Why Flip Out?

Flip your class today!

Simple. Evolution. A flipped classroom is simply a class where students receive the instruction at home, and practice in the classroom. If that seems a bit too complicated to understand, then let me tell you a story…

My Grandpa was a teacher. He was more than that: he was a god. His students saw him as  an agglomeration of knowledge. A sage. Knower of all things. From him, knowledge poured forth, and if you were lucky, he would impart his wisdom to you. His job was to share with his students his wealth of information.

Me? I’m a teacher, but my students do not revere me the way they did Grandpa. I do not disseminate my knowledge to an eager crowd the way he did. It is no longer my job to impart knowledge to students starved to learn new things. As brilliant as I may be, they do not regard me as a sage.

What changed? Me? The students? We are quick to say, “children these days just don’t want to learn.” Au contraire I say! I have read my Grandpa’s diary (his version of a blog), and he complained of the same things I have. They won’t sit still. I tell them the information and the just won’t STUDY. And it goes on and on. Students didn’t want to learn then any more than they do now. The students are the same.

Technology changed. My job is not to give information. If it were, then teachers are obsolete. Google can give my students information quicker and more efficiently than I can even form a question to type into that iconic little box. I am NOT obsolete. My job has simply evolved. No longer the most efficient source of quality and reliable information, I am tasked with helping my students learn and use that information they are able to instantly access. So why do we waste so much classroom time giving students information that is so readily at their fingertips? We have made ourselves obsolete by refusing to evolve with the times before us.

The solution? FLIP IT! Flip out!!! Guide students through quality instruction during the time that they generally waste… Homework time. Why do I call that wasted time? Simple, no instant feedback. “Hey mom, can you check my macroeconomics worksheet and see if cost-benfit analysis of the Federal Reserve Board’s use of Monetary policy in the last financial quarter was effective from a practical standpoint” said NO high school student EVER. No offense to the moms out there who remember their macroeconomics, but I could not help my 16 year old niece with calculus anymore than most moms could help her highschooler with the above worksheet. And why did the high school student feel it necessary to ask mom about this worksheet? Because the teacher was too busy trying to give notes on monetary policy and squeeze in a useful debate to satisfy the Bloom’s Taxonomy to help the students answer the question. The teacher’s valuable instruction time wasted. The student’s excellent question unanswered.

Flip the class. Video tape the lecture. Expect students to take notes at home. Spend time in the classroom doing what the evolved teacher does…. extending and stretching the content. All of those things that seemed impossible because the standards require you to “spray and pray”, all now seem quite possible.

OH NO! this won’t work. my students won’t do it. They won’t watch the video and they will be lost. Guess what? Those are the ones who aren’t paying attention and not doing their homework anyway. GET CREATIVE! My first idea is to allow my students to watch videos they missed in class. Wait…. Whaaaat? Let them watch the videos in class? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Yes, and they will figure that out pretty quickly. While these 15 kids are able to work on their projects and practice work with instant teacher feedback and supervision, these 5 have to go back and watch the video because they are behind. That may mean that they have to take it *gasp* home! So while the first 15 kids are done and have turned in their work, the last 5 have to do it for traditional homework. Most, not all, because high school kids are stubborn, will change their ways and watch the video on the bus, or at lunch, or during class break. They’re doing their homework in these places now! What about that kid who is able to watch the video in class and still finish his work? HELLO?! What about that is that BAD? More power to her!

So! Here I shall chronicle my challenges in flipping out! Wish me luck and should you accidentally happen upon this post, PLEASE feel free to post suggestions and comments.


About DuVee

I am a Social Studies teacher at Early College Academy of Columbus in Georgia. I am starting this blog to chronicle my trials of creating a flipped classroom.
This entry was posted in Flipped Classroom and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Why Flip Out?

  1. Dogless says:

    I’m curious if you’ve decided on a video style to teach with. I’m an elementary school teacher, so this wouldn’t work quite as well for me, but I’m still interested in seeing how you do this.

    • As you may know, I am one of the pioneers of the flipped class movement. I was a high school science teacher, but am now a K-8 technology coach. In the elementary classroom I see teachers flipping lessons instead of flipping an entire class. I should write a blog post on flipping the elementary classroom. Hmm….

      • DuVee says:

        I think that would help a lot of teachers who love the idea of flipping an elementary classroom, but have no starting point. Most, if not all, of the examples I have seen have been of middle school and high school. As a mom of an elementary school child, I would love to see her get the experience that goes with the flipped model for all the reasons I put in my reply, but the work arounds for a low income school that work in a high school, don’t work as well for a low income elementary school….. hmmm.

  2. DuVee says:

    Right now I am leaning toward doing all my own videos. I am a control freak, my test scores are very high, and my state’s standards in Economics are pretty broad. That said, so that I can make sure what I need to be taught is given in the instruction time, I will have to do my own. As far as the format, I am playing around with WEB 2.0. I have ruled out iMovie I believe.

