One thing I keep hearing from teachers who embrace flipped learning is that they now have time to incorporate projects into their courses. This is because teachers have moved whole group instruction away from the class time.
An example of this comes from Ryan Hull, a seventh grade social studies teacher in Olathe, Kansas. He teaches one semester of Kansas history and another semester of world geography. In his semester on Kansas History he creates simple flipped videos about what happened in Kansas’ history and he retools class to be filled with projects, activities, and other engaging learning times for his students.
At the end of each quarter Ryan has his students do what he calls his multi-genre project. Students look back at what they have learned throughout the quarter and then choose three to four topics they want to learn more about. Some students report on geologically ancient Kansas when it was covered in water, while others study the story of John Brown, the freedom fighter, and others explore the life of Kansas born president Dwight Eisenhower. Students do research and show what they learned in a variety of ways. The reason it is called the multi-genre project is that students can choose any medium they want to demonstrate their understanding and insights into their topics. Students are creating audio podcasts, art work, sculptures, paintings and their own flipped videos. Ryan reports that these projects have helped his students understand research, design, and how to creatively present interesting topics that they care about. I like that his students have some autonomy which leads to more student engagement and buy-in. When the project is complete, students have a “gallery walk” where they proudly show off what they learned to each other and to a larger audience.
The kicker is that these students get to do this four times a year. Because of the flipped classroom, Ryan’s students have the opportunity to learn more about primary research, how to creatively demonstrate understanding, and how to apply their learning to current events and problems. Ryan states: “Flipped Learning is the game changer for my students. I now have time to do the projects I’ve always wanted to do with my students.”
What are your reactions? What has flipped learning allowed you to do that you couldn’t do in a more traditional environment? If you are trying to implement more Project Based Learning in your class, we encourage you to explore flipped learning and see, like Ryan, that flipped learning allows for PBL to flourish in your classroom.