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

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I found your blog on my most recent trawl for UK primary teacher blogs, which seem to be few and far between. I've never heard of flipped teaching before but on the strength of your interesting posts I am now going to go and find out more.

    I've used Kahoot as well, sometimes as a way of testing knowledge BEFORE teaching, so that I can target my teaching to the kids' gaps. It's a great programme - I love the spreadsheets you can download. In fact, I might go and write a blog post about how I use it!

    Looking forward to reading more from you.