What are the best ways for me to use my class time? How can I engage more of my students? How can I be a more effective teacher with the resources at my disposal? Through the study of open learning environments these are some of my questions for reflection. I’ve already encountered many exciting and potentially revolutionary ways in which I can infuse open learning into my classroom, yet there are certain roadblocks that (at least initially) detour implementation. That is why I am most excited about the promise of flipping my classroom!
The above video provides a simplistic summary of what a flipped classroom would look like. It also answers some of the questions about what a flipped classroom is and by default what is isn’t. Having lectures via video offered at home, and homework completed with class time puts the expert teachers in position to come along side the students and work with them at an individual level. This sets quality teaching and individual feedback within easy reach of the students. Some may be afraid that a flipped classroom will somehow replace teachers, but that isn’t the case. “Good teaching is the single biggest variable in educating pupils, bigger than class size, family background or school funding, says Eric Hanushek, an education expert at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution” (“Flipping the classroom”). Quality instruction will always be necessary. Flipping a classroom simply offers an efficient framework for teachers to organize materials in a way that is easily accessible to students. It allows students to review videos more than once if they are not grasping complicated topics and move at their own pace.
Flipping my classroom is most useful for me because it allows for me to take a gradual, yet meaningful step to integrating open learning. I don’t need to flip all of my classes for an entire year at once. Aside from being overwhelmed, that would be impractical and perhaps cause me to burn out. Preparing 4 different video lectures each night for the different classes I teach isn’t going to provide a meaningful experience for me or likely for my students (“5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Flipped My Class.mp4”). I plan to flip one class, and start off with one or two units a quarter. As a social studies teacher, most of the topics themselves aren’t that complex for students to grasp in the sense that students need a lot of one on one instruction. What they would benefit from is more guided discussions and small group cooperative learning activities. Freeing up time that was previously spent passing out information via lecture will fill this newly opened time frame. I also have quite a few videos that enhance the units I teach. Most of these supplemental videos are found on YouTube and instead of taking two days to watch a History Channel video on Vikings in class (interesting and informative as they are) I can assign the video for homework. Later that week we can discuss the video with class time. The flow chart below shows a great framework to guide yourself in flipping your classroom. (“How to Flip Your Classroom”)
Some teachers think you can flip your classroom and use other people’s videos in that process. I have read quite a bit of research on that topic and there seems to be some differing opinions. As stated above, the History Channel can produce a documentary on a topic far more interesting than anything I have the budget or time to do. Yet it does seem to be important for teachers to generate their own content (Flipping the Classroom). If I am showing the History Channel’s video, I plan on using my own supplemental discussion questions to partner with the other content. The teacher is the professional in the classroom and for students to see the teacher presenting the videos establishes authority. It also forces the teacher to be transparent to not only students but also teachers and administrators. It is somewhat of a vulnerable feeling to put your presentations on display but it is also an empowering idea as well. By focusing on certain units in a class I think I will have time to provide a meaningful educational experience by flipping my classroom. I will have time to create videos and then use the newly liberated classroom time to assist struggling students and develop cooperative activities that enhance critical thinking skills. (“5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Flipped My Class.mp4”)
Flipping the classroom. (2011, September 17). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://www.economist.com/node/21529062
Learning Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://flippedinstitute
How to Flip Your Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2015, from http://hybridclassroom.com/blog/?p=819 .org/learning-resources
The Teacher’s Guide To Flipped Classrooms. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://www.edudemic.com/guides/flipped-classrooms-guide/
Saltman, Dave. Flipping for Beginners. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://hepg.org/hel-home/issues/27_6/helarticle/flipping-for-beginners_517
What a ‘flipped’ classroom looks like. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_p63W_2F_4
5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Flipped My Class.mp4. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JPdGlyt6gg