Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers


August 7, 2020

A flipped classroom means different things to different educators. One consistent element across all definitions is employing technology to augment traditional classroom methods. The result can be a wide variety of blended learning models. How can 21st CCLC educators capitalize on the benefits of flipped classrooms that have been uncovered in the past 25 years of experimentation to make the most of virtual or hybrid learning during the pandemic? Here are tips and tools to help.

Kids Speak Technology

So often, even elementary students demonstrate an astonishing mastery of technology. They may be fearless about navigating platforms that are daunting to their adult counterparts. A certain segment of your students may be even more inclined to engage with technology-based activities than “IRW” (in real world) ones. Here’s your opportunity to draw them out of their shells.

Pause and Rewind

Some 21st CCLC programs that transitioned successfully to virtual summer programs made use of pre-recorded lessons — whether cooking opportunities, book read alouds or science demonstrations — and even developed their own YouTube channels. Unlike during in-person learning, students are at their leisure to pause and rewind videos if there's a point or concept they didn’t quite understand. This is a great tool for English learners, especially, who might not have the nerve to speak up in front of peers. Be sure to encourage this practice!

Classroom Management

Advocates of a flipped classroom sing the praises of the superior classroom management achieved in this environment for a couple of reasons: in-person instruction tends to be restricted to the more engaging aspects of a lesson, and students inclined toward disruptive behaviors during more passive virtual learning are less (or not at all) distracting to their peers.

Get to Know Your Students Better

Blended learning means that time spent together, whether virtually or in person, is more interactive. Even before the pandemic, this meant educators with flipped classrooms had the luxury of speaking with their students much more frequently and in-depth. With social distancing, your program is likely to be building in more direct communications between staff and students, such as emails and texts. And you never know where that communication might lead. In their book, Flip Your Classroom, authors Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams describe texts from a student that eventually revealed he had been kicked out of his home, so they were able to help guide him to appropriate help.

Build Trust Through Transparency

Your 21st CCLC program has done its best to invite families in to see for themselves how their child spends his time with you, but virtual learning places you directly in their home where they can see activities and interactions for themselves. This unexpected gift of the pandemic means you have a one-time opportunity to really build trust and buy-in that will benefit your program for years to come. Your activities are on full display and bound to impress even skeptical families. And we know that the true value of family engagement for the success of students is clear.

More on Technology?

You bet! Y4Y has many resources to help you incorporate technology into your program. Be sure to review the Classroom Facilitator Packet to inspire your development of key responsibilities of a virtual facilitator or facilitator in a socially-distanced space.

Without a doubt, flipped classrooms were born of the philosophy set forth in the 1993 book From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side by Alison King. Your new challenge of coaching your students through self-directed learning in a virtual, hybrid or socially distanced environment is no small feat. But the reality is, flipped classrooms have improved student engagement and performance through blended learning, strengthened student-educator relationships and expanded the scope of education just in time, it would seem. “Flipping” might have once seemed upside down, but with a new point of view, you may just discover that a flipped-model 21st CCLC program makes more sense than you ever imagined it could.