The “Flipped Classroom”, it’s what everyone is talking about and for good reason.
I jumped into this flipped classroom with two feet, full steam ahead. I thought, “Here is the answer to my problems of students missing class due to illness, sports or school assemblies.” I reasoned, “I’ll get more teaching time and then I can do the activities with my students that will help them really ‘get’ the concepts they need to master this topic”.
But then there are those things ‘they’ forget to tell you about, like: curation of all that data, the time it takes to make all those videos, and what if the students don’t watch the lesson?” Here are some things to consider before you jump into the flipped classroom pool.
Where do you organize all those ‘flipped videos’ that you make?
There are many answers to this question. Google sites being one. However, the learning curve can be a bit tricky. Here’s my sample page.
Another option is weebly.com. The user can drag and drop the content right onto the site and they have some professional looking templates. However, the one I found to be the best is blendspace.com This is a drag and drop interface.
Blendspace accepts anything that is on the web or your computer and organizes it easily without having to understand coding. Here’s a sample page by Jennifer Barnett on Plate Tectonics.
Which ever you choose, stick with it – students have a hard time with change and you’ll avoid the excuses that will come up.
It will take longer than you think
Until you get the hang of your screencasting software, you’ll take longer than you think to make a video.
The rule of thumb is: For a 3 minute video it will take you approximately an hour to create, edit and tweak the video. There are a ton of free apps out there: for ipads – Educreations, Explain Everything, Showme.
What happens when students don’t watch the video lesson? I ask students to watch the video in class and they are not given the opportunity to participate in the activity until they finish. It only takes one time for a student to be sitting on the sidelines when others are having fun doing an activity to make sure they ‘do’ the homework.
Give formative quizzes often. I have students take a formative quiz after each video – they cannot move on in the lesson until they ‘pass’ the formative quiz. A quick check of blendspace shows me who still has to pass and what they are struggling with. You can easily assign quizzes and track progress on CK-12.
Expect some resistance
I was really surprised when I encountered resistance from the students to flipping the classroom. But students have a system and an expectation in class. When you flip the classroom, it upsets their ‘norm’. This can be problematic for some students. To help them, ask them to hang in there for, say a month and then revisit the topic. I haven’t had a student yet want to go back to the traditional method once they get the hang of a flipped classroom and all the individual attention they get at school.
So is flipping the classroom worth it? I’d say, “Yes, and make sure you go in with your eyes open and tools in your toolbelt”.
About the Author:
Cheryl Chase has been an educator for over 13 years. She teaches Middle School Science at Google Apps for Education school in California. She has her Masters Degree in Education, is a MERIT graduate.