Thursday, March 7, 2013

One Semester Down...

Many more to go! That's the best way to describe the 'flipping' process. Like many of us like to say, "learning is a journey", the process of flipping your classroom is no different. There are the highs - students coming to your class the next day, all excited, laughing, and telling you that they enjoyed your video; the lows - students coming to your class the next day, confused, perturbed, and annoyed because the video you posted had its sound cut out half way through; and then everything in between. However, the one thing that I can say is that the process itself has been exciting.

As part of this exciting process, I, and a few other teachers, have been tasked with assessing this process; and to evaluate how effective the Flipped Classroom is for students. We have applied for resources ($) to help us on this journey and are approaching the date where we present our findings to others around the school board. However, whatever the data shows, and although I'm sure it will be positive, I don't think I need any data to tell me how this process has helped my own teaching practice, and here's why!

Physical Space - one thing I have discovered this year is how important the physical space of a classroom is! I know this seems silly, but when you have discussions, frequent technology use, group work, and a whole period worth of time of ACTIVE learning (75 minutes), you realize the physical space in a classroom is very important. Who knew round tables, bean bag chairs, and an open, airy environment would help so much?!

Student Technology Use - I've always realized that technology is important, I just have never placed as much importance on it in the classroom, as I have this year. When you are constantly using technology to create videos, activities and other resources for students, you begin to realize how important it is for students to also use it; and become comfortable with it. If a profession like teaching is bombarded with technology, just think what other professions will be like when our students begin their careers?

Support - flipping your classroom is not a practice for everyone. I, like many, are one of very few who are flipping their classrooms in their own schools; if there are any at all! I am lucky in that I have someone else to discuss the practice with on a daily basis, and in person; but for others, this is not the case. It is a new journey for many, and having others to discuss 'flipping' with is so vitally important. That's why I have to say that Twitter, yes Twitter, is probably your best support system. Featuring weekly #flipclass chats (Monday @ 8 pm EST), and hundreds of others who regularly tweet their thoughts and experiences on the Flipped Classroom, it has become my go-to for everything #flipclass.

So we will see what the data tells us, but either way, it has been well worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your comment about the physical space. My grade 12 students were reluctant, at first, to buy into the value of round tables in the secondary classroom. They told me that the classroom was "too much like an elementary classroom" and were adamant that I change the room back to the old style individual desks. But in a short time, and without them even realizing it, they were collaborating in ways that I did not see in the traditional classroom setup. The classroom seems more relaxed, the conversations less forced, and the class time more productive (of course they would say differently). The class became less about facing the "front" of the room and more about the collaboration and discussion - something I'm sure you see in your flipped classroom. Sometimes something as simple as changing the furniture can have an impact on student learning and engagement.

    Great post... glad the flipped classroom is working well for you and your students!