Saturday, June 15, 2013

Flipping - The Good (Part 1)

So far I've talked about how great flipping is, but just like anything in teaching, some moments can be GOOD, BAD or UGLY. I'm going to be as honest as I can describing my experience with flipping, so you can learn through reading what I learned from experience.

Differentiation:
One of the first things I started to realize when I flipped is that this model is wonderful for differentiation. On Sophia.org, when building your tutorial you can 'Insert' 7 different types of media: Text/Image, Video, Screenrecording (Screencast), Slideshow (Powerpoint, Prezi), Audio, PDF and HTML. Sometimes students learn best from looking at pictures and reading. Other students learn best by watching videos. Others learn best by listening to an audio file or clicking through a Prezi at their own pace. On Sophia you can add information for many different learning styles.

Instructing through video is great for students who need to pause or rewind what I am saying. If they get interrupted at home or need a concept explained again, they can watch the whole video or parts of the video again. I even had students say they went back and watched my videos as a review leading up to our state's standardized test. All the tutorials are archived on Sophia and the students have access to all the flipped content at any time!

I also would title each part of the tutorial as REQUIRED or OPTIONAL. Obviously, ALL students were expected to complete the REQUIRED activities, but I would add other videos, websites, etc. for students who needed a challenge or needed extra practice.  I found that many students who were gifted gravitated to the OPTIONAL activities and were excited for the challenge.

Here's an example of an OPTIONAL video I put on Sophia when we were studying Unit Conversions. This was the last video of a three part "Video Bonus" series.
video

Another example of differentiation is below. Even though I did try to create a lot of videos myself, sometimes you find videos that use programs that you don't have access to, and teach the concept better than you could. This is what happened when I was teaching volume. I required the students to watch the video below that discussed how to find the volume of a rectangular prism:

http://www.mathvillage.info/node/111

As an OPTIONAL activity, I added a link to the site below. Students could watch videos and answer questions about finding the volume of a cylinder, learn about surface area, etc.

http://www.mathvillage.info/node/112

Or students could review Periemeter & Area using the following link:

http://www.mathvillage.info/node/134

It became much easier to differentiate instruction using Sophia and this is one of my favorite aspects of Flipping!

Engagement:
I had a HUGE increase in student engagement when I started Flipping. Like I said in my very first post, this could have been due to the fact that watching the videos for homework was something NEW. I really only flipped for about 6 weeks total and throughout that time I saw a very small decrease in engagement from the time we started flipping. But overall, the majority of the students were on an engagement high. Most students would ask me, what type of video I was going to post that night for homework, or as soon as they would walk in the door they would want to talk about the lesson. Even if their comments weren't math related, I would always bring the math up to try to gauge their understanding.  Not only did the students talk to me about their 'homework' outside of math class, but they would converse amongst themselves more about math and that's something I rarely saw before I flipped.

Excitement:
Along with being more engaged, my students were definitely more EXCITED to learn in the flipped classroom.  They loved the technology that was being used and that they were able to use. Many of the students have cell phone or tablets, and they thought it was really fun to be able to do their homework at their brother's soccer practice on their phone. Also, students were excited for the change during math class. I'll explain more about how my math class structure changed in future posts, but students were MUCH more actively engaged and excited to learn math. They were able to choose who they worked with and work at their own pace. This was much more appealing to the students, especially the ones who weren't being challenged enough in my classroom.

Lesson #5:  Experience is the best teacher! 

I can share a lot about my experience, but actually instructing using the flipped classroom model will be the best teacher. Hopefully you will experience more "good," than "bad" if you are considering flipping! In my next post, I'll continue to discuss the benefits of the flipped classroom. Feel free to share your own experiences or ask questions about Differentiation, Engagement and Excitement in the flipped classroom.

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