Ok last weeks post was all about the importance of planning. Now that you have thought about it and have an idea of what you want to achieve it is time to put it all into action. This post will be one to help get you started and take the first few steps.
You are probably still thinking to yourself this seems like a lot of work I wonder if it will be worth it? From my experience that thought is normal and the answer is yes it will be worth it and YES it will require some hard work. However we all know the saying “when you live for a strong purpose, hard work is not an option it is a necessity.” It helped me to focus on the fact: once the (content) videos have been created they can be recycled and reused. This makes it easier in the future and worthwhile.
It is important to remember flipping your class is NOT the only way to improve student engagement and learning, there a many other fantastic models out there. A flipped class is only one model and the model that suited my conditions. However if you are stuck at this point and still trying to decide to flip the class or not I would suggest you need to take a good look at what your classroom looks like right now. Evaluate:
- the quality and time you have to interact with your students
- the time it takes you to deliver the content
- the level of inquiry you can see
- the different levels of learning that are taking place
- your interest in the flipped learning model
- your student’s interest in the flipped learning model
Once you have evaluated all of these points you will know if flipping is for you or not and after all of that thinking, if you think it is time to flip your class I suggest you work on 4 things.
- Look for or create relevant content (videos, blogs, podcasts). This helps develop your knowledge of the subject matter too.
- Find a platform you are comfortable using and get to know how it works. Practice use of the platform before you take it into the classroom.
- Use social media to foster collaboration. Tap into your students interests to promote learning and engagement.
- Allow your ideas to develop and grow.
I believe a big advantage of the flipped classroom is it provides a way to allow the parents of your learning community to be more active in the learning partnership. Parents may become active participants in the learning process learning with their kids. This was my main motivation for making this change to my teaching. I have included a letter I use at the start of the year to inform parents about what I am doing. I could help you develop your own.
I can say that as I made this change to my teaching I again got lost in the process of trying to figure out how to do it so I am hoping my reflection of points 1 and 2 will help set you in the right direction and save you some time as “one thing you can not recycle is wasted time” (Anon.)
1. Look for or create relevant content (videos, blogs, podcasts). This helps develop your knowledge of the subject matter too.
The first step is to find or develop your content. It saves so much time when you can find content that has been developed already and this will help avoid burnout. When I decided I was in and I was going to flip my class I jumped straight into using YouTube. Many flipped classrooms use YouTube as a means to have students learn at their own pace, on their own time, and with each other. This was a great incentive for me.
I started by looking for content videos I could use however I could not find videos that accurately represented the content I wanted to cover so I found myself making videos for my class. You can view my videos for HPE here https://www.youtube.com/user/weaverteaches I am more than happy for any teacher to use these videos in their flipped HPE class. I also welcome any feedback about the content I deliver.
Making my own videos was ok for me as it was like a hobby of mine . . . it is something I like to do. However this can be a hurdle some teachers need to overcome when taking the first step to flipping their classrooms. Most people new to flipping the classroom think the way I did – flipping is all about doing things on video because that is the way Khan Academy has done it (Screencast). Throughout the process I learnt this thinking is not accurate.
It is important to remember flipping your class is not about the videos it’s about increasing the time you have to interact with your students by removing the lectures from your class. There are plenty of other tools and mediums to use. Slideshare for presentations is good, Evernote or Dropbox for documents are ok. I like video but audio podcasts are good starting point if videos are not your thing. Really it all comes down to what works best for you and your students.
I do not know what the expert opinion of this is but I think if you like to write letters, write your lecture out on paper and give that to the students to work with. I am not sure how this will attract their attention but it is a starting point that you can develop. As long as it opens up time for quality learning experiences in the classroom any approach is fine.
2. Find a platform you are comfortable using and get to know how it works. Practice use of the platform before you take it into the classroom.
The second step is to figure out how you want to share your content. Because I already had experience using YouTube I started using a YouTube channel as my platform for sharing my videos. I would: plan my lesson, write a script, create my videos using iMovie and then post them on my Youtube channel. It is so important to practice and know how to use the technology you take into a classroom. I believe you can learn a lot from students when it comes to technology however when embarking on an approach like the flipped classroom you must make sure you develop your skills before jumping in otherwise you will spend more time dealing with tech issues than teaching and that is not the goal of a flipped classroom.
Along the way I had a number of valuable discussions with our IT Leader of Learning and the Assistant Principal about the pros and cons of using YouTube and best practice for the school environment. These important conversations allowed us to reach agreement that the best place for the videos to be accessed would be via the school PDHPE Moodle page. We could see this was a platform that reduced the number of distractions for the students. By using Moodle students would be less likely to jump to unrelated videos popping up in the suggestion window of YouTube. I felt this was a valid and important consideration to make. If your school offers a learning management system (LMS) like this I highly recommend using it.
Throughout the semester I continued to create the videos on iMovie, store them on YouTube and share them via Moodle. This system worked very well but it took a lot of time because I had to build the questioning into each of the videos. Doing this was very difficult from both the planning and technical perspectives.
At the end of the semester I came across the TEDed website. This website allows you to create flipped lessons from any video you can find on YouTube. It has a great structure and is easy to use and most importantly it cuts your time in about half if not more. I will be using this for my next series of videos that I will use during term 3 of this year. TEDed also has a great online community that share resources and knowledge. I highly recommend becoming part of that community and checking out what it has to offer.
On twitter I have heard people talking about another app called EDpuzzle. It looks interesting however I have not explored it in detail as I am pretty focused on using TEDed. People within the twitter community are pretty positive about it so it is another one to check out. Remember it all comes down to what works best for you and your students.
I am an advocate for the flipped classroom and I encourage people to not be nervous and take the first few steps. A fantastic quality of this method of teaching is it can be adapted to suit your own environment. Many different sub cultures of flipped learning enthusiasts are popping up around the word. I am looking to develop a sub culture that uses the flipped learning approach to create time for more movement opportunities with the traditional classroom but that is something I will speak about a bit later. Let me finish this post by providing you with 3 take away points.
- Use the flipped classroom model to develop the parent teacher partnership.
- Avoid burnout by trying to use content that has been created – don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Be confident before taking things into the classroom. Practice improves performance.
I am hoping to have another reflective post early next month and reflect on my experience with points 3 and 4. Good luck to anyone leading the way with change.