The ‘flipped classroom’ simply means distributing a series of videos and textual resources in advance of the lesson, says Chris Roseblade Deputy Head Communications at Merchant Taylors’ School Rickmansworth. This reintroduces “Prep”. Using a new video management solution called SANSSpace it allows the teacher to circumvent time constraints whilst communicating complex content and beginning subsequent classroom interaction from a more advanced starting point.
SANSSpace offers a level of interactivity capable of engaging pupils whilst also raising the bar. Before an English lesson, pupils can watch contrasting performances of scenes from Hamlet, which a teacher can ‘bookmark’ with virtual ‘post-it notes’ at key cruxes and invite post-it replies from the students, contrasting, say, Olivier and Branagh’s interpretation. A recording can be distributed of a science teacher conducting a chemistry experiment that health and safety legislation has long since made a sackable offence in the classroom. Expert commentary can be over-dubbed to enhance students’ knowledge of a particular topic. Language students can work on a clip in the target language to produce, for example, a glossary for a newscast encountering the realities of native speaker usage, rather than experiencing the language largely through the mediating voice of the teacher.
Using SANSSpace students can initiate (singly or in groups) or respond to videos: recording their own comments in either text, audio or video format at the location of their choice using their laptop, smartphone or tablet. The interactivity enforces concentration and engagement and transforms reading the screen into a problem-solving activity. Prep becomes more interesting and engaging as it starts from the world of digital media “that they bring to school with them”, yet happily enough, it enables the teacher to take the intellectual level up by more than just a few notches. Instead of relying on pupils to download and view video recordings without any framework of reference, we can now direct, inspire, and engage.