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Before you flip, consider this: leaders of the flipped classroom movement say each teacher will have a different experience, but securing school leadership support, time, and IT resources will be important to every effort.

Flipping your class starts with asking ONE simple question. In 2007, when we embarked on our journey through what is now known as a flipped class, we asked: What is the best use of face-to-face time with students?

Talking at our students for 30 to 50, minutes each day was not the best use of class time. We concluded that students needed us most when they were wrestling to understand a difficult concept or problem. This wrestling match often happened at home when we were unavailable to help students as they constructed their understanding. We reasoned that the best use of class time centered on engaging students in enriching activities and hands-on experiences. So, we stopped delivering direct instruction in class and haven't given a whole-class lecture in six years. We brought more inquiry and problem-based learning into classes and shifted any necessary direct instruction to videos that could be viewed either outside class or during class when a student needed the instructional content. We began our journey by simply trying to meet the needs of students.

Our guideposts

Flipped learning is a method developed by teachers for teachers, a grassroots movement gaining traction with the ones who have the real power to change education: classroom instructors. Each class is different, each teacher is different, and each will answer the ONE question differently. Still, some commonalities exist in what teachers need to become successful flipped teachers:

A network--Teachers who are successful are working with other teachers. Many of them have at least one other teacher in their building who is also flipping a class. Those who work "alone" often contribute and network with colleagues online. One place we are seeing them collaborate is at where over 9,000 people are discussing and collaborating about how to flip classes.

Support from the IT department--One of the big questions that each school or district must answer is: Where do I put my videos? There is no one right answer to this question. But the IT department must be on board with a flipped class model and help make posting teacher-made videos easy.

Support from administrators--Flipping a class (or a lesson) is a different way to teach. Administrators need to support teachers who are willing to innovate and change. We have seen the most remarkable change happen when leadership--whether at the school or district level--embrace a flipped class-room approach and provide professional development, resources, and a willingness to embrace change for the sake of students.

Time--Teachers need time to learn new software, create videos, and create lessons that go with the videos. Our suggestion is to attend a one- or two-day flipped learning workshop followed by a one-day training on screen-casting. Once a teacher has learned the basics, proficiency and efficiency come through practice. Our general rule of thumb is to allow 30 minutes to create a 10-minute video. At some point a teacher must decide if a video needs to be perfect, or if it is needed on Tuesday. We encourage schools and districts to think of ways to compensate or reward teachers for the extra time required to truly implement the flipped learning pedagogy.

Thoughtful educators--The most effective flipped class-room practitioners are very thoughtful about their teaching practice. They realize that there is no one way to flip a class, and they're constantly modifying and tweaking their classes. One teacher who attended the Flipped Class Conference returned to his school and implemented the Bergmann/Sams flipped model, and it was an utter failure. When he thought through why it didn't work, he realized he needed to personalize it for his own class. Once he personalized the model for his own teaching, he had great success.

Flipped learning has great potential to positively affect student learning. More than just a trend in education, flipped learning is a practice that is gaining momentum and is already making a difference for countless students. We are excited to see where this will go and how teachers will uniquely answer the ONE question.

JONATHAN BERGMANN and AARON SAMS are science teachers at Woodland Park High School, Woodland Park, Colo., and authors of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day (International Society for Technology in Education, 2012).
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Title Annotation:New styles of instruction
Author:Bergmann, Jonathan; Sams, Aaron
Publication:Phi Delta Kappan
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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