Flipping Class

photo from: http://www.yogadestin.com/
Turning a Class Upside Down

I am doing a personal trial of flipping a class in the hopes of improving understanding. Student homework is the powerpoint lecture that is normally given in class, with my voiceover. The slides include questions that must be answered and submitted to me online.

Since lectures are now homework, project work is now classwork. I have found I can control the student products better -- and improve their quality -- if I am there to keep everyone working. I make sure that all parties getting credit for the work are actually participating; plus, I can explain the concepts better for students individually.
Students began reporting to me that they really liked this model. They felt that they could control the pace of the lecture, rewind, relisten, and take notes at their own speed.  The feedback was encouraging.

Salman Khan on TED explains the idea of the flipped classroom better.

Because students are now doing active work in the classroom, the classroom has gotten noisier. This is difficult for me to work in, the noise. I am struggling with the amount of noise that an active science class generates. I am excited about being a coach in the classroom and looking forward to bettering my own delivery of this style of learning. The class that I am flipping is a senior elective, oceanography. It has a handful of juniors in it, but for the most part these students are seniors and have a wide range of reasons for electing to take this class. Since my class is an elective that does not have a high stakes exam attached to it, I felt comfortable embedding my own learning of a new style of teaching into it.

The scientist in me needs formal data so I plan on asking for formal student feedback on the course structure. I'd also like to ask you readers for your experience with the flipped classroom. And for those wanting even more information:


Lfarrell said...

I think this is a really great concept and it certainly opens up a lot of free time during class to do more hands on activities and group projects. I believe it will also prepare students for college, as in any higher education students need to be more independent with their studies. However, because this method of learning is new, I think that the students need practice to master how to take advantage of this system. They know already how to learn by taking notes, but they are not quite familiar with time management, working in groups, self-teaching, and the like. Because of this, I find that students are less aware of the classwork objectives and are more apt to become sidetracked.
Though observing students becoming sidetracked is probably an unavoidable side effect to setting up a new, unique way of teaching, I believe that the best way to eliminate this problem is to assign your groups. Try to break up the social cliques in the class so that students will pay more attention to the task at hand than to catching up with friends. I would hope that eventually students will get the hang of the new system and be able to stay on task with the peers of their choice, but for now they will need 100% focus on learning this new skill.
Overall though, I think this is an exciting new concept that I believe can work much more effectively than the traditional method of teaching. I look forward to seeing how the students will develop within this course!

Reflections of a Science Teacher said...

This comment was sent to me privately:

I don't think that would work in most public schools. I don't know for sure, but oceanography doesn't sound like any elective i've heard of in any public schools, and if it is a private school chances are the students are in that class because they're intersted. But with that style, if the students aren't interested it's too easy to fast forward to the questions and take the easy way out, and then they blame u when they fail a test or the finals. just my 2cents though. If you get a full class of truly interested students though, by all means give it a shot.

Colleen said...

I can't wait to watch the TED talk. -- love this idea! I taught senior science for 5 years in a project based charter school before taking time off to be a mom. Class time was usually project time. I did do short mini-lectures, but I really love the idea of the 'lectures' for homework. I think that it does prepare for college.
My guess is that they might need some mini-lessons/clarifications on concepts that were difficult from the lectures. These could be conducted impromptu based on an informal assessment at the beginning of class.
I agreee with the idea of carefully selecting the groups and providing plenty of scaffolding for the students to manage their time well. Because my students had been doing this type of learning for four years they were much more adept at managing time and groups--but I still needed to scaffold. A LOT.
Noisy is good! I know that it's hard to get used to...but it probably means something is happening.
Getting ongoing feedback from the students always helped me to see if I needed to adjust.
I look forward to hearing about your results!

Jon Bergmann said...

We successfuly flipped our science classes in our school for 5 years running. We teach in a public high school. We have also trained folks all across the world in how to implement this in any setting. Check out: http://flippedclass.com to join in the conversation.