INNOpod #2: Making Learning Personal in a Flipped Classroom


The subject of Personalized Learning is central to the work of The Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL). CIL has provided a wide variety of resources on this topic, and its staff have for some time now been thinking about, writing about, and practicing Personalized Learning. The emergence of educational technology–from apps to devices to assessments to digital portfolios–is rapidly expanding the possibilities for children and their learning. These are exciting times but they can also be overwhelming times. The intersection of technology and interpersonal relationships–student to teacher, student to student, student to parent–is a fine mingling, not an exchange. It’s not exchanging one for the other, rather merging one with the other. We consider it our job to support you in mastering that mingle.

This INNOpod, Making Learning Personal in a Flipped Classroom, introduces just a slice of the work that occurring in partnership between the Center on Innovations in Learning, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center. Michigan has made the provision of greater personalization for student learning a priority in its state and has established state-level expectations, structures, and services to support its districts and schools in making it a reality for every Michigan student. We are excited to build upon this important work and share it with educators throughout the country who are also in pursuit of greater personalization for their students’ learning. We would like to thank Tara Maynard, a middle school mathematics teacher at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland, Michigan, for lending her time and expertise to this project.


1. Introduction

If you haven’t already, be sure to review INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning. There, you will begin to connect so much of what you already to as an educator to the emerging and expanding practice of Personalized Learning.

You will also want to download these three documents to process the information included in this INNOpod and plan for your next steps:

  1. These Reflection + Idea Tool Pagescorrespond with each of the segments included in this INNOpod (g., First, Second, Third, etc.). The purpose of this page is to help you to process your thinking and learning so that the planning and action is a natural next step.
  2. This Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice Checklistwill make it easy for you to identify those Indicators you observe in action throughout this INNOpod. We will provide it in both Word and PDF so that you can adapt and adjust it to meet the needs of your state, school, classroom, teachers, and students.
  3. This Next Steps and Planning Guidewill help you to move from processing to planning and action.

Now that you’ve reviewed INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning and downloaded and printed the processing documents, take a moment to complete the first activity on the Reflection + Idea Tool Page before moving on.


We’ve provided trusted, reliable, and informative content that will:

  1. Give you the vocabulary and a framework for understanding how personalized learning works so that you can organize what you’re already doing that’s pretty personalized but also determine where the bare spots are
  2. Provide you with video examples of teachers and their SPECIFIC practices for personalizing learning
  3. Stockpile your resource library with high-quality, Center on Innovations in Learning-approved articles, research, and action steps related to the practice
  4. Connect the practices with specific how-I-did-it insights directly FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES who are doing it
  5. Finally, show you where people are sharing about it on social media {if you’re curious} and show you how to join in the conversation {if you’re interested.

3. The Framework for Understanding Personalized Learning + the Vocabulary to Talk About It, Plan For It, Implement It, and Assess It

We first introduced these indicators of effective practice in INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning, but they’re worth reintroducing. These Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice, developed and published by the Center on Innovations in Learning provide you with an important framework for organizing your understanding of personalized learning and also your practice of it. We’ve converted them into a checklist for ease of documenting what you observe throughout this INNOpod and in your own schools and classrooms.

Spend a few minutes reviewing them and then pay attention to their application throughout this in-depth focus on one teacher’s use of the Flipped Classroom to make learning more personal for her students.


4. What is this FLIPPED CLASSROOM I Keep Hearing About?

The first personalized learning practice that we will examine in this series is categorized under the umbrella of blended learning.

From Wikipedia:

Blended learning, a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

The specific blended learning approach examined here is referred to as  FLIPPED CLASSROOM. You may also have heard it called Flipped Learning.

From Wikipedia:

Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional educational arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of the instructor.

You can read about the origins of the flipped classroom, the WHAT and a little bit of the WHY, and some ideas about “the best use of face-to-face time with students” in this article.  (If you’re sick of reading, there’s a video you can sit back and enjoy).

We’ve curated more research and additional resources that you will find further down in the innoPOD. But we don’t want to wait another minute to introduce you to Tara Maynard, a middle school mathematics teacher at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland, Michigan.


Tara has created a very complete Webinar that will show you exactly what goes into creating a Flipped Classroom model in your classroom and what it looks like in practice. We’ve also conducted an in-depth interview with Tara, which you can listen to or read further down in the INNOpod.

Once again, this Personalized Learning Indicators Checklist will help you to keep track of the indicators as you observe them thoughout Tara’s presentation—both as it relates to her instruction and especially to her students’ learning.

There is also plenty of blank space in your Reflection + Idea Tool for more general note-taking as well.


5. Tara Maynard Demonstrates How She Flipped Her Classroom

Tara Maynard Was Peer-Pressured Into Flipping Her Classroom. She Demonstrates How She, Her Students, and Their Parents Are Better Off Because Of It.

The Michigan Department of Education developed a series of live, Personalized Learning Webinars led by school-level educators to demonstrate and share their personalized learning practices. This webinar is led by Tara Maynard. Her presentation begins at approximately 6:50. Again, the original viewing was live; what appears below is the recorded version.

As you watch this webinar, take notice of what you observe, what questions you have, and what ideas Tara’s demonstration sparks for you. Keep the Personalized Learning Indicators Checklist close by. You will observe many of them in action.

