Blended and Flipped Classrooms can give students more control over their learning path. Added to this, teachers get more insight into the learning of the class and can intervene as required. Technology plays an important role in blending the classrooms.
User-friendly technology ensures that the student has more control over the time, place and pace of the curriculum. It also ensures that teacher have the necessary visibility and tools to intervene effectively.
In this post, we are sharing five important tools to blend your classrooms. To begin with, a short introduction to blended and flipped classrooms:
Blended learning is an environment in which students study in a “blended” model of face-to-face instruction with a teacher and technology-based instruction to meet their educational needs.
1. Visible learning: Provide teachers with the complete view of the learning process.
2. Formative assessments: Provide teachers means to give timely and effective feedback.
3. Blended learning: Combination of textbooks and online-resources to improve learning experience.
The flipped-classroom is a pedagogical model that reverses the typical lecture and homework elements. It is essentially a blended learning environment. Students view short video lectures at home and devote time in the class to exercises, projects, and discussions.
Flipped-classrooms allow students to learn at their own pace, thus significantly improving their performance. This simple concept is easy to replicate in any classroom, doesn’t cost much to implement, and helps foster self-directing learning.
How to establish a blended or flipped classroom?
Blended classrooms essentially have the following or few of the under-mentioned elements. Teachers should attempt to incorporate as many of these elements as possible in their classroom.
1. Learning management system (LMS):
An LMS is a software product that sits within a school’s Managed Learning Environment (MLE). The LMS is the school’s central hub of teaching and learning activities. It allows teachers to direct learning path, create and manage groups and individuals, assess assignments, track progress, create and share course material and interact with students.
Text alone can’t deliver the subtlety and expression required for meaningful connection. Audio-visual or the digital content has a better impact than written works. For successful flipped classrooms, it is necessary to provide video lectures and audio-video reference material to the students. These tools not only support teaching, but students also have a better chance of expressing their ideas.
3. Content creation and sharing tools:
Students and teachers need to capture and share everything that’s important in a single and easily accessible place. Sometimes, they also want to share selective things with one person, a few people or the whole world. These tools allow teachers to introduce course content through multiple learning modes, and facilitate students to express in various ways.
4. Collaboration and social media tools:
These tools allow teachers and students to foster online communities of learners to enhance the course content. The biggest advantage of technology-based learning is that students, as well as teachers have the option to collaborate on projects. Students may need to share assignments, discuss learning or teachers may want to share study materials.
What are the best classroom-blending Tools?
Following is the list of top five classroom-blending tools. The criterion for selection is: user friendly interface, cost-effectiveness and seamless integration with third-party programs.
Edmodo is a learning management tool (LMS). It is very simple to set up and use. Edmodo features a Facebook-like interface that is clean and appealing to students. Students and teachers can reach out to one another and connect by sharing ideas, problems and tips. A teacher can assign and grade work. Students can get help either from the entire class or make up small study-groups. You can also connect with the Google-drive. Edmodo is free for individual teachers.
Schoology is another free to use tool. It is similar and as appealing as Edmodo. It provides all the features necessary for an effective learning environment. This special mention is on account of the discussion features and the advanced assessment-tools.
Screencast-O-Maticis a free one-click screen recording web app for Windows and Mac. It is extremely easy to use, and you don’t even need to sign up for an account. When ready, you can upload your recording directly to YouTube.Youcan create videos of up to fifteen minutes. You don’t need to download and install the executable file on your school computers.
This is a very popular online tool to create andupload audio files. VoiceThreadallows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upload PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. It is a great tool to submit audio reports, assignments and audio feedback.
Evernote allows you to take notes and organize material in many formats; including voice and handwriting. You can sync notes on the web and across all your mobile devices. It is possible to share your work with other teachers and the class, and select them to edit your work. Evernote is free to use.
This was a list of the five best blending and flipping tools. Although, I am exceeding the limit of five, but Wikispaces Classroom http://www.wikispaces.com/deserves a special mention. Teachers can keep a track of every student activity. It allows students to collaborate on large projects, while teachers can assess them in real time.
How many of these tools do you use? What other tools do you use? We’d love to hear your views in the comments.