Monthly Archives: April 2011

Flipping Over the Flipped Classroom

BT (Before Twitter), I used Google to find resources and prep for my classes.  BG (Before Google), I loved to go to the library or the bookstore and plop myself down in the middle of the stacks and comb through countless books.  Sticky notes marked  the sections or images I wanted to use and/or Xerox.  Those days are over!  (I have “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and The Machine playing as I write this!)

BT and BG, I went to museums to create scavenger hunts for the upcoming field trip.  BT and BG I planned curriculum units using a big yearly desk calendar.  BT and BG I met and planned with teachers in my school, usually on my team.  We talked on the telephone (the one connected to your home) to make plans on when and where to meet.  Those days are over!

BT and BG, I met with students in class or after school.  Now, I’m available by text, mobile phone, email, Twitter, Skype and our home phone (yes, we still have one). We don’t have to wait until the designated class time to communicate.  If students have questions or concerns, I’m available and easy to reach.  I really like this! Learning doesn’t stop and start up again.

Last week, I went beyond BT and BG.  I’ve entered a new realm of learning and opportunities, BS (Before Skype) I had to invite guest lecturers to come to class. This year, former students have Skyped in to share their learning experiences with my new classes and local colleagues have shared their knowledge, but these have always been with people I personally know.  Those days are over.

Last week during #edchat, I asked  a “virtual” colleague, Jonathan Bergmann if he would like to Skype in with my graduate class.  I had never met Jonathan prior to our Skype session; communication was through Twitter and email.  Jonathan and Aaron Sam  shared their “flipped classrooms” with us.  The experience was amazing.  This is what a flipped classroom looks like in action…

I want to be in this classroom.  I want to teach in this classroom.  I want to learn in this classroom.

BT, BG and BS how would this have ever been possible?  We were on campus in a computer lab in Connecticut talking to Jonathan and Aaron in their classroom in Colorado!  Here’s what some of my graduate students had to say about the whole experience…

  • When I think of Skype I think about the saying the sky’s the limit.  Being able to communicate with people who are in a different city, time zone, or country, allows for technology to be combined with learning, creating a holistic learning environment for all students.  This was demonstrated in class the other night when we were able to Skype in with two experts who created the Flipped Classroom approach.  Being able to have a conversation with them made learning enjoyable but it also allowed for us to get the real facts and stories about this new and innovative teaching approach.
  • It was marvelous to have the opportunity to speak directly with the creators of the Flipped Classroom approach via SKYPE.  This technology made it possible to bring two innovative educators from the mountains of Colorado into our classroom.  Many thanks for giving us this splendid chance to communicate with them – I was so impressed.
  • I really enjoyed speaking with the flip class guys last week.  I love the concept of the “flipped classroom”.  I would be interested to see how it would work in a humanities, social studies or English classroom.  When I got home that night I told my husband about what we did in class.  He brought up a good point.  He wondered if the flipped classroom would work in a struggling school where academic performance was not great.  I wonder if the reason that the guys in Colorado have had so much success is because they come from a good school district where the students genuinely want to learn and do work.  I agreed with my husband that the concept would not work if students just flat out refused to watch the videos in the evening.
  • It was an amazing thing to learn about and even more amazing that we were hearing about from the guys who invented it who just happened to live two time zones away in Colorado. It was kind of an eye opening realization as to how far technology has come and how much it has changed the world.  I mean we were in our class in CT, could see and hold a live conversation with these two “game changers” all the way in CO and were able to find out first hand things like their inspiration for doing this and how this has changed their jobs and lives. Pretty incredible stuff.

The way I taught BT, BG and BS, those days are over!  I’m constantly learning, improving and I absolutely love the fact that my learning curve is always stuck in the curve position!  Thank you @jonbergmann and @chemicalsams for sharing your time, talent and passion with us!  You have moved us forward in our thinking and I can’t wait to start flipping!  This iMovie clip was my first attempt and I have so much to learn!  I will have to figure out how I can get to Colorado this summer for your #flipclass conference!

For those interested, here are some additional resources about the #flipclass: MBFXC EDUC 501; Educational VodcastingYouTube: Learning for Mastery; The Flipped Class Network; Flipping the Classroom; and Terminal Velocity.