    What I have not tried out, but have only heard about is a combination of Screenflow and Omnidazzle. There is apparently a walkthrough on YouTube by a guy named Paul Anderson. I saw a sample of one of his lessons at the Model Schools Conference, and it looks rather sharp. There is a small chance that I may decide all of this is too complicated while I’m still working out the kinks, and go with the video in front of the SmartBoard plan. (I actually did a a screencapture through SmartBoard last year when I had a child who had surgery and we were covering Absolute and Comparative Advantage in International Business, which is not the easiest of subjects to teach through worksheets. This worked very well and the child exceeded expectations on the state mandated test) So, I’m not ruling that out.

    Ok, so I am definitely not an elementary school teacher. I wonder what age? I have a 7year old going into 3rd grade, and there are some things I think a flipped instruction model would be ok for. For example, a science experiment too messy or dangerous to do in a 3rd grade class (don’t ask me what that would be though…) A social studies virtual field trip would be an excellent online assignment for them. I know there are already some out there, but even a local walking tour to point out geographical features. Other things that would be advantages for her specifically is math. She doesn’t need instructions to be repeated in math. She doesn’t need a million examples. Needless to say (I’m sure you have a few like this), she get very frustrated, bored and distracted when the teacher has to repeat or give several examples to the class. The cool thing about the flipped classroom is the ability to fast forward or rewind.

    Drawbacks, especially with very young elementary schoolers… motivation and parent support. At first I imagine they would WANT to do it because it is different. But when the novelty wears off, you will be dependent on the parents to make sure they are doing any lessons at home. Older elementary may be more responsible. Do kids do your regular homework? Another pitfall could be technology. 70% of my kids have their own smart phone, and are generally willing to share on the bus, at lunch, ect. Problem solved… I make sure the videos can be viewed on smart phones. Sorry, I am laughing right now because I can just imagine my DD saying, “But MOM! I haaaave to borrow your phone to get my lesson!” I’ve been trying to network with some other flippers, but I am very new to this. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Ashley says:

      Hi Duvee,
      I really enjoy reading your posts. I too am a S.S. teacher taking the wild adventure of “flipping” this summer. I have the white boards, flip camera, and tri-pod ready to go. I just haven’t started the recording yet (I’m a procrastinator as well). I’ve spent the entire summer researching the “flipped” model, and trying to figure out what will work best for my students. I decided that the Friday Institute’s approach to video making looks like the most manageable. Good luck on your journey!!!

      • DuVee says:

        Thank you for your comment! I agree that a video with real whiteboards seem sustainable. They can be done even if you are running behind. *cheering**cheering* <–That's me, cheering you on!

  3. Hi DuVee,

    Nice post! Really good answer to the “Why do this?” question.

    I’m a high school math teacher and I just finished my first semester with a flipped classroom (Geometry), and I was very pleased with how it went. I’m looking forward to making some improvements, and also flipping a second class (pre-calc) in the fall.

    FWIW, my primary “video style” is to record my own lecture videos using a Flip-style camcorder and a set of DIY dry-erase whiteboard slides. Then I upload the videos to my google docs account and put a link on my class website. It’s a fairly simple process, and doesn’t require using any additional video-editing software. Feel free to check out my blog posts (and my class website) if you want more deets on how I’m doing it. Here are a couple that you might find useful:

    • DuVee says:

      These look great! Since you just finished, I wonder, How many of your students fell behind? Were they watching the videos like they were supposed to? Any pushback from the parents?

      • I received zero pushback or complaints from parents, and quite a few compliments. Still, it was clear that a lot of the students who had a history of not doing their homework were not necessarily more motivated to do their homework just because it involved watching a video. Would they have fallen less behind in a more traditional class with worksheet-style homework assignments? It’s hard to say. I know that I have many students who are reluctant to do their work simply because it involves work; flipping the classroom doesn’t necessarily change that. In fact, I suspect many of my students disliked my flipped classroom because they were now more responsible for their own learning, which, in a way, means more work for them.

        One of the things I plan to do differently next year is to be more intentional about insisting that everyone has a completed set of notes for each assignment. If they come to class without their notes (because they didn’t watch the video the night before), I’m going to require that they either watch the video right then (on one of my classroom computers) or copy the notes from a classmate. They had these options last year as well, but the responsibility for making it happen was theirs; next year I’m going to make it mine.

  4. Great post: I am linking it on my webpage. I agree with you: Teachers will do best in this model if they make their own videos. Keep up the good work.

    • DuVee says:

      Thank you for the link. I also think teachers will do better with a strong network of encouragement and others who are also flipping out. They need trailblazers (like you) for advice, people who are also just starting out for encouragement, and those who are just considering flipping to vet the process.

  5. juliana62 says:

    Hey DuVee! I’m an IB biology teacher and I’m going to be incorporating flipped learning into my classes next year along with some other things in an effort to improve my teaching and student experiences. I will keep on reading your blog to see how things go for you! I also saw Paul Anderson’s video and have bought a graphics tablet and will probably try using screenflow and omnidazzle too. I like his style of having a small window of yourself in the video! Good luck and keep writing!

    • DuVee says:

      I think I am going to try several different video styles before I settle on one. Maybe I use omnidazzle and screenflow for the hard to learn concepts that I will need to give several written examples of.

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