The power of story telling in the flipped classroom

Updated: Aug 6

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...


This is a story about about how I’ve used Story Maps for self directed learning in a flipped classroom. You can access the story maps I’ve made on my Twitter feed @koffiehuis84 or @geovle.


I teach over Zoom technology, which has the potential to feel an alien and inauthentic way to teach Geography but I feel that story maps can overcome this digital, distant learning environment. Students are connected by the stories and can easily make their own to show understanding. They enjoy collaborating on and sharing stories they make themselves. They can use this as a revision resource too.


When I took over a year 13 group who were doing NEAs based on the Changing Spaces Making Places module, it was clear they just ‘hadn’t got it’. We were pressed for time so I couldn’t re-teach it so I made the Story Map below. I’ve found this useful for the new Year 12s and both groups have used this for revision.


Click on and scroll through the story map below...


Reasons to try Story Maps

Story maps are easily embedded into Virtual Learning Environments and allow learners to interact and immerse themselves in topics guided by the subject specialist through a variety of media at their own pace.


In this age of virtual learning environments, we need to be cautious not to become detached but rather use these tools authentically and creatively to inspire, extend and encourage learners to explore the world and make it better.

Story maps not only give learners a ‘place’ to go, to explore, they provide a platform to discover and show and extend their understanding of complex and interrelated concepts.


From Key stage 3 to 5 I’ve found students eager to create stories of their own no matter their starting point. (You can immerse yourself in some other Geovle story maps for younger learners about dinosaurs, space, motion and the weather).


Using story maps in a flipped classroom intentionally shifts instruction to a learner-centred model in which class time explores topics in greater depth sparking discussions that create more meaningful learning opportunities.


Story maps allow active learning which is highly differentiated through pace the learner scrolls, visuals and text they engage with, maps they can explore further and clicks they can delve deeper into.

We finished the A Level course with this unit on Future of Food, which is an option on the synoptic Debates Paper.


The purpose of this story map is to engage at start of a unit but using the same images across story maps encourages students to see the synoptic links with the Changing Spaces unit such as globalisation of food and social inequality together.

We naturally learn through stories. Curious minds are entertained by and use stories to learn at their own pace, in their own time. Students facilitate their own learning by exploring maps and data – by touching, expanding, questioning and comparing.

Learners of all ages are curious. In this digital age Educators have a responsibility to nurture and inspire. Stories have the power to do just that.

If you’d like links to the story maps I’ve made they will be available on Ideas for Teachers blog on the RGS-IBG website or follow me for more stories on Twitter @koffiehuis84 or @geovle.


#StoryMaps #flippedclassroom #geographyteacher #ALevel

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