Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is becoming more common in schools across the country. This is no surprise given the recent advancements in computers, the expanded use of tablets and iPads, and the increased familiarity with technology in general. In a flipped classroom technology is used to enhance student learning outside the classroom and class time is focused on understanding and delving into lesson topics in much more depth.

What does a flipped classroom look like?

A flipped classroom allows students to watch lectures and study lesson materials to gain knowledge of a particular topic outside of the classroom. In class, the teacher may revisit concepts for students, but concept engagements and working through exercises are the main focus. Basically, typical “homework” takes place in the classroom where teachers can offer individualized support as students deepen their knowledge of the concept.

Flipped classrooms have both advantages and disadvantages to them:


  • Students can learn at their own speed. They can read lesson materials at their own pace and can stop, pause, and rewind/rewatch videos at home. This allows students to spend as much or as little time with each lesson as they need, and students can also receive additional one-on-one help inside the classroom.
  • Increases student engagements because students come into the classroom prepared to discuss the lesson topic and are more likely to participate in discussions when they are familiar with the material.
  • Promotes student-centered learning, collaboration, and team-based skills. Teachers have the opportunity to work with each student individually or allow students to work in groups to complete in-class exercises.
  • Classroom discussions are more focused because each student knows exactly what the topic of the day is through their lesson viewing / studying the previous evening.


  • Not all school districts or students have access to all types of technology. This could make it very difficult for viewing videos or other lesson material online.
  • Not all students may have access to the internet or high-speed internet depending on where they live. This could mean long loading times and streaming may not always be a possibility.
  • Some students might not learn well from a computer screen or be uncomfortable studying on their own. It requires additional focus and often parental guidance.
  • Students are being held accountable for learning on their own. For some less motivated students this may be a large challenge to overcome.

Flipped classroom video:

We have compiled some great tips for flipping your math class.

1) Start by assigning a video for students to watch on a topic you would like to teach.

2) Once the students watch the video, ask them to post a question on a discussion board or private online forum and respond to classmates questions before the beginning of the next class.

3) Once in class, you can use the online discussion as a basis for classroom conversation. You can also spend time individually with students that need additional assistance on the topic.

4) As you become more comfortable with the flipped method, continue to expand the video viewing assignments to eventually reach a full lesson.

Are you thinking about flipping your classroom? Or have you already flipped your classroom? Let us know your thoughts on flipped classrooms or how you’re doing with your flipped classroom in the comments below!


Print Textbook vs. E-Textbook in the Classroom – Which Works for You?

Print Textbooks vs. E-Textbooks

With the recent rise in technology and increased focus on the 21st century classroom, most kids today have access to smart phones, tablets and the knowledge of how to operate them. It comes with no surprise that many schools have decided to switch from print textbooks to electronic textbooks (e-textbooks) for their classroom.

I’d like to turn this blog into somewhat of a discussion; exploring both textbooks and e-textbooks and letting you, the reader, decide which you prefer to use.


In a nutshell, e-textbooks are digital copies of books that contain the same information and arrangement as hardcopy versions. E-textbooks often include an audio component or full audio versions, closed captioned videos for the hearing impaired, and the format of many electronic files are compatible with adaptive or support technology. Some are made for online use only while others can be downloaded and placed on tablets (Kindle, iPad, etc.) or computers.  E-textbooks can also be interactive with opportunities for increased student engagement embedded with the text itself. This allows students and educators to utilize point-of-use videos, lesson tutorials, interactive exercises and other resources.

Print Textbooks:

According to TeacherVision, “Textbooks provide organized units of work; it (textbook) gives you all the plans and lessons you need to cover in a topic.”  In addition, it goes onto describe that people who read textbooks tend to comprehend and learn more. Textbooks don’t require power, so concerns regarding battery life on tablets or computers are eliminated.  Since they don’t require any special equipment (batteries, chargers etc.) they are completely portable allowing for students to take them home and complete assignments without worrying about owning or damaging expensive electronic equipment. In addition, textbooks also provide a normal progression of information and lesson difficulty. Finally, all the concepts in a textbook build on each other allowing for prior knowledge to help aid in the learning process.

Each delivery method provides students and teachers with access to the course materials, but there are advantages to each method that are not seen in the other. Ultimately, the decision to use e-textbook vs. print textbook boils down to personal preference and teaching style. Knowing the advantages of each delivery method is essential to making an informed decision for your classroom. Do you prefer to have your students get their hands on physical textbooks every day or have students watch videos that are embedded in their e-textbooks.

The choice is yours, what do you prefer? Let us know!


Integrating Technology into a Math Teacher’s Classroom

The Common Core State Standards communicate many areas in which technology can be or should be used to enhance the learning environment for students. As states’ implementations of the Common Core progress, more schools are utilizing technology in their classrooms and integrating it more heavily into their curricula. Though technology plays a considerable role in most teachers’ daily lives, bringing it into classroom can be a challenge. What are ways that math teachers can implement and expand the use of technology in their classrooms?

Interactive Learning Tools
The Internet is full of interactive learning tools and activities that have been developed for specific math subjects. Big Ideas Math features a number of them in our Teacher Resources section that correlate directly to concepts in the Big Ideas Math series.

Graphical and Visual Representations
Tech-savvy teachers and novices alike can utilize programs like Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word to generate graphs and visual representations of concepts. There are free templates and instructional resources for creating these online. A quick Google search for Free Excel Templates for Teachers will provide many great options, or change the search query for subject-specific content. Presenting a graphical example of a ‘time value of money’ problem could make all the difference for a visual learner who has been struggling with the concept.

Connecting Classrooms
Teachers have the opportunity to connect their students with their peers all over the world thanks to technology. Two teachers who live across the country can arrange to have their classrooms connect via a video chat service like Skype to share a lesson. Teachers can develop word problems using relevant data such as the distance between the classrooms, population of each state/town/capital, and cost of living data. These adapted lessons will not only increase students’ engagement but also broaden their horizons as they interact with each other.

Additional Resources
In addition to the Teacher Resources provided by Big Ideas Math, the following websites also provide additional resources and suggestions for the 21st Century math classroom:
BrainPOP Math
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
Innovate My School
Cobllaborize Classroom: Free Resources

Please share with us how you have successfully implemented technology into your math class!

21st Century Technology in the Math Classroom

Walk into a classroom today and what you will see is very different than what many of us experienced as a student. Today’s students are learning using more technology than ever. Touchscreen tablets, interactive whiteboards, virtual manipulatives, iPads and wireless laptops, to name a few, are the innovative technology items that Mathematics curriculums are now using. These devices enable students to see, hear, touch and, sometimes, experience their assignments. This utilization of technology opens the world to students and brings the outside world in.

A 21st Century Classroom has the following:

• engaged, interactive students
• a variety of available materials and resources
• the use of all available resources
• greater student freedom
• student-centered learning

Big Ideas Learning is excited that our math program, Big Ideas Math, provides students with all of the above. As students work through the program, they are given opportunities regularly to work with their peers utilizing 21st Century technology and materials to discover both the mathematics and how it relates to daily life. We all at Big Ideas Learning truly believe this is the best for Mathematics Education!