Friday, March 9, 2012

C4T #2

reverse education pic

I was assigned to read Amanda Ooten's blog, Science Teaching for the Future for my C4T #2. Both the posts I read were about The Flipped Classroom: Turning Traditional Education on its Head. What is a flipped classroom and why is everyone talking about it? The flipped classroom inverts traditional teaching methods, delivering instruction online outside of class, and moving "homework" into the classroom. Basically students watch lectures at home at their own pace, communicating in online. the the concepts engagement (or homework) takes place in the classroom with the teachers help.
In her post The Nuts and Bolts of Flipping she explains how to start flipping your classroom. She points out that you have to have the courage to give up some of the material (lectures, power points) and let the students take on the responsibility of learning through group work or other activities. The goal is to get more class time to dig deeper in to the material through activities, labs, and real world problem solving.
She advises to start small and use as much material that has already been produced by others as possible while you are just starting. She gives a list of the 25 best free online educational videos, and helpful links for making and editing your o;postID=6736584170083141003wn screencast. She has some tips on keeping your students engaged with constant movement, writing, and examples or stories to highlight your point. You can also engage your students by assigning tasks to go over the next day in class. She talks about the time she sets aside for each screencast, a total of 3 hours to prepare, record, and edit each video. When she is finished she feels the product is well worth it, and that she will use the videos for a few years before she has to make new ones.

The second blog post I read by ms. Ooten was My Flipped Classroom, part 2 . It's 2 months into the school year and she is talking about how this new perspective has impacted her and and the students in her advanced placement biology class. She touches on some problems earlier in the year, that made her fell like the worst teacher in the world. She had been so focused on "flipping" her classroom that she moved way to quickly at first. She assigned chapters and videos for her students to complete on their own at night in order to have time in class to do discussion and in-depth activities that applied their “already learned” knowledge. She thought students were spending an hour each night with the material, it turned out they were spending twice that and still felt unable to keep pace with the material. This caused the students to become overwhelmed and she realized that they weren't really learning the material at all. After some consideration she decided to use the "flip' only half the time in her class. The students still watch video and participate in class discussions, but she realized there are some concepts that need direct instruction. By using the flip model in her class she no longer just gives this instruction through lecture. She is still in the front of the room, but she doesn't just give the information to them. She challenges  them  by asking probing questions, forcing  them to make connections to previous chapters, and frequently group them during this “lecture” time to repeat important concepts to one another. She talks about the energy this has added to her class, and about how her students enjoy themselves in her class. 
Her students have taken charge of their learning because she has forced them to, and they enjoy it. She has seen a huge increase in students emailing me with questions, coming in early, and staying late to get extra help. She allows students to retake quizzes and to correct their tests, something she has never done in the past. Students can come to class and meet with her, and then make the appropriate corrections. She's giving them a chance to realize their mistakes so they can learn from them. She talks about how you can still be a great teacher without 'flipping" your class, but that she is now the teacher she always wanted to be. 

I really enjoyed reading about how "flipping" has worked in her classroom. I like how she decided to only use it part of the time when her students seemed overwhelmed. One of the things that makes a great teacher great is being able to inspire and challenge students. I want them to think of it as their class, and I want to inspire them to want to learn.

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