certain activities than perhaps a model to flip your whole classroom - my class don't want videos all the time. So, I began to use the videos in place of my usual lecture bit at the start to every lesson (I talk too much so it seemed a good way for students to access the 'facts'quickly). I like this idea as it is still quick and students can listen at their own pace and you can monitor them as they are in front of you and not at home. My videos are 6-7 minutes long - in a traditional classroom introduction, the same information can take 20-25 minutes to get across so the time benefits are still there. I think this may be more primary-friendly and easier for teachers to manage with younger children.

For ideas of how to use ICT, I am ever so grateful to Mr P Teaches ICT blog which has a wealth of ideas and resources.

 Chris Waterworth is a primary teacher in the UK who I was fortunate enough to hear lecture at the Digital Education Show in London in June and his website  is also very interesting. There don't seem to be many primary teachers using flipped teaching but I expect that to change and Chris is championing this effectively through social media.


  1. Keep this blog updated - I have found it very useful to record my process even if no-one else reads it
  2. Keep learning: Socrative, Nearpod, Google Classroom are all on my list to use in the next month
  3. Use social media to make links with other teachers across the world. Please follow me on Twitter @DerEyken 
  4. Incorporate growth mindset and the work of Dweck and James Nottingham in my flipped lessons

Friday, 6 March 2015

BYOD and Flipping

The last month has been fascinating. My class have been trialing BYOD and we have had iPads, iPhones, Android phones, Android tablets (you name it) in my classroom for all lessons.
It's had its scary moments but I think it's gone really well and I loved it - so have the students!

It really helps with flip teaching as the children who miss watching the video at home can now watch it on their device in class.

I was lucky enough to attend a course in Dubai by Jon Bergmann (, the pioneer of flipped teaching, recently. He taught me lots of ways of using technology to make/share videos.

Presently, I am using Versoapp ( to share my videos as this allows the children to watch a video which is actually on YouTube (I don't want to direct my class to YouTube) and also allows you to set tasks/questions/challenges based on the video so you can get them to interact with it.

Apart from the benefits to flip teaching, BYOD has enabled us to create lots of other exciting elements and tools to our classroom:

  • QR codes on displays
  • Children have made maths tutorial videos which are displayed in class via QR codes
  • Aurasmas on displays ( which make our displays turn into video
  • Children have made videos explaining their work - available to all through QR codes in their books.
  • I turn all my flipcharts/Powerpoints into videos and share them via Google Drive so all students can watch them again and again to revise/review
  • Children collaborate on work via Google Docs
  • Online interactive quizzes - Kahoot. Great fun and a great way to see gaps in their learning.
It's been a busy 4 weeks!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Year 6 Flipped Lesson on Proportion

Back in November, I decided that I must return to flipped teaching. Moving to a new year group has made things harder as I am not so familiar with curriculum content and I was so busy rearranging the department and getting to know my new team of teachers.

Familiarity with curriculum content really helps flipping I believe. If you know exactly what the students are meant to understand, it is easier to provide them with the exact direct instruction in the video and also a suitable activity in the classroom.

What I found interesting was my new class were not so easy to sell on the idea of watching videos at home and using the blog/Drive etc to share ideas and comments. My last class had been much more eager to watch and comment on the videos. I had to really push my new lot to watch the video. However, the actual activity was great with them all collaborating to make fruit cocktails in different proportions and reminded me of how powerful a tool flipped teaching can be.

The children loved making their own cocktails, tasting them, naming them and then drawing up advertising posters which showed the proportion of different juices in them. They also had to work out how much of each juice they would need to make more or less of the drink. Great fun.