Tag Archives: flipped learning

Surfaces are go!

This week it was back to school.  The network upgrade had been carried out and the Surfaces delivered from IT.  I had found that the OneNote 2016 desktop version had not been installed during the holidays but with support from the school technicians and our IT department we managed to install the application on all of the 60 devices.  This was quite a long undertaking since it was not possible to download an install package so each Surface had to be done separately.  The installation process did allow us to check the devices were able to connect to the network.  The network connection has been done using the MAC address of the device and no logging in is required by the pupils.

The devices were also setup with an administrator account that the pupils can use.  This is in addition to the default password protected administrator account that was put on the device.  Whilst we know the pupils can delete the other account since they have admin accounts, this will give them the flexibility to install software that might be helpful to their learning.  Several of the pupils are looking forward to using the Surface for music, art and technical drawing lessons.  The admin account with the password will allow us to access the device if required for checking or if the pupil locks themselves out.

Parent information evening

On Thursday evening we had invited the parents and their children into the school for an information evening.  I was delighted that Margo Williamson, Strategic Director Angus Council and Steve Roud our IT Service Manager were able to attend.  Their support and leadership together with that of my head teacher Donald Currie who was present too and depute Archie McInally have been key in the progress made to date with the prototype.  I was also pleased to have Andy Nagle, Senior Education Manager at Microsoft in attendance.

View and download presentation from docs.com


There were a number of questions from parents at the evening some of those asked included:

Q: Do you think that it will take the pupils time a long time to learn how to use the technology?

A: Most young people are very familiar with new technologies and whilst some might take longer than others, I believe they will pick up how to access the materials and use the technology in a short amount of time.

Do you think that the pupils are mature enough to learn in this way?

A: Other parents present answered that they felt their children were mature enough and should take responsibility for their learning.

Why were senior pupils chosen rather than pupils in S3 where it matters less?

A: Senior pupils were chosen because we felt the prototype would have the maximum positive impact on these pupils.

Why is this being done in Physics?

A: The digital prototype was open to all teachers in Angus to bid to be a part of it.  Physics pupils are involved because I am a Physics teacher and I made a bit to carry out a digital prototype since I strongly believe that learning in school should reflect learning in the 21st century.

What is the evidence for this type of learning?

A: There are lots of schools using flipped learning approaches in their work.  National publications such as described in the proposal.  Locally we have experience in Webster’s High School of flipped learning in Higher Biology.

Can pupils get paper materials if they want?

A: Yes

Are you worried that the technology will distract from their learning?

A: The purpose of the digital prototype is to use technology to enhance the learning, if the technology is getting in the way of the learning then we will amend the prototype to ensure that this doesn’t happen to ensure the technology is used to benefit.

You talk about pupils having discussions with each other to help their understanding.  Will this prevent my child from making progress with their learning?

A: I believe that discussion between peers and with the teacher is a key component in learning.  These type of discussions are encouraged in my classroom since research has shown that pupils own understanding benefits from teaching and helping others.  With flipped learning peer discussion continues to be important.

We asked parents to let us know if they had any concerns or questions and that their and pupil feedback would be really important.  It was stressed that whilst this is an innovative project, we are not losing sight of the main objective which is to enhance the learning and teaching and ensure pupils attainment is as good as it can be.

Many of the parents were very positive about the prototype and shared how excited their child was about being involved.  A number had only children at university where flipped learning and increasingly independent learning was required and felt that doing this in school could only be helpful in the future.

One parent sent a lovely email of support:

Dear Mr Currie,

I would like to express my appreciation to Mr Bailey for tonight’s presentation and to yourself for being a supporter of such a fantastic addition to my son’s learning.
From the moment he was told he was to receive the Microsoft surface pro 4 he has been eagerly anticipating its arrival. I feel this is a wonderful opportunity for the students to engage in Physics in a new and exciting way. Whilst not always understanding the technology myself,  I recognise that it is the future for our children and am grateful that CHS and Angus Council Schools and Learning has supported this innovation.
Please thank Mr Bailey for his research , effort and enthusiasm in making this happen.

Next Steps

After the evening I have decided next week to have some familiarisation and setup sessions with the pupils in form tutor time to minimise the disruption to their physics learning.

I would also like to explore more about what research is available regarding flipped learning in schools.

At the moment I have set up the Microsoft Classrooms and OneNote notebooks for each of the three classes.  I have populated the Higher classes with a decent amount of material but need to add more for the N5 classes.  The intention is to add these resources so that pupils can do the flipped learning at home this next week and then apply their learning in class the following week.

The next week will be one that involved lots of testing and learning whilst endeavouring to ensure as much progress as possible with the pupils learning.

BOCSH Talking about learning

On Wednesday I had a pleasure of attending the BOCSH talking about learning conference at St. Andrew’s RC School, Glasgow.  The workshops run by BOCSH (Building Our Curriculum Self-Help) and SCEL I attended were all on digital learning. 

