My first year as a flipped teacher, or a “flipper,” has come to a close.
And, I’m reminded more and more every day …as I am teaching summer school in a traditional lecture environment… why I decided to embrace the flipped classroom strategy, and why I won’t go back to the sage on the stage method.
I don’t want to fool you, though. My first year as a flipper was not laced with gold or sprinkled with glitter made from unicorn sweat. There’s a nice image 🙂
My first year as a flipper did include challenges. For example, at the beginning of 2nd semester, I made the switch from a “traditional flip” (if that even exists) to an “in-class flip.” Why? Simply because I am a HUGE fan of EDpuzzle, and when I assign videos using this amazing tool, I’m also requiring students to have access to a reliable Internet connection. My students have reliable WiFi while at school, but that may not be the case at home. I’m anxiously waiting for the free WiFi everywhere society of the future…but I fear I may be waiting for a while.
Another hurdle included video watching/interacting/grading. I originally create Google Docs with a variety of activities students were to complete (notes, reflective questions, etc) as they actively viewed the instructional video. On these Docs, I would include a link to the video on YouTube or via Google Drive. My original thought was that this activity would be awesome because it not only requires students to take notes on the video, but it also requires them to reflect upon their understanding of the content. Awesome, right?
After the first unit came to a close, however, I realized that this system worked poorly for my students. Since I assigned the students separate documents (which I thought would be helpful) they were unable to keep track of their notes. Also, while Google Classroom is awesome, these activities became a bit of a grading catastrophe, requiring me to spend more time tracking down their video documents, determining whether or not they actually completed the video or just copied notes from someone else, and then determine their understanding of the content. It was a great idea in theory, and an idea I may revisit next year. It just wasn’t effective for my students.
At some point during the numerous complaints I received from students about this system, I decided to use the wonderful EDpuzzle to assign videos and activities to my students. I also fully embraced Google Classroom’s ability to create a copy of a document for each student, assign that copy to each student, and then keep all of the documents in a nice, neat folder in my Drive. Now, I assign a note-taking template for each unit to my students and fully utilize EDpuzzle’s interactive video capabilities. My students view instructional videos on EDpuzzle and split their Chromebook screens to allow them to take notes on their Google Doc while they interact with the instructional video.
I can quickly and easily view student responses to EDpuzzle questions, grade said questions, and view video completion. EDpuzzle even allows me to view how many times each student viewed a specific section of the video…this is an AMAZING feature!
Video length was also a learning curve during my first year as a flipper. During my extensive research of flipped strategies, I read many different “musts” for video length. Some experts claimed that anything longer than 5 minutes was too long, while others said 8-12 minutes is an appropriate length. Since I jumped on the “in-class flip” bandwagon, I have decided that 5-8 minutes is a great length for my videos. Will some videos exceed that timeframe? Absolutely. Will some videos be less than 5 minutes? You bet.
And that is perfectly fine!
Tools like EDpuzzle and Google Classroom have been essential to my success as a flipped teacher, but I still have many goals to achieve in the flipped arena.
Next school year, I plan to jump head first into the “flipped learning” teaching environment, emphasizing mastery learning. I’m still working out the details of this strategy, so stay tuned for my updates.
I’ll also continue down the path of gamification, which was a HUGE hit last year. I plan to learn more about Classcraft and it’s potential this summer.
Since I’m teaching summer school, I don’t feel like my summer has truly started…I haven’t been able to spend many mornings in my PJ’s drinking coffee and watching the TODAY show yet, but that will come 🙂 However, I hope your summer is going well!
Thanks for reading 🙂