on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

to flip? or… not to flip? week six.

February23

This concept is brand-spankin’ new to me. I’d never heard of it, I’d never seen it done. I even did an internet search for it after viewing all of the resources in this week’s module just to see if I could get any more information about it. I can’t say that I have any definitive conclusion about it, honestly. Definitely on the fence. I’m not even sure that this phenomenon deserves to really be called something special. It really sounds to me like exactly what we’re learning to do anyway, when you make it as simple as it’s stated on the infographic we saw: teachers move from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side.” Isn’t that what we’re doing with 21st century learning/skills, anyway?

I guess the best way for me to hash it out is just to give a pros and cons list, you know?

Pro:

  • It frees up class time for students to explore the content in a space where they can get help and instant feedback should they require it.
  • The academic results seem to be worth it — it looks statistically like students do better when the classrooms are flipped
  • It proves opportunity for inquiry learning, project-based learning, experiential learning…
  • It allows for differentiated learning
  • Bottom line, it’s moving in the right direction away from a teacher-centered classroom

Con:

  • It looks to me like the majority of classrooms using this model are middle and high school classrooms. I’m not sold that it can work with an elementary class, and in fact, when I tried to look it up, a lot of teachers said they tried it and it just didn’t work out. The biggest problem? The students had no idea how to manage their time and/or self pace, which seems to be a large component of this flipped classroom model.
  • I plan on teaching in the lower grades, and I really don’t see how my posting a video online is going to teach kindergarteners what they need to know. Younger children need instructional time, and it’s not just for learning the curriculum. They need to be able to look at an adult role model to learn all kinds of things – social cues, how we interact with people, etc.
  • Again, I’m just not sold that this isn’t part and parcel of a 21st century classroom model, anyway, and it’s just one adaptation of it.

Personally, I don’t think it would be worth trying in my classroom (unless I had 5th or 6th grade students, but even then, we’d have to spend a lot of time talking about time management and self-discipline). I’d say that 90% of what I’ve read about it defines classroom flipping as the teacher delivering the content in a 5-10 minute video seen outside of class and then allowing for practice in the classroom. I have a few problems with this, especially with the smaller kids. First, how are they supposed to get to that content? It would require that an adult is willing to turn on the computer, get to the internet, and supervise the child. In a perfect world? Sure. In the real world? Yeah, right. You’d be shocked at how many parents are completely hands-off when it comes to their child’s education. What about kids who don’t have a computer or internet access at home, or kids whose parents won’t allow them to do it at home? Sure, they can view it at school. But when? When you’re talking about a 6 or 7 year old kid, who’s going to be responsible for getting them to school early? Or picking them up if they stay late when they usually ride the bus home or to an after school care facility? Am I going to cut into their practice time by sending them to the library or computer lab to view the video? 10 minutes for the video, 5 minutes to get there and 5 minutes to get back? By then, the allotted time for that subject area might be close to done! I don’t know, I’m just not sold on it. Good in theory, and definitely doable with older kids who already have a solid grip on the basics and foundations of their education, but when I’m literally just introducing them to the basics? I think face-to-face instruction is way more important. If you know how to manage your own time, you can also provide ample time for classroom practice, experiential learning, and problem-based activities.

Here, watch this:

What do you think?

Again, I think that what this teacher is doing is more just incorporating 21st century tools and activities and not really flipping the classroom per se. I can definitely see the benefit of recording the lesson for lower-achieving students to keep coming back to. But not everyone learns that way. I don’t learn that way. I need somebody in front of my face; I need to be in a group. Let’s not forget about those kinds of learners. I also like the idea of having the content available for the parents. For the ones that DO care, it’s a big help — we definitely don’t teach our students now the way that I was taught, and I’m not even that old (hey! I turned 29 yesterday!). And I don’t really like her attitude of, “yeah, you know, I’ve put in a good 8 hours for each math unit.. but next year? No way! I’m good to go!” NO YOU’RE NOT! You should always be adjusting your lessons, reviewing and renewing them, tweaking them, updating content. You can’t just say it’s good enough and let it be, especially with technology. It changes and the content available for you to use to teach students changes and expands every, I don’t know, 8 seconds. You know what I’m saying?

See? On the fence. I think I’ll pull pieces of it, but I’m not thinking the model will fully work with young kids.

posted under INDT 501
4 Comments to

“to flip? or… not to flip? week six.”

  1. Avatar February 24th, 2013 at 12:20 am jdosch Says:

    Angela- I agree with you 100% that this will not work for elementary school children because it requires to much parental involvement. I have a daughter in Kindergarten and I can’t keep up with the websites they want us to go on now. Forget it! If her teacher sends a request home to watch a few online lectures, it’s not gonna happen! Don’t get me wrong, I spend time with my daughter every night going over her “sight word” flashcards, reviewing what work she brought home from school, practice counting, and practice writing. Why in the world would I want to tie her down another 10-15 minutes to watch an online video? I feel like the poor kid just needs to have some playtime when she gets home!!! I mean there is only so much time (3.5 hours) between her getting off the bus and having to go to bed. In those 3.5 hours she also needs to eat dinner and take a bath! So, I would probably be less than thrilled if her teacher relied on me to watch a 10-15 minute video each night, that I would then have to explain and review with her to verify she understood what she watched. However, if my daughter was in need of extra help and her teacher provided these online resources, I would be more than willing to sit my daughter down each night for reinforcement. Luckily though that is not the case for me. Although, making videos for use in the classroom may be a fun way to “spice-up” a lecture and make it more entertaining for the students, but that would be on the teacher’s time, not the parents time.


  2. Avatar February 24th, 2013 at 12:38 am Angela Fritz Says:

    I’m right there with you, Jeanette. My son is in PreK in Spotsy schools and I’m willing to do a lot for him. He’s autistic, so he needs quite a bit — sensory stuff at home, occupational therapy stuff at home. I have a lot that’s requested of me by his teacher that is necessary for and facilitates his success in the classroom. And I do it all. But if she said, “Okay.. I’m posting videos that teach him the content and you need to make sure he watches and understands…” Nah uh. That’s YOUR job, lady!


  3. Avatar February 24th, 2013 at 9:27 pm cwalker2309 Says:

    I agree with you! I think it is much better suited to older grade levels. I am a kindergarten teacher and I don’t think I would ever consider posting videos as a replacement for my classroom teaching. I do think it could be used as an addition to my teaching. Either as a review video at a center in class or posted on a class website to be used as needed.


  4. Avatar February 24th, 2013 at 10:31 pm caseycatron Says:

    Hi Angela – you made some really great points in your blog post this week. After reading and viewing all of the links i was 100% pro-flip. I thought it was such a great idea and I didn’t really even agree with what the critics said about the downside of flipping the classroom. After seeing your pro and con list (which was a great straightforward approach) I thought you made a great point about it not being useful for younger grades. This is something that did not really occur to me. With that said, I am constantly impressed by the technology younger students understand. When viewing the standard learning matrix, I saw many kindergarten students using iPads. One solution where this might work is if the video is more about listening with pictures instead of reading. This might be something a younger student might be able to understand. But – i do agree with you that there would be a lot of challenges…. anyways, just a thought!

    great post this week!

    casey


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