Saturday, May 19, 2012

Flipped Classroom... My Thoughts

To those of you who are unaware of the Flipped Classroom, let me see if I can give you as simple a definition as I can. Basically flipping your classroom reverses the relationship between homework and instruction. In the flipped classroom, the teacher assigns videos and interactive content that students will access outside of class which introduces students to topics/curriculum outcomes. Classroom time is utilized for working on examples and topic elaboration/extension. 

This year I decided that I would try to take some of my classes and flip them. I had videos uploaded or linked in Desire2Learn as well as interactive Math objects created with TI-PublishView. Let me outline some of my observations and conclusions for moving forward.

1) Student machines and update issues

Every year our student machines are ghosted and the ghost image is sent to schools and placed on existing machines. If the machines were not ghosted at all or not ghosted with the latest versions of Java, then most of the interactive objects added to my course, like the TI-PublushView objects would not work. As well students are prohibited from updating their machines. As a result, these the interactive objects did not work when posted... at school... but did work at home. This was a problem when students did homework at school... let's say after school. 

2) Student homework ethic. 

Students who did homework at home seemed to like the flipped classroom model. They felt it prepared them for class the next day. Those that did not do the assigned work at home struggled with the classes and often I had to backtrack to prevent frustration. If students are diligent with homework assignments then the flipped classes are good... and if not... then not so good.

3) Time of homework posting. 

Inside Desire2Learn news area I posted all the homework. If I assigned homework days in advance or at the last minute, I still had students say they forgot to do the assigned work. I am not sure if this was due to homework ethic or not but I never did get a good sense as to the optimum post time for successful completion. 

4) Time to start start flipping

Due to technical issues, I could not start flipping until the middle of the year. It is hard on students to change routine mid year. Although I did not flip every lesson, the flipping was a change for them, one some found challenging.

So what did I learn...

Flipping your classroom is not something to be entered into lightly. As the above graphic displays, there are issues to consider. For me I will flip my classes next year... but it will start at the beginning of the school year. That will establish the routine of homework at home right from the start. I will try my best to have the technical issues addressed at the start so I can hit the road running... so to speak. I will also be more in the face of students with reminders to complete homework. I am hoping that D2L version 10 has the ability to push notifications to students through text message or some other option. Otherwise I may be using Twitter for this. As well with the homework tracked in the D2L content manager, this completion of homework will be assigned a portion of the overall grade. The Flipped Classroom model does have great potential. It does require a change in thinking on behalf of the teacher... but more importantly the student. 

*Thanks to Richard Byrne for his excellent website and post ( that contains just about anything and everything a teacher would be looking for and thanks to for their excellent cartoon. Both were inspirational in writing this blog post. 

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