Flipping a classroom simply means that students will learn content somewhere other than the classroom and apply that content to complete activities in the classroom. As simple as that may sound, its implications are far more reaching.

Here are some basic thoughts I have for my flipping experiment.
Get to the Point!
Direct instruction comes into play strongly with flipping a classroom. To make a video in any other way would be wasting a students time and ensure the unhelpfulness of the video. Going over implicit material or over-explaining a topic in the video will cause students to start fast forwarding or skipping ahead and not fully appreciating the main idea of the video. Implicit material needs to be saved for the in-class activities for students to deduce and then eventually induce (link to a previous post).

A Video Lecture is Not Just Another Lecture
One of the main criticisms of flipped classrooms is that a lecture is still a lecture regardless of whether it is live or recorded. Untrue! With a recorded lecture, one could watch and, after main points, stop the video, reflect, take notes, or watch the rest of it later (or even rewind and re-watch lectures). This is something you cannot do during a live performance. During the creation of my videos, I point out times where it may be wise to pause. Because I know my students from working with them on the in-class activities (because of flipping), being able to understand parts where they may be confused should be my specialty. Students will have a chance to pose questions about any part of the lesson through e-mail or various other social media. This includes not just asking the teachers, but also networking with other students.

One-on-One Time is Priceless
Due to the fact that there is no in-class lecture where a teacher pseudo-asks the class if they have any questions. I say pseudo because the question often falls on deaf (or scared) ears and therefore is not a real question. Students will be completing activities in the classroom for most of the class period (not just the last 5-10 minutes). This will allow a flipped teacher to have more one-on-one (or one-on-small group) time with students. In-depth conversations can take place because of this. Conversations like these with students are some of the main reasons why many teachers became teachers to begin with. Furthermore, working individually with students automatically allows partly for differentiation to occur, as some students will need more help than others. This will help have the students go at their own pace since help will be as needed. Flipped classrooms can also help students not fall behind in case they miss a day or two of school. Bonus!

Personalized Videos
Many people incorrectly attribute Khan Academy as the creator of a flipped classroom and say that I should just assign his videos instead of making my own. I believe in authentic assessments and therefore also believe that instruction needs to be authentic. Turning the teaching over to a novice to the teaching profession would be the similar to using a textbooks resources and handing out the worksheets that come with it. I like making videos personal because, as I stated before, I know what my students need. I can always make a video based on an impromptu misconception that the students may have and only address that one concern.

Furthermore, Khan seems to focus primarily on drill and kill process skills and not the further reaching implications of concepts. Also, students have said that Khans boring drone and monotone voice negatively affect the way they learn from him. Im happy to hear students appreciate my energy and enthusiasm when discussing certain math or science topics.

Not Delusional
Hopefully this is obvious, but flipping the classroom is not the quintessential solution to teaching. However, it opens up so many more avenues for in-class student-centered learning. Granted this wont work with some lessons that are better suited to a lecture format, I believe in math and science, it fits most of the time. The overall classroom environment and setting dictate a large part of whether flipping can be a success. Without the right students and right technology, flipping can be quite a daunting task.

Im lucky enough to be in a school that has a 1:1 student to laptop ratio and students have to take their laptops home. Plans are in place to make sure students will have Internet access at home. Worst-case scenario: the video(s) can be downloaded while they are at school to be watched at a later time. Flipping is not necessarily something that the students have to complete at home. There is nothing stopping the students from doing their homework (aka watching videos) anywhere. Students can and most likely will watch some of the videos in class, lunch, during breakfast, on the bus, etc. on many different devices (iPads, iPhones, laptop, etc.).

No Real Model to Work From
There is no real model to work off of related to flipping a classroom. This is exciting for me! I get to experiment with the whole process as it is happening. Some basic ideas Im bringing to the table for my flipping includes:
  1. students helping form the framework of how the class is going to run
  2.  in-class discussions when needed, relegated to higher order thinking; videos handling more of the basics
  3. content given perspective in relation to the real-world (this should be for all classes really)
  4. students naturally challenging each other during class (based on different student perceptions of watching the same thing)
  5. tutoring and collaboration happening naturally among students
  6. students persist through material; own the material
  7. students use any knowledge attained outside of class to lead one another without as much prompting from the teacher inside of class
  8. students exploring any curiosities they may have regarding the content
  9. constant problem solving and critical thinking
  10. students becoming active learners

But I like lectures!
Im not going to lie. I love lectures. I love hearing an expert stand by the board and explain her or his heart away. I love coming up with further implications of the lectures and posing these as questions to ask the lecturer. I know Im not the only person that loves lectures. Oddly enough, I hate giving lectures. Being a musician, I think I have always tried not to be boring and would prefer to entertain.

Anyway, if there is any student like me that wants to be lectured at, flipped classroom allows for that as well. If a student feels the need to be lectured to, that can also happen in the class separate from the rest of the class. Thats the great thing about flipping; it offers many different modes of instruction delivery. The same goes for small group discussions between teacher and students. It is totally doable!

Cool infographic about flipping!

Thats it for now. I need to get back to more planning.
Anything youd like to add? Leave a comment!

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