Applying the FLIP – Part 2

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

Like many of you, I am bombarded on a daily basis with ESL and education “news” from a multitude of sites. There are a few I breeze over, and others that I really pay attention to. One that has me stopping and thinking on a weekly basis is For those of you who may not be familiar with te@chthought, it is a vibrant website that is committed to providing resources for the 21st century teacher. Personally, I love the site because it really holds true to its mantra: learn better.

I recently came across a great article that reinforces what I believe about a good blended or flipped model. The article highlights the difference between using technology in the classroom and integrating technology.

While many of us are simply trained to use technology in the classroom, few of us are trained to effectively integrate this technology in a planned and purposeful way into our students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom walls. This integration of technology transitions us nicely into our discussion on the next two pillars of a FLIPped model: Intentional content and Professional educators.

Effectively integrating technology involves intentionally selecting the best content to be delivered outside of the classroom. When we think about moving instruction outside of the classroom walls, we have to ask ourselves what the criteria is. I think the answer is simple—content that requires students’ varied levels of cognition and varied levels of time. Take a look at this example from Next Generation Grammar.


In this exercise, students need to watch a video on the placement of gerunds in a sentence. Then they are asked to unscramble the sentences. This activity may require some students one or two viewings while others may need four or five. If we were to do this lesson in class, explaining the placement once would not be enough for most students. However, moving this content outside the classroom allows students to work through it at their own pace and access as many times as they may need to. That is intentional content—making good decisions about what can be moved outside of the classroom.

In order to make these informed decisions, it takes a professional educator. That is our last pillar. A professional educator, one who knows his/her students, as well as the areas that may require more time, more drills and more access, is the most critical pillar of the FLIPped classroom. While the Grammar Coach may support the classroom teacher, it takes a professional teacher to effectively facilitate learning in and out of the classroom. Learning to balance and control the dynamic classroom and digital environment is key.

Flexiblility, Learning culture, Intentional content, and Professional educators—these are the pillars of a flipped classroom. We cannot effectively integrate technology without considering these pillars. Let’s not use technology for the sake of using it. Let’s integrate it and use it to teach better.