Becoming a FlipperImage composite: believe_in_me/ellysaho/mygueart/istock/thinkstock

Would you like to try flipping your classroom? Here’s one teacher’s story about his journey from direct instruction to flipping.

It was just over a year ago when I first heard the term “flipped classroom.” I remember wondering what part of the classroom was flipped. I envisioned images of desks and books upside down, but never thought much about the concept. I didn’t realize I was heading in that same direction myself.

Let me back up. During my first few years of teaching, I thought direct instruction and class discussion were the most effective ways to engage my students and teach American history. It wasn’t until four years ago that iTunes and the Internet gave me some ideas about how to change my teaching style, and it continues to evolve more each day. This is my journey.

Step 1: The class blog and audio podcasts

My first step was creating a class blog for my students to follow what was going on in class. I had seen a few other teachers’ class blogs and websites, and I thought that it would be a good place to capture what we were doing in class. Students who missed class could see that we watched a YouTube video and answered questions. I could also upload Word documents, embed videos from the History Channel, and post other resources for the students. That worked wonders, and I thought for sure I had done something magical in the world of education. Within a few days of creating the blog, students were reading the blog in advance. They were coming to class prepared to ask questions about what the activities and discussion would be. They were downloading the documents and videos I posted. They were ready for discussion. It was the greatest discovery since Columbus’s — sort of.

Not long after that, I realized that my blog was just one way to deliver information about the content and the class to my students. With a long drive to Virginia ahead of me, I downloaded a few podcasts from Yale University to listen to on the road. Then it hit me: Why not make my own audio podcasts for my students to listen to on their own time?

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