Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flipping - The Bad (Part 2)

In my last post, I discussed the major CON to flipping - the technology hurdle. Every teacher has a unique situation when it comes to providing equal access to technology for all students. If you are just starting to flip, obviously this problem will be in the forefront of your mind, and don't give up if at first the road is rocky.

Currently, I'm facing another hurdle. This post is entitled "Flipping - The Bad (Part 2)" solely because the situation below is a current 'problem' in my mind. However, I think reflecting on the situation will make me a better teacher in the end, and make my flipped classroom that much better!

"The Bad"
Some people who oppose flipping say that the only method that is used to create the videos is direct instruction and that the students are participating in a very passive form of learning. Below I give my thoughts on this topic. Please remember that I am flipping a 5th grade math class so my thoughts may differ from a high school Spanish teacher who is conducting a flipped classroom, for example.

Creating a Flipped Inquiry Based Classroom
My district just adopted a new math curriculum and it's nearly all based around inquiry learning. Typically, I really enjoy inquiry learning and I think it's great for the students to work together to discover the concept being taught. However, when I sat through the training for the new curriculum, I didn't see a clear area that could be flipped.

I really started to analyze this situation and I realized that the majority of flipped videos are of the direct instruction nature. I began to wonder how I could flip something that is inquiry based. Of course, this made me ask a few questions:

Is inquiry learning better than direct instruction?  Or, does each have a place in a math class?

Can I somehow create a flipped inquiry based classroom?

What do I like about inquiry learning that I can mesh with what I like about flipped instruction?

Last year, when I flipped I created two types of videos: Screencasts (Direct Instruction) and what I call "Real World Flipped Videos" which I discussed in a previous post titled "My First Flipped Videos." The Real World Flipped videos were less direct instruction in nature, but I wouldn't say that they really were based on the principals of Inquiry Learning.

So this summer, I found out about Dan Meyer's Three Act Math Tasks and I realized that his method is very inquiry based. Here's a four minute video of Dan explaining his method. He offers a few examples of specific problems in the video as well:

I really admire his approach because I think giving students minimal information about real life situations will allow the students to ask the appropriate questions. THIS is inquiry learning. THIS is what I hope to emulate.

I think the inquiry-type videos will be rather short. Most likely I will explain the situation.  The students will then have time to think about the questions they need to ask,  post their thoughts and comments on Sophia and hopefully be prepared to tackle the problem in class the next day.  I also plan to record a lot of my students' conversations and explanations and put some of these videos on Sophia too, so the discussion can continue. It will be a different approach to flipping, but I still think it can work.

Because this will be my first year teaching this curriculum, I'm going to try to be true to the curriculum, and be creative by using the videos that I create to extend the students' learning. I have to remind myself that flipping ISN'T about the videos. It's about the increased time in class that the students have to work with one another and myself. The videos will set the stage for the great collaboration that can happen in class, and I think this can definitely be done in an inquiry-based environment.

Lesson #8: What once was perceived as a negative, can be deemed as the biggest positive when looked at through a different lens. 

Be sure that if you stumble, you fall forward!

Hopefully next summer I'll be able to include inquiry flipping as a PRO instead of a CON. Right now, I have a lot of questions but I'm hopeful. And, if I stumble at first, like I did this past year, hopefully I'll still make progress! I'm excited to look back on this post after the first few months of school and reflect on the progress made.

Feel free to leave any comments or thoughts below.
Arin (@ArinKress)

No comments:

Post a Comment