Are You Flipping Kidding Me? Why Would I Flip?

Are You Flippin’ Kidding Me?

Why Would I Flip?

@joe_edtech & @LisaBerghoff

This article is co-written and cross posted by Joe & Lisa. You can also find it on Joe’s Blog: WarriorEdTech

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It isn’t about using technology because it is flashy, and it definitely isn’t about more industrial age efficiency. Integrating instructional technology is about being able to do something that you’ve never been able to do before. It is about re-imagining the classroom, and everything else about school.

 Last Saturday, we had an opportunity to host a Google Education On Air Hangout on the “Flipped Classroom” during which we provided our participants with a description and history of the Flipped Classroom teaching model, clear reasons why each of us tried it with our students, and some evidence of it’s effectiveness. If you are interested in reading more about that as well as accessing some tools to help you get started, you are welcome to visit the “Flipped Classroom Resources” webpage we created.

 However, we don’t want to take up our blog space and inundate our loyal readers (a.k.a. – Joe’s Mom) with a lot of information about what and how. We think it is really important to start with why. Why would you take the time to flip your class? Probably the best way to explain it is through the eyes of a few students. First, we want you to see class through the eyes of Lisa’s Special Ed US History students.

 

@LisaBerghoff:

 My US History students all have IEPs.  Reading and writing is challenging for them and US History is dense with written information. Our textbook, while adapted for reluctant readers, is very long and intimidating. I wanted my students to be able to access the information but then do something with that information. I wanted them to apply their learning, make connections and predictions for the future based on what they are learning about the past. I wanted them to participate in activities that require them to think critically, make a claim, and support it with evidence. However, most of our class time was being used to read the material, talk about the content, and reach for a basic level of understanding. I was assigning homework activities that required them to extend their learning but I quickly became frustrated because many of my students were not completing the homework. The students who were completing it often missed the mark and the quality was nowhere near what I thought they could do.

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 I decided to take a risk and assign a video for homework. The students would watch the video to get the information and then we could use our class time to work in small groups to apply what they learned. I was amazed when all of my students watched the 5 minute video. I gave them a short survey and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Watching a video for homework was a low-stakes activity.  Everyone could access the video and it was much easier for them to get the information in this manner.  I was so encouraged I tried several other approaches.  For one assignment, I read the lesson from the text and recorded myself while highlighting the important information.  I then took it one step further and created a Zaption “tour” with this video by embedding questions. I could check the analytics to see who had watched the video and their answers were recorded and even graded for me! I could see how long the students spent on the videos.  One student clearly forwarded the video and just answered the questions.  Another student watched it more than once. This was exactly the kind of differentiation I was looking for.  The students had some control, everyone was able to get what they needed, and our class time was spent doing the kinds of activities that push their thinking and maintain the high standards that I have for my students.

 @joe_edtech:

That’s the success story. On the flip side – pun intended – my daughter spends hours and hours struggling with her math homework. It is no fun, and I fear that the constant frustration will lead her to dislike math, or worse, school. When she is in class, the teacher explains the concepts and the skills, and it all makes perfect sense. But by the time she gets home, she has forgotten much of the teacher’s instruction. It is just one of many classes and activities she participates in every day. More than once Katherine has said, “Ugh, I just wish I could see her work this problem again.” And that kind of thinking shouldn’t surprise us. She is used to looking up instruction on YouTube. When she wants to learn how to fix her hair a certain way, or create something new with her Rainbow Loom, or generate ideas for building in Mine Craft, she turns FIRST to YouTube and other digital resources available to her. Imagine how empowered she would be if she could review her math, or science, or music lessons in the same way.

 From a Technology Director’s perspective, I love the Flipped Classroom idea because it can act as a “Gateway Drug” to the integration of much more instructional technology, and can help facilitate the shift from teaching-centered classrooms to learning-centered classrooms. And as Lisa mentioned before, you don’t have to invest hundreds of hours to try it. All you have to do is “Flip” one lesson, one time.

You can still be a part of the conversation. Our Google Hangout Webinar “Flipped & Blended Learning for the Chromebook Classroom” is embedded below. If you have any questions, please contact us via Twitter or leave a comment in the box below.

 

 

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Appreciation, Celebration, and Gratitude

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week here in the US and for educators it is often a time  to reflect on those who helped us become the teachers we are today.

 

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I know so many teachers who say that they knew when they were very young that they wanted to become teachers.  How many first graders are going home and playing school?  You have to figure that at least a few of them will actually continue on to become educators.  So many of my educator friends  can pinpoint a specific teacher who so inspired them that they wanted to grow up be just like them.

That was not me.  I wanted to own a restaurant, or be involved in owning some sort of business.  Even after graduating from college, I did not really have teaching on my radar.  I liked school just fine but it was not my passion.  I came to teaching in a more roundabout way but now I could not imagine doing anything else.

When I think about the teachers that I had, there is one teacher who does come to mind as someone who played an instrumental role in shaping who I am today in the classroom.  Mr. Sprague taught social studies at my high school.  I took one of his classes as a freshman.  It was called “Man In His Changing Society”, can you imagine??  I liked Mr. Sprague. I did not love social studies and I did not have a burning interest at that time for learning about cultures.  What I liked about him was that he was so engaging.  So many of my teachers stayed behind the safety of their lectern at the front of the classroom. Mr. Sprague was all over the place.  He would get so close to you, and ask you questions. He would put you on the spot but in a friendly, non-threatening way.  I took another one of his classes as a senior.  A political science class.  Again, not my passion, but I enjoyed being in Mr. Sprague’s class.  He once spent an entire class period talking to us about the importance of driving safely in the winter conditions.   He shared a story about dropping his glove in his car and realizing that in order to reach it he would have to take his eyes off the road.  He let us know that he let his glove sit on the floor of his car until he got to school.  He cared about us that much.  Even today, teachers often fret about not having enough time to get through all of their curriculum.  That certainly was true back when I was in school and it is still true to this day but Mr. Sprague thought that it would be best use of our time on that day to talk to us about being safe.  He cared.  For that I am grateful to Mr. Sprague.  It reminds me to keep things in perspective.  Remember, we are teaching students and not subjects.

I’m also reflecting this week on the great fortune that I have  to work with  incredibly talented and unselfish colleagues.  There has been a trending hashtag on Twitter called #CelebrateMonday and I am so happy to say that I enjoy walking into school every Monday.  I happen to work with people who can make me laugh until tears roll down my face.  That is certainly something to celebrate.  Monday is always full of possibilities.  I haven’t had the chance to completely mess up the week (yet) and I’m ready to try all of the new things that I came up with over the weekend.  I work with a collaborative group of professionals who give me valuable feedback and keep me on my toes.

I am also so appreciative for my online P2LN (personal/professional learning network). Since I have been working to become a more connected educator I have grown exponentially.  I am gaining amazing resources, engaging in powerful conversations, and using what I am learning in my own classroom.

I’m hoping that you will join me in appreciation, celebration and gratitude.  Happy Teacher Appreciation/#CelebrateMonday everyone!

 

 

&nbspBy asenat29 [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons