This past year, I heard a lot about flipping a classroom. We had some teachers in our school who were flipping their instruction. It has become a fairly common practice from what I am seeing. What is flipping? Having the students receive instruction at home, via podcast or screencast, and then spending class time working, with teacher support, on problems and applications regarding the instruction. At BLC11 this past week, I was lucky to see some of very good presentations that involved flipping instruction. The presentations mentioned a couple of great points to why you would flip instruction as well as what you need to do to make that happen.
First off, I would like to thank the speakers that I saw - Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams (from Colorado) and Garth Holman and Mike Pennington (from Ohio). These guys have worked together in their preparation of lessons to share with students. I am finding that the effectiveness of this type of instruction can be greatly influenced by two people providing the instruction by asking questions and explaining the concepts. Bergmann and Sams have a ning that they share some of their information - Flipped Class. Holman and Pennington have just started using flipped instruction and are planning on doing more of it this year. They have a website called TeachersForTomorrow.Net. The feedback they received from students was outstanding.
There are many reasons why flipped instruction can be very successful. First off, the students can work through applications and problems with the teacher in the room for support. The teacher takes on more of a "coach" role, as the students work together to solve problems that would have been difficult to solve on their own at home. Flipping also allows the students to view the instruction at their own pace. They can pause videos, rewind to see again, and watch multiple times, if necessary. And another good reason is that when a student is absent, their instruction is available at a later date. These reasons make the idea of flipping the instruction quite helpful.
What do the teachers have to do to flip instruction? Many teachers record their teaching with video. They can record with their SmartBoards, or set up a video camera in their classroom and record their instruction. Some use tablet computers to record their voice and writing, then create a video with editing software. This process is called screencasting. Others use webcams and create interview shows with other teachers, recording their explanations of concepts with their computers. There are many ways to record your instruction so that it can be shared with your students.
My hope is that as more and more people will flip their instruction, then more and more lessons will get shared. There are many awesome teachers that have excellent ways to teach concepts and that students could benefit greatly from being able to see those recordings. Give flipping a try. Record your instruction, let the kids see it ahead of time, and enjoy the time working with kids on new problems that they can solve and work through with you in the room with them.
I have been hearing a lot about flipped classrooms. Your post really helped me to have a better understanding of the idea. It seems beneficial for students to be able to work in a situation where the teacher is working collaboratively alongside students. However, I am wondering if these viewed lessons are still lecture-like? If so, is that enough of a shift? Does it allow students to participate in opportunities of inquiry and collaboration? Does it put students in authentic learning situations? I would love to hear more about this concept. Interesting.