Have you ever felt like you needed superpowers just to be an effective teacher? I think as teachers we all do at some point! Juggling planning, marking, admin, behaviour management, and meetings, sometimes it feels like it's all a bit much.
As classroom teachers, with 15+ years of experience between us, we want to share how Edrolo levelled up our teaching powers and gave us time back. So you don’t have to wish you could clone yourself or freeze time!
If we were to go back in time and talk to our teacher-selves in our first years of teaching, our message would be FLIP THE CLASSROOM - and to do it immediately. This can seem an overwhelming task for any teacher (let alone a beginning or early career teacher), but it can pay dividends.
Flipping the classroom is a pedagogical model in which traditional, explicit instruction and homework components are swapped. Students complete tasks related to “remembering” and “understanding” outside of class or for homework. These can include note-taking from a presentation or watching content videos so they have prior knowledge before class.
Self-cloning: With Edrolo, students have access to teacher theory videos so they can easily review content before coming to class. They can also rewatch the videos for revision or catch-up if they’re absent. It’s great for flipped learning and literally feels like you’ve cloned yourself.
When students come to class, they then apply their understanding to complete higher order cognitive tasks such as unpacking exam-style questions (analysis and evaluation), and case studies. This means students are actively demonstrating their learning in class and have more one-on-one opportunities with you for feedback and guidance.
Here are our tips to help you flip your classroom:
It can be time-consuming to find videos that are relevant for students, especially if you have to watch each video before sharing them with students. Edrolo videos are presented from teachers who are highly experienced, which means they are concise (aligned with the study design), and accessible. There is a share link for each topic video, and specific chunks within it to be shared quickly and easily on a document or learning platform. Students also complete a ‘check your understanding question’ with each video, which is visible to both students and teachers to assist in planning their next steps.
The first step to flip your classroom is to explicitly explain to your students 2 things: what it is, and why it is important. Quite often once the why is explained, students are able to see how they will benefit and will be on board. For example, explain to students that they will have more time in class to work through exam style questions, for you to provide feedback one-on-one with them about their thinking and written answers. Next, make it clear what they are required to do before coming to class, and what they will be doing in class.
Next, make it clear what they are required to do before coming to class, and what they will be doing in class.
It’s important to remember flipped learning is not an all-or-nothing concept. Rather than flipping the entire subject, you could choose to flip one lesson per week, for example, the lessons where there is a practical or group activity. You don’t have to do it all, start somewhere and see the benefits for yourself!
Routines are roadmaps for students in and out of the classroom. They provide students with opportunities to accomplish day-to-day tasks, hence building their self-efficacy and decreasing disruptive behaviour. There are many ways that Edrolo can support you in building routines with students. Below is what this looked like for one of our flipped learning senior Psychology classes.
Super speed: Edrolo has a unit plan for each subject that you can use or alter, to help you get started. Along with the teacher presenter notes, you can fast track your prep and save so much time.
Chasing up uncompleted work can be a pain, particularly at the start of the year where there are a lot of events happening. If you are consistently following up on students who have not done the pre-class learning, then they will quickly learn that you hold them accountable for their learning. Setting clear expectations such as checking pre-learning regularly (every class, one day a week, etc), praising favourable learning behaviours and having clear consequences can make all the difference.
Have you ever assigned a classroom task to then have half of the students asking you what to do next? Questions about the task, others about what the question is asking, some about where to even begin. But mostly, questions for the answers, which are then met with your exasperated sigh! Teaching students metacognition enhances their capacity for self-regulation, increases their motivation, and builds their self-efficacy (and confidence). When used effectively, Edrolo can help to build metacognition in the following ways:
At the end of each video lesson students are asked to reflect on their understanding of the lesson. Since their reflection score is recorded and visible from their dashboard, they can use these reflection scores to target their learning, and plan their next steps.
Video solutions, exemplar answers, and answer checklists for every question are available to students through Edrolo. The video solutions unpacks each question (command terms, content terms), and the relevant dot points to the study design.
Quiz master: The exemplar answers and answer checklists are powerful tools for students to not only compare and contrast their answers with a high scoring response, but to also know what changes need to be made to their own answer and how to go about that! This is all ready and easy to set for students to complete.
The combination of these resources means students are able to get unstuck more easily and quickly. This is an important skill for them to develop as independent learners, particularly since you won’t be able to get them unstuck in their assessments. It also means they can make progress when you’re busy working with other students.
If you want to look like a master teacher, being a master differentiator will get you the title. Differentiating is a bit of a buzz word in schools right now but the amount of time and effort needed to do it effectively (and in a timely manner) seemed impossible! We can remember spending hours and hours trying to determine a student’s zone of proximal development, and how to sort our Guttman chart, only to get the data too late to even use it! Enter Edrolo. Once we started getting students to use Edrolo consistently, we could use the class data to strategically group students and plan next steps. This data was accessible (it can be exported), easy to read (it’s colour-coded), and in real-time (updated instantly). The ‘sorting’ part of differentiation had been done meaning the focus could be on what to do next.
Omniscience: With Edrolo, magically we could see which students might revise a topic together, who needed 1:1 support and who might be able to do some peer teaching. Win, win, win.
The concept of teaching to the test is like a bit of a dirty word in education. But the reality is this is what we are working towards with our students in senior secondary (VCE, HSC, QCE etc). It makes sense then for students to have access to similar styles of assessment and to practise sitting these throughout their final years. Whilst exams from past years and examiners’ reports are readily available online, it isn’t really feasible to expect teachers to mark several practice exams for every student in their class. Let’s face it, we are a time-poor people. With Edrolo we could overcome this by setting topic tests and exams digitally. Before we go on, don’t worry you can still print them too!
Freeze time: The auto-assessed marking in Edrolo meant that our marking time was reduced by more than half. We could then get students to watch the video solutions, self-mark and complete a reflection and voilà… marking done.
Now some may argue that might be a bit of a cop-out, but let’s consider the benefits to the students - because really, it’s about them. A student is much more likely to learn if they are being ‘active learners’. As teachers, that means we want them to ‘do, say, make or write stuff’. Often when we give feedback, students just passively take this in and don’t DO anything with that information and so, it’s likely going to be lost. This process forces students to be active learners.
Teacher wins? We could focus on seeing where the knowledge gaps were across the class, plan revision that targeted this and then mindfully plan interventions for students who needed it. The time gained wasn’t spent marking, and we had valuable information to plan next steps. Overall a BIG WIN for learning.
Chloe has 6 years of teaching experience across both government and Catholic school sectors teaching VCE Biology, junior Science and Maths. She is passionate about pedagogy and understanding what makes ‘good’ teaching practice. She was Assistant Leader of STEM, Inclusion Lead Teacher and even the producer of the school’s musical.
Bez taught VCE Psychology and Science at government and Catholic schools for 9 years. With over 4 years of experience as a House Group Teacher and House Leader, she built and strengthened partnerships between students, staff and parents to support students' wellbeing.