What is classroom upside down

The "upside down classroom" for digital natives

Edwin Lemke

The situation

Young people grew up with technologies that many educators and teachers never even dreamed of before. More than 2.5 billion people own a smartphone. More and more users between the ages of 18 and 34 are using a smartphone (especially in developing countries).

In this respect, the challenge is to meet the "digital natives" on an equal footing. You consume short content and communicate with the help of your smartphone.

However, the tools and the implementation of creative ideas must not be too extensive, too complicated or too expensive - because software programs or even hardware are usually not available or cannot be purchased or used.

Therefore, solutions must be easy to learn, easy to use, and affordable.

The questions

Which concept is there to use the advantages of digitization? And what can I easily implement to motivate my students? With this I am referring primarily to those who were born around 1999 and are known as digital natives because they deal so naturally with the technologies of digitization.

I am asked the questions not only in Germany, but around the world, be it in Chile, in North Macedonia or in Malaysia. And the questioners are mostly experienced teachers and competent trainers who have been leading and accompanying their learners professionally for decades.

my suggestion

Use the concept of the flipped classroom - use the "flipped classroom"!

For some years now, this principle has been used in Germany at some schools, universities and training centers. The well-known procedure "Teachers explain content in the classroom, students repeat at home" is reversed: Students learn content independently via videos or texts on the Internet and edit, discuss and compare their results in the plenary. I have been successfully conveying this concept for several years in my trainer training courses, teacher training courses and training-for-trainers (AdA) training courses worldwide.

The procedure

The participating trainers "only" need a smartphone with an internet connection. In their role as learners, they receive learning content via an Internet address. For their role as a teacher, they will then learn how easy it is to record teaching content in a video.

The training group is divided into three working groups. I give an Internet address through which the small groups can get different information on a topic. When setting the task in this seminar context, it is important that the participants receive simple information that is easy to explain and that they have gained enough experience in dealing with visualizations during the course of the seminar.

The task is to present this information in such a way that it can be used to record a video for the smartphone. Ultimately, explanatory videos with a length of two to three minutes should be created. The working groups have half an hour to read and prepare the presentation with a flipchart, with cards or with a whiteboard.

My observations during the group work phase:

  • Everyone is curious about the Internet information - and the young colleagues find it faster than the older ones.
  • There are always immediate ideas for implementation in a visualization.
  • There is a little reluctance among older participants to decide who will give the presentation and thus appear in front of the camera - but someone will always be found. The younger ones appear in front of the camera more naturally.
  • Occasionally, the trainers not only take turns during the presentation, but the entire working group is even involved in the "demonstration".

Before I film the presentations after the work phase, I give advice that it is best to look into the camera of the smartphone to see which area is being filmed - and I once again remind you of the three-minute presentation duration. This film adaptation almost always works right on the first shot. Sometimes the presenter makes a promise and insists on a new attempt. I rarely interrupt when I notice that the explanation is getting too lengthy and would take significantly longer than four minutes. Then we start the mostly successful, shorter second recording.

In this way, three narrative videos are created within about an hour. I load these onto my laptop in the evening and paste them into PowerPoint. The next day I have a presentation for the participants in which they can see and assess their results. Some of these films, such as short explanatory videos in Chinese and Macedonian, are later uploaded to YouTube because the participants would like to continue to watch their results themselves and show them to others.

The result

With this experience, I motivate teachers to only provide content with their smartphone. You will learn to either have a colleague film you or to film yourself, ideally with the help of a tripod. In a further step as part of the flipped classroom, at the end of the explanatory video there is a task, the results of which are discussed with the learners the next day.

In this way, younger people get to know new content in a way that is very familiar to them. And trainers around the world are learning to quickly and easily create digital content for various teaching situations.


Technical article "The 'upside down classroom' for digital natives?"

This specialist article is taken from the current iMOVE magazine xPORT, issue 1/2020.

  • Author: Edwin Lemke, expert for appreciative communication and international learning development as well as the world's first "Trainer in Business (AHK)", the other trainer (mostly in English) certifies

xPORT 1/2020

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