Teaching and technology…preparing today's students for tomorrow.

Stuck Sideways…

The movement of flipped classroom is one that is gaining momentum.  I shared in a previous post the blog I found written by Jon Bergmann called Flipped Learning: Turning Learning on Its Head!   To try to get more perspective on the topic I began exploring a few other blogs to understand all points of view.

I first found To Flip or Not to Flip? By Jeff Dunn.  This blog totes the greatness that is flipped instruction.  He goes on to share that since using this model his students have gotten their voice back in the classroom, gotten more individual attention from teachers during class time, taken ownership for their learning and increased their AP test scores.  After reading this blog I was just sure that this was a great new thing, and that I was going to figure out how to do it with my second graders.

With all this excitement built up, I kept looking at other blogs.  Since I was trying to get a more clear picture of the movement I was drawn to the blog Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con by Mary Beth Hertz.  This post does a great job of breaking down what flipped classroom is, what it isn’t, the benefits and concerns about the model.  It shares clearly that the flipped classroom is not just about videos, but the interactions that occur in the class after watching the videos that are the most important.  She goes onto say it is NOT stock videos created by some company or a way for those companies to make money, but must have a direct link to the curriculum, standards and activities they do the next day in class.  So far, I’m still in 🙂

Then she moves onto why it does and doesn’t work.  The reasons it works are clear in both the first and second blogs I read, but Mary Beth focused on the way it individualizes instruction allowing students to move at their own pace, repeat instruction if they desire and free up the teachers time in class to work closer with students on what they need to.  This is followed by the biggest question by most educators: what to do about students that don’t have at home access? Then, more importantly, that not everyone learns best through a screen.  I work in a fairly well off suburban school, so I am not as concerned about access for my students. What to do about the kids that don’t learn well with a screen??  The first troublesome question for me.  Hmmm.

Then I find the most thought provoking section: “Why It’s Nothing New”.  Nothing new?  This is the buzz topic, the newest way of teaching out there right? Mary Beth goes onto say that the premise of flipped classroom isn’t so different than what John Dewey proposed at the turn of the 20th century: “learning is centered on the student, not the teacher.”  So maybe this concept isn’t new?  The question she poses is: “Are we doing things differently, or just doing different things?”  Hmmm again.  This one really does make me think.  Is giving instruction in this way really doing something differently, or is it just a different thing that gives us more time in the classroom.

This led me to thinking about the role of the teacher again.  The traditional model of the teacher being the “sage-on-the-stage” and lecturing is being challenged by the model of the teacher being the “guide-on-the-side”. As I have mentioned in previous postings, I tend to lean towards being a guide, but are we really getting to do that with a flipped classroom.  By providing a “lecture” on video, are we not still being the sage-on-the-stage and imparting our wisdom?  Yes, there may be more time in class to work with students, which is great, but is this really something different or just different things?

I need to learn more…I am very much inspired by the positive results this model is having, but I am thoughtful and want to know more about some of the concerns.  Although I am still optimistic and on my way to flipping upside down, I am still figuring it out.  For now I am not yet upside down, but maybe stuck sideways.

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