Guest Tech PD Post ~ Flipping My Classroom

(Last Updated On: April 21, 2017)
By: Gary Graczyk
I have done the exact opposite of what I expect of myself today.  I am not sure if it is a genetic thing or if I am flipping my personality.   Historically, I avoid reading directions putting things together has always been innate. I am who I am.  I am a jump in feet first and find out what I am going to land in second.  Sometimes, this lack of planning gets me in trouble.  I thought it fitting that as a science teacher I better experiment with making my class better!  Here is what I’ve learned about flipping my science classroom.

I) Interact with other flippers!
You are not alone.  There is a whole community of like minded “edu-curious” teachers who are thinking like you are!  Each of these teachers are at differing points in their progress towards flipping the classroom.  Use this to your advantage.  I’ve read, listened and researched a lot.  I’ve found out that these people are mere mortals.  I tried youtube, twitter, google groups, blogs and more!

2) Use other teachers lectures-as well as team up with my co-worker!
I am not a technology savvy guy.  I do have a co worker who digs into technology though.  We have adopted the ol’ adage of “working smarter not harder.”  We depend on one another to roll out new ideas and do some things out of the ordinary to keep things fresh.  We also view lots of videos on what others are doing.  If you are a science geek like me, you will love Paul Anderson!

3) Start small
This takes time!  Much longer than you would expect. I am talking about the actual production of the video.  So flipping your curriculum all at once isn’t recommended.    Chose a lesson and work towards a larger goal.  Each video is a humbling experience.  Additionally, your productions become better.  If you are looking for a place to begin start with what students struggle with most.

4)Prepare students and parents by explaining what is going on!
Know how you want to use your videos. Its a paradigm shift.  Students are now owning the materials and it takes some getting used to.  Don’t just expect people to jump on the flipping bandwagon.  

5)Teach students how to use the videos.
Teach students that they need to put distractions away.  Yes, no tv, iphone, close all other browsers!   Just like they are supposed to do with traditional learning.  The less distracted you are the more engaged you are with the material easily you will learn.  

6)Don’t increase the student workload.
Students might feel like they will be doing more work.  While its more a matter of being more efficient with your time.  Meaning that there will be less time working to learn the same material.

7)Do in class what was traditionally done at home.
Lecture no more.  The shift from talking head to active participant/mentor/coach will happen.  Students will be getting the information on a different format. Do the homework in the classroom with the expert! I think parents will appreciate it.   

8)Be amazed and willing to learn!
I for one am ready to shift my role and see what amazing things our students are capable of.  I look forward to student engaging conversations about content or at the very least being critical of my videos!

9) Shift towards student centered assignments.
This new efficiency will
Culling the workload to put more emphasis on collaborative work or essential outcomes.

I am intrigued.  I know that flipping is not the answer to becoming the best science teacher ever.  I do enough time under my belt that I know that if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  So break a leg and go put on a show!  I might have flipped-out.

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