The first one by Sheena Boyle (MFL), Sandra Convery (English) and Lewis Hamilton (Physics) of Balfron High School.  Sheena started with it’s not about the technology it’s about the learning.  The technology provides feedback, choice, autonomy, independence and encourages a can do more attitude.  Tablets can reduce barriers are helpful for low confidence pupils or those with ASN.  iPads are used in Balfron High School and a number of apps were mentioned:

Flash card app, Padlet, Sticky notes, Mindmap apps, Showbie, Explain Everything.

Sandra shared using technology for recording feedback for pupils.  Voice recording and annotation means pupils less likely to forget feedback and saves time compared to all writing or chat with each pupil.

Lewis shared his experience on using Glow Office 365 tools for collaborative work between pupils and staff.  Ideas included pupils making a Word file in Word Online for their UCAS statement and then sharing it with their PCS teacher and other teachers for staff to see progress and help.  The statement can be worked on by pupils at home or in school.

He has also used PowerPoint on Glow collaboratively within a lesson where different pupils worked on the same Mission to Mars task, divided into parts for each, leaving Earth, journey to Mars, Landing, What to find out.  He reported the online collaboration meant pupils could see what the others in their group were doing at all times and we spurred on after seeing good work by others to improve their section.  Upon returning to school I have discussed using O365 collaboratively with staff and shown them how to do this.

The second workshop was by Derek Paterson at Larbert High School.  He shared the development of Glow within his school and how they had a digital learning week to promote digital learning and used Teach meets within school to share experiences across the school with sessions on Glow, Qwizdom, Edmodo, Class Dojo, Socrative and more.  Back in school I have mentioned this Teach meet CPD model to the DHT’s as I think this would be a good way to collaborate and share experiences.

The thirds workshop was on Flipped Learning in Maths by Craig McDougall also at Larbert High School.  He described the journey of the maths department at Larbert High School into Flipped learning.  In an ambitious use of flipped learning they created a YouTube channel Larbert Maths and now have videos for the N5 Maths course and much of the Higher course.  He stated the advantages of flipped learning as:

  • A way to deal with the high volume of content at N5 level.
  • Promoting pupil discussion and higher order thinking skills.
  • Enhancing self evaluation of skills
  • Enhanced differentiation of learning
  • Good for absentees
  • Good for cover
  • Good for pupils with ASN needs
  • Helps consistency of learning.

Pupils need training on how to actively watch the videos, when, where and how to take notes from them.  Lessons work better when what is done in class is more of a joint activity.

Suggested have a question at the end of the video that pupils have to answer and bring into class.  Pupils returning to class assessed themselves and started on the appropriate task, bronze (simple), silver (more complex) or gold (course exam level).  Then move up to do the other tasks as they become more familiar.  Can’t hide as they can with homework as learning is more visible.  If unable to do it in class have to be strict and say what did you do with the video, watch again.  Teachers can help clarify but shouldn’t explain everything otherwise no point to watch the videos.

Lots of ideas to take from this session, short videos, include example and question at the end.  Potentially more differentiation of task in class depending on pupil self assessment.

The conference was book ended with a good introduction from Gerry Lyon and a Teacher leadership or Teacher Teachership session from Fearghal Kelly of SCEL and a reflective plenary.  I have taken away lots of useful ideas and it was great to meet teachers and build networks to share ideas and practice.

Proposal details: Flipped learning.

Proposal – To use technology to facilitate the process of flipped learning within a science classroom.
The purpose of a flipped learning approach is to transfer the lower order learning from the classroom to outside the classroom.  This creates an opportunity to use the face-to-face time in class on higher order activities, thus supporting the learners and making the learning more learner focussed.
In a flipped classroom the role of the teacher is to facilitate the process of developing sufficient surface knowledge to then move learners to conceptual understanding.  More teacher time is available for discussions, one-to-one or in small groups, where the teacher and peers can spot and correct misconceptions.  Time is freed to answer pupil questions that occur from the initial learning, and to help provide scaffolding for the harder concepts in science.
Pupils can learn at their own pace, have greater awareness of their progress and can follow instructions that can be personalised and targeted for them based upon the enhanced learning conversations taking place.  Since the learning is visible to the teacher, rather than being carried out at home, better and timelier feedback and support can be provided.  I intend to use technology to provide an additional means to provide feedback to learners.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and Nesta recently produced a research report on flipped learning in 2015 which focussed on the teaching of mathematics in secondary schools in the UK.


Benefits of flipped learning

This flipped learning research report (NESTA and nfer 2015) provides this overview of success and barriers to success:

Barriers to flipped success

An important enabler not mentioned above is the role of parents/carers in understanding the process, so they are supportive of pupils completing work and using technology at home to carry out the learning prior to the lesson.  Parents and carers of pupils involved in the prototype will be contacted and issued with information to help them support the pupils.

The model of flipped learning is often seen as pupils watching a video outside of class for their instructions, but this can be done through a broader range of materials including reading of texts, PowerPoints, animations etc.

Following consultation with partners across Scotland, I am proposing to use the suite of Office 365 tools within Glow to deliver the flipped learning to the pupils.  Thanks to Ian Stuart, Malcom Wilson, Derek Robertson, Cara Matthews, Jennifer Offord and many others for their help, advice and information.

