Well, I did it! I am one topic into my flipped learning experience, and despite being a Maths teacher of 8 years experience, feel like I’m starting all over again. Guess what though…that’s a good thing!
What is ‘flipped learning and the flipped classroom I hear you ask? Well if you click ‘Flipping Info’ above I have posted (or will do very shortly, I promise!) a host of videos and lectures that explain both the concept and methodology of ‘flipping’.
Safe to say, it is much more than ‘the kids watching videos instead of homework’. To me, this project so far has represented a shift in my practice that is much more focussed on the learning of young people than my teaching and exposition. Rather, it is a shift in my pedagogical approach that allows me to be available for the young people in the class to teach them more on a one to one or small group basis. It is the best use of my limited face to face time with the young people in front of me, to paraphrase Bergmann and Sams in their seminal book Flip Your Classroom.
Immediate benefits to my class have been numerous. I am consistently impressed by the amount of pupils who say things like: “I like that I can rewind you when I don’t get it, I can’t do that in class” and also “if I can already do the quizzes, I can skip through the video faster!”. This is evidence of their increasing desire not to be ‘spoon-fed’ as was certainly the case in many classrooms, much to the chagrin of practitioners nationwide. The first topic that the class have tackled using a flipped classroom model has been Algebra, a notoriously dry and possibly boring subject that requires discipline to forge through hundreds of examples to gain competence…or does it?
Using the flipped model, my hopefully less dry and boring ‘lectures’ have been watched at home by the young people using the Sophia platform. My reasons for using this are simply that I can monitor usage much better than Youtube, and also add quizzes and other enhancements to build a complete tutorial for students. It really is a very intuitive platform that I would recommend highly to any prospective ‘flipper’. This new form of homework has bought me time in class that can be used, not only for practicing examples (this has it’s place in Maths, sorry kids!) but also for deepening learning through various active learning strategies.
In these short weeks it is becoming the norm for pupils to move the desks into groups, be briefed on activities before choosing which activity to tackle based on their assessment of their own ability with a topic. After years of self assessment one would think that young people would relish this opportunity for freedom of choice…not the case at first! “Which group do I go in Sir?” was a common theme during these first few ‘Menu Lessons’. Wonderfully resilient to change as they are, the young people can now confidently choose their preferred group based not just on their performance on paper, but also their personality and preferred learning style…they just don’t know they’re doing it yet!
Technological roadblocks aside, there really has been no downside to my experience so far. As I said at the beginning of this post, the reflection that has been required by me has been at a level similar to that of a new teacher and has revitalised my practice. Please feel free to follow the blog for more updates, reflections and as I try my best to share the wealth of information that I find on my flipping journey.