The Power of FFW

‘You want me to fast-forward through your lesson?’ YES!

One of the main benefits of the Flipped Classroom is that it is now possible for students to control their lecture. They can pause, rewind, and replay a lecture at the click of a mouse. You’ve heard this many times, nothing new here…….

I often encourage my student to be active while they are watching my lesson videos. I provide fill-in-the-blank notes to help their engagement but I also encourage them to highlight material, make notes in the margins and develop their own questions. Although I have found that the most important thing students can do to help their learning is to fast-forward the videos. Most students are rather surprised to hear me say this but I think it has huge benefits to their understanding of what they know and don’t know.

I suggest that students watch the theory part of my video and take notes as usual. But once they get to my examples I encourage them, as long as they feel confident, to try the examples on their own. Once they finish an example they fast-forward to where my solution is and compare their outcome to mine. If they do not have the same result then they simply go back and watch the video to see where they made their error. The power in this has been amazing because the students are becoming active with the video. It surprises student how much they already know, and that even when they do make a mistake it is often just a minor misunderstanding. I also find that when students make that error it is likely an error they will not make in the future because they have taken ownership and become the detective. It has been really easy to get my student to buy into this because they view it as a way to save time while watching their videos, I like it because they are learning.

So, if you are a math teacher Flipping your classroom perhaps discuss the power of the FFW button with your students!


About flippingmath

Math Teacher, Flipper, Blue Jays Fan
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5 Responses to The Power of FFW

  1. This is a great suggestion that I don’t think I’ve really emphasized with my kids at all. I talk about rewinding and rewatching all the time, though! I like that you emphasized that it is still important for students to watch the “theory” part of the video, but can use FFW during the examples. Sometimes in my videos I tell my students I want them to try the next example on their own, and I say “Pause the video and try it; I will work it out for you once you have done it”. I hope that most students actually do try it with that prompting, but we will never know…

    I think I’m going to bring this up with my students on Tuesday when we get back. Great thoughts! 🙂

  2. asdf says:

    Hey Mr. Johnson, OK I just put it together, the 18,000 pre-cal videos on your youtube site *are* your flipped classroom. I’m a little slow.

    So here’s an idea (not necessarily a good one). I’m guessing you chose to create all the content for two flipped classrooms because you were not satisfied with an off-the shelf curriculum (Khan, homeschool stuff, etc). But at the same time it’s hard for you to find time for the rich classroom activities.

    So… why not sacrifice some quality and use an off the shelf curriculum, but get the value back (and maybe more) by devoting that time to researching/creating/refining the rich classroom activities? (and maybe after a year of refining classroom activities go back and build your own flipped videos).

  3. oops I forgot to sign the above the comment above… although coincidently my middle name *is* asdf. OK it’s not, it’s really “James.”

  4. I have read/heard so much about keeping things short with videos, I was thinking about doing the theory part as one lesson (maybe with a preview of examples at the end). Then making a separate video with the worked out examples. What are your thoughts? I teach Geometry and Algebra 2 (probably like your 10th grade class). I’m thinking of flipping Geometry next year, waiting on A2.

    • flippingmath says:

      I think that is a good idea, I have a colleague who has done something similar. In my videos I try to keep them around 15 minutes. I do a little theory and a couple examples. They really don’t differ significantly from the traditional lessons I used to give, I am just more efficient now.

      I don’t know if you’ve seen my videos but they are available at if you want to see what I did.

      All the best.

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