Flip with a Twist

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 8.25.02 PMOver the past couple of years I have described myself as a “Flipped Classroom” teacher.  When you ask different people what “flipped” teaching means, you’ll get many different answers.  One central theme seems to be that the direct instruction side of the learning generally happens outside of class, while the teacher saves the practice/homework side of learning for a time when students are in class.  The justification for this is simple: the more valuable use of the teacher is to work with students as they practice and reinforce concepts, not to at as a lecturer.  In the information age in which we live, it may surprise you to know you are not the first person in the history of the world to teach multiplying fractions, and someone may even be doing a better job than you have.  Teachers should be good curators of content, but should not have to be the font of knowledge.

My twist on flipped teaching is that I use technology tools to curate and record lessons but we do the practice work in class– no homework.  The videos I record are a process my students follow to complete a CAD design, which is admittedly pretty specific, but I think the overall concept can work for many other situations.

One of the things teachers are always in search of is time.  If you had more time with your class, what would you do? Cover more content? Go in depth with the content you’ve covered?  Make more real-world connections?  Solve real world problems?  Encourage more student reflections?  Think of the possibilities.
Many teachers eschew flipped teaching because they think you have to go “all in” in order to make it work– you don’t. What if you took one lesson or unit and tried to give the content to students outside of class?  Then use the time you’d present new information to practice, go deeper, or apply the new knowledge and skills.

Over the next set of blog posts I’ll to share some advice and practical tools on how you might start trying out flipped teaching.  Including:

  1. Where to get good content
  2. Tools to deliver content to students
  3. How to check for student engagement and understanding
  4. How your role in the classroom has changed and what to do about it

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