My prototype involves issuing each of my senior pupils with a tablet device that they can use both in school in my class and other classes and facilitate the shift of learning to home.

The existing wireless infrastructure in Carnoustie High School requires some upgrades to facilitate the learning including an upgrade in my classroom and the installation of Wi-Fi into a common learning area in the library.

To ensure equity within experience for all pupils it is proposed to use Microsoft OneNote as the electronic folder for the learning.  The advantage of OneNote is that it can be synchronised to each pupils’ device and therefore it is not necessary to have a Wi-Fi connection at home to carry out the learning.

Class details

There are three senior classes with which I wish to implement the prototype.  Class C a National 5 Physics class, class D a class of both National 5 and Higher Physics pupils and class E a class of Higher Physics pupils.  Implementing the prototype across these three classes will allow for teacher preparation time to be shared between the classes since all are following the same model and the composition of the classes allows the prototype to be evaluated in different contexts for differing ages and stages of learners.

Why I you want to be involved?  

To shift and further enhance my practice by embedding technology with the intention of improving outcomes for the learners in my classes.  The emphasis on the project is enhancing the learning and teaching and the experiences of the pupils, science is a 21st century subject of vital importance to the national economy and I wish to make pupil experiences and use of technology better reflect the use of technology in the world of work and beyond.

Involvement in this prototype helps me make a contribution to meeting the strategic themes for Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland; Empowering leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for learning and teaching; improving access to digital technology for all learners; ensuring curriculum and assessment relevance in a digital context; and extending the skills and confidence of teachers in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology.

What I hope to achieve – for your own practice and for improving outcomes for children?  

Improved attainment for learners at all levels particularly at national 5 and higher levels.

A shift in learner activities to an increased number of higher order activities and a shift in the quantity of teacher to pupil talk, allowing my time to be best used to support all the learners and provide them with feedback where it is needed.

The hope is that the young people become more confident and successful learners and improve the skills required for life-long learning.

How I could Evaluate

HGIOS 4 includes a number of quality indicators that can be impacted by this prototype and therefore used in evaluating the impact on the learners.  These include:

1.5 Management of resources to promote equity.
Teachers make effective use of a range of resources, including digital technologies, to provide  appropriate support and challenge for learners.

2.2 Curriculum
All staff take responsibility for developing literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and digital literacy across the curriculum.

2.3. Learning, teaching and assessment
Learners’ experiences are appropriately challenging and enjoyable and well matched to their needs and interests. Learners exercise choice, including the appropriate use of digital technology, and take increasing responsibility as they become more independent in their learning.

3.3 Creativity and Employability

Digital innovation
Children and young people work individually and in teams creating both digital and non-digital solutions. As their digital literacy becomes more sophisticated they embed computation to solve problems. Increasingly they apply the core principles underpinning digital technologies to develop their own ideas. Their skills are up-to-date with technological advances informed by a range of sources including the expertise of the young people themselves.

Digital literacy
Children and young people are innovative, confident and responsible in the use of technologies and staying safe online. They critically examine and make informed choices about the use of digital technology to enhance and personalise learning in school and where appropriate, beyond the school day. They anticipate and respond to new opportunities and threats caused by developments now and in the future.

How I plan to engage children, young people, parents and partners?  

I plan engage the young people, parents and colleagues through discussion of the expectations placed upon them by the learning approach being undertaken in the classroom.  Regular evaluation of pupils will allow me to reflect on the practice and listen to their views and opinions.

I am engaging with partners across Scotland to learn best practice and share ideas, challenges and solutions.

Technical Details – Recommendation from IT Services

In response to the request for digital prototypes within Carnoustie High School‘s physics labs, we propose the provision of Windows based tablets running Windows 10 O/S.  Devices would not be connected to the school network and would instead utilise Wi-Fi to access the Glow digital environment directly.    As you know this provides email, storage and workspaces for pupils and staff.  Additionally, it provides Office 365, WordPress and collaboration tools as well as broadcast services via Adobe Connect.

This would move away from the traditional approach of email and storage being provided on the school hardware/network to the Glow environment in a cloud based solution.  Utilising the storage provided by Glow would mean that pupils can also access their data from home or other remote environments where internet access is available at times to suit them in line with the flipped learning idea and this would be a move towards the learning environment described.  Within the school the devices would be in a group that was filtered by IP address enabling the internet access to be controlled. This would not apply if the device was connected off site and some “parental controls” type software may be needed on the devices to ensure the risk appetite was acceptable.  Additional costs for MS Office licensing have not been supplied as this would be provisioned via Office 365 within Glow.

One other issue would be around printing as this proposal would mean that printing was unavailable on printers within schools that were connected to the school network.  If this is required pupils could connect to their Glow account using other school IT and print accordingly.


Flipping 2.0 Practical Strategies for Flipping your class, Jason Bretzmann (2013).   


How Good is out School (HGIOS) 4th Edition, Education Scotland. 

Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland – Scottish Government.