To flip, or not to flip. THAT is the question. . .

Last year was a year of trying new things, amongst the new “things” I tried – – flipping my classroom was one. This post is a little reflection of my flipped experiences and the reasons WHY I dabbled in film making last year.

 

. . . We had an AMAZING teachmeet at Gilroy in August, Simon Harper AND Polly Dunning presented their experiences flipping their classroom, even though I was reading a lot about flipping and its benefits at the time they really inspired me to start.

NOTE: I am not an expert at flipping, in my limited experience of flipping and from my esteemed colleagues/online reading this is what I knew:

  • Flipping means students do traditional CLASSWORK at home 
  • Cleverly, teachers make this fun, presented in an engaging way (video)
  • AND the content that is covered is usually content that is traditionally covered in class
  • ALLOWING for MORE class time to be spent on the analysis and application of content.

Sounds like a GREAT idea right?! . . . yeah- it is BUT my reasons for flipping were TOTALLY DIFFERENT!! I teach across all areas of technology in junior years, this includes timber, textiles and food technology project areas. We have 5 lessons a fortnight (5 hours) and only a 13 week rotation to complete a program, booklet, design folio and practical project.  . . .HECTIC!!!

I loved the idea of flipping, because:

  • I typically demonstrated practical skills ONCE – then students had to mimick, copy or do
  • Students watched my practical demonstrations that may have shown ONE particular method for doing something, there could be many applications (of a timber joint or decorative technique for example) time usually constraint this OR the busy nature of classroom numbers did
  • My classes in 2012 had a diverse range of students- levels of language, literacy, numeracy as well as physical capabilities
  • Some students were getting frustrated- at not being able to achieve a level of practical quality they expected
  • Many students were visual learners, current resources were not tailored to their learning style
  • Students WANTED to be more independent, they wanted to succeed on their own.

So, what REALLY propelled my to start to flip was- MY STUDENTS WANTED to become an expert in practical skills, they needed to have a DEEPER understanding of “something” before they were confident to try and apply it (I just want to be clear on something, I am not talking about their willingness to fail/make mistakes) – I am saying they WANTED TO DO BETTER, THEY WANTED TO WORK HARDER, THEY WANTED TO KNOW MORE and OUR CLASSTIME and MY CURRENT TEACHING METHODS didn’t allow it!!??

So, flipping essentially added extra hours to my classes. I used vimeo to upload my own video/links to edmodo, I also used existing youtube videos and tube chop to edit them.

I sourced videos on garnish techniques, handling pastry, sewing a closed seam, creating your own applique from felt, setting up jigs for a trimmer/router, using a router to create inlays, making your own bees wax polish and making the perfect white sauce.

I also made my own videos! With the help of another staff member we pre-recorded food demonstrations- students watched these on average 3 times EACH (this was 30-40mins of video time??!!) Students were also creating/sharing their own videos?? “Miss – can I film you doing this and practice at home?”  – –  umm OF COURSE YOU CAN!!!  (by this stage, I had totally gotten over the fact that once recorded, by voice sounds like a kid’s!! lol)

I dont really know if this truly is “flipping” ?? as I still felt the need in most cases to demonstrate and conduct the SAME practical demonstrations in lessons – BUT the videos really supplemented this and addressed all the concerns I was having. . . .

THE RESULT: I had VERY HAPPY STUDENTS. Their quality of practical work improved because they were conducting more research at home – I know, this really is a “DERR” moment right? And this is not too dissimilar to the benefits that Polly and Simon had explained at the TeachMeet, but you have to understand, the motivation that DROVE me to spend the time preparing all the videos/links WAS. 

Again, I repeat – I AM NOT AN EXPERT OF FLIPPING, making videos or screencasting (check out Simons blog for inspiring examples of this). Is this even flipping?? dont think so??– BUT, my students were pretty happy.

Polly and Simon certainly showed me a way of adding another dimension to my teaching that I will continue to use in 2013 – I seriously advise you to start whatever hybrid of flipping suits you !!

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One thought on “To flip, or not to flip. THAT is the question. . .

  1. Monique flipping is what you make of it and tailoring it to your subject. We are both TAS teachers and I have been dabbling in making videos for demonstrations, practical skills and explanations of assignments. I was looking back at my first video which I made a year ago and how crude it is compared to now.

    Thank you for the lovely comments and I would also urge everyone to give it a go. Start with one lesson and see how it goes. Flipping is only one of many techniques to differentiate your classroom and if you we’re away, no problem here is the link.

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