Emily, Embed Code for Video is below:

  • 6:50: Introduction and context
  • 8:39: Tara offers detailed description of what happens “Outside of Class” in a Flipped Classroom, including how and what she prepares for her students and how and what they are expected to prepare and contribute.
  • 14:40: Tara describes what happens “Inside of Class” in a Flipped Classroom. She shares specific strategies and resources for engaging students to demonstrate and practice their learning.
  • 34:19:  Tara describes the “Self-reflection and Assessment” component of her Flipped Classroom, how she guides students to process their own learning and understanding, and how that data helps her to personalize her instruction even further. *Note: There is an audio glitch between 34:30 and 34:59.
  • 40:40: Tara shares the web tool that has changed her teaching.
  • 46:51: Tara provides her contact information so that you can reach out to her directly with any questions about your efforts to flip your classroom.

6. Tara Shares It All: Her Tools, Her Process, and Her Must-Do’s for Flipping A Classroom

Now that you’ve seen what a Flipped Classroom looks like, we will tell you exactly how Tara learned about, planned for, implemented, and assessed flipped learning. We picked her brain about where to start, what to pay attention to, what absolutely not to do, and what Tara was THRILLED to discover about this approach that she had not expected.


You can listen to our conversation by clicking on the soundcloud recording below, or you can read the conversation here: Tara Maynard + the Flipped Classroom.

In this Episode:

  • 1:30: Tara talks about a good kind of peer pressure that nudged her to flip her mind and eventually her classroom
  • 2:00: Tara’s gratitude for her student teacher who led the way and gave Tara the push and the confidence she needed to take the leap and keep going.
  • 4:10: Tara’s greatest motivation for using a Flipped Classroom model was to increase student engagement, which she achieved INSTANTLY.
  • 7:00: Tara shares some of the early challenges that came with the new approach and giving students more in class flexibility over their learning.
  • 1o:00: Listen to the completely unexpected but absolutely AMAZING outgrowth Tara has discovered (hint: she’s not just teaching middle schoolers, she’s teaching their parents…and they LOVE it).
  • 13:00: Yes, it’s as good as it sounds, but Tara doesn’t gloss over the challenges. Listen to hers, her students’, and how they continue to address them.
  • 18:10: Tara shares the process she uses for planning a unit and a lesson in her Flipped Classroom. You can learn more about it in More from Tara, below.
  • 23:30: Tara’s advice for any educator on the fence about flipping.
  • 28:10: Tara reminds us why the teacher is so important, what the technology has allowed HER to do more of for her students, and how much better she knows them now.
  • 32:00: Tara lets us in on what’s next for her.

More From Tara: A downloadable Q&A sheet where she dishes even more about her process, what she’s learned, how her students are growing as learners, and the instance when Flipped Classroom just doesn’t work. Get it Here: Tara Maynard Q&A



We’ve provided you with a lot of information–and there is still more to come. If you haven’t already, now is the time to download the Next Steps + Planning Guide, which will help you organize the knowledge, ideas, and burning questions you’ve captured and turn them into your next steps for moving forward.



From the Center on Innovations in Learning Database

The Center on Innovations in Learning has done some good, hard thinking around personalized learning. Here are just a small, small sampling of the research-based resources you can find in the database. For this particular search, I entered the phrase #flippedlearning

  • Flipped-Learning Toolkit: Flipping the Non-Flippable ClassesBergmann, J., & Sams, A.This article begins, “When the subject of the flipped class comes up, many educators see how it applies to academic subjects like math and science education, but don’t realize that the methodology has applications in a wide array of other classes. Can you flip other subjects? Can you flip an elementary classroom? The answer is a resounding yes.” Year Published: 2014
  • A Review of Flipped Learning (pdf)Hamdan, N., McKnight, P., McKnight, K., & Arfstrom, K. M.This review defines and describes the flipped learning model, briefly notes its historical foundation, addresses common misconceptions, discuss learning theories underlying the model, and describe empirical research findings and concerns that have been raised.Year Published: 2013
  • 5 Top Trends in Education Technology 2015: Why the Industry is Primed for Big Things This YearSkonnard, A.This article describes five top trends in ed tech to keep on one’s radar screen in 2015 and beyond: online corporate learning, skills measurement, alternative learning styles, online competency-based training, and flipped-learning tech.Year Published: 2015

Our searchable  research database  is an incredible resource for any educator looking to find information on Change Leadership, Change Processes, and Personalized Learning. The database is carefully curated to provide you with the most credible, highest-quality, research articles that exist on these topics and many related others.

More Flipped Learning Resources on the World Wide Web

We’ve included a few of our favorite articles and resources you’ll find on the world wide web about flipping classrooms below:

Social Media Hot Spots

  1. You can follow Tara Maynard on Twitter at @tmaynard5
  2. You can find out about Michigan’s efforts to make learning more personal for its students by searching #miched on Twitter.
  3. For Flipped Learning happenings on Twitter, search the following hashtags:
    • #flippedlearning
    • #flippedclassroom
    • #flipped
    • #edtech
  4. For Flipped Learning happenings on Instagram
    • #flippedlearning
    • #flippedclassroom

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see in your Twitter search for #flippedlearning:

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.53.49 PM

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.54.48 PM

Thank you so much for spending your time here. We hope these resources were informative and useful. Please keep us updated on your progress toward implementing blended learning in your state, district, or school—and how you are brining the Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice to life where you are.

Please contact Chris Sadjean Peacock (, Communications Director at the Center on Innovations in Learning, with any questions, comments, and updates on how you are using this INNOpod. Use #INNOpod to let us know as well.


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