I had the opportunity to discuss the idea of Flipping yesterday – I was conscripted for the assignment – and was both terrified and excited.
My plan started with a PollEverywhere multiple choice question asking the participants if flipping was new, if they’d heard of it, or if they equated it with videos. From there, I’d begin my spiel focusing adding/deleting to what I’d say based on the numbers from the poll.
Then, the discussion ebbed and flowed around the responses to questions I created from the Flipped Learning pdf. I wanted to push the idea that many of them, based on their response, were already heading down the flipped path: they were adjusting and modifying instruction based on what students needed, they were modifying their environments as needed, etc. The next step was up to them, how did they see themselves moving forward. I used a couple of questions from Jon Bergman’s “Questions before you flip;” however, I kept it a little too open. The questions didn’t guide the discussions in the way I had hoped. And, suddenly time was up, and I hadn’t helped them accomplish anything. My one goal, to give them something to move forward with on their own, had not materialized; I’d failed. Ugh.
Not everything was bad. I know my beginning was sound; though, I should have let the participants give me their definition of ‘flipping,’ i.e., an open-ended question instead of the multiple choice. My presentation, the launching pad for the time-block (thanks to the help and feedback from folks on Twitter: Doug Ragan, Kristin Gregory, Marcia Powell, Marc Seigel, & Julia Winter — Thanks to them again!) was solid and did let me address a few key ideas.
The most important piece of advice, though, I didn’t take to heart: sharing my story. I ended up getting too caught up in not wanting to influence how ‘flipping’ was perceived, I forgot to show what I do. (This was also the most important critique for improvement I received from a colleague I work with who attended.) I use videos, it works for my classes; I think it works great for any science class. All I had to say was, “it may not be what’s best for you & your subject;” but it would have given them an idea, a place to start. I failed to give them this starting place, I failed to give them a concrete example. I was afraid the ‘technology’ would seem to overwhelming; I would be reinforcing the perception that flipping is just videos.
Continuing in this vein, should have been to show my day to day use, like what I do to track 1) that the video notes for class are taken and 2) how well the students understood and could apply the information from the videos: my flipped questions. I could even have discussed my growing desire to change these questions to something more open-ended and why I feel that change needs to take place; how the responses determine what I need to re-explain at the beginning of class and how I might need to tweak what’s done in class to address common misconceptions. In addition, I could have pointed to the other ways I’ve flipped my class by showing the explore labs and simulations, i.e., not videos, I use for each major concept/unit.
Once, this had been done, I should have focused in on a few steps to flip a lesson. This would have made flipping seem do-able and would have provided a stepping stone for each teacher upon leaving the room.
First, how do they want to curate their resources. This means, I would need to know who already had a website (an oversight that hit me the last 15 minutes of my session). If you already have one, this question is answered. If not, then, do you want a website, a wikispace; do you want to use Dropbox, Box, GoogleDrive (an obvious choice especially since every single person in our district has a google account); do you want a blog? Associated with this would be determining what students do, and do not, have access from home; then, having a plan to address those without access.
Second, in my mind, would be determining if a video is the right choice. There are so many videos already out there in all subjects done by other teachers, that they could have found a couple to explore related to the topic they would want to flip. If a video is not appropriate, what would be: an article to read that requires a written response to be brought in or blogged about? I don’t know, but they do: they know their subject, they know their students (I don’t have to know this and I forgot that). Again, the follow-up to this, what can you do for those without access? For videos a USB perhaps or a DVD or the first five minutes of class or something I haven’t written…a chance to discuss this with others in the session might have turned up other ideas.
Third, determine what will be done during the face-to-face time with the students to build upon and apply what they had just designed as their students’ homework. The crux of the flip: how will you focus this crucial learning time to help the students grow and internalize the material and concepts. How will you utilize the community to help each individual? When thinking about this, they could have also discussed common misconceptions they already know to anticipate as well as determine what assessments, whether formative or summative or both, they would use to check for student understanding and growth.
I think these few changes would have made my session so much better. I have two hopes now: 1) I did not turn anyone away from the idea of flipping; and 2) I will get to redeem myself in the future. I guess that’s the beauty of living and learning (and failing oh so publicly).
I leave you, though, with a question: what else should I add to my list of three? What have I forgotten?