Learning to Flip

I’ve known about Flipped Classroom models for the past few years and now that I’m back in a classroom have had the opportunity to try out this model of instruction. In the past few weeks I’d noticed that my students needed some independent practice with:

  • practicing technology skills they previously had been taught,
  • responding via technology to texts and videos in a collaborative environment.

Based on these needs, I decided to try out some very, very basic flipped classroom ideas.

Backflip by Mr Moss, on Flickr
Backflip” (CC BY 2.0) by Mr Moss
I teach grade 3 so instead of students viewing the videos and work at home, students watched and completed their practice and reflections at school. We also are working on perseverance and independence which are elements of our Elementary School skills and behavior called being a Self-Manager so again the timing of trying this model seemed even more appropriate.
My first go at a Flipped Classroom model was to create this screencast using Screencast-o-matic to review with students how to create a QR code for an item in Google Drive.

This was a skill I’d taught earlier in the school year. I thought rather than guiding the whole class or having students complete this in small groups, I’d better be able to differentiate students’ technology abilities by using this model. I have to say I was a bit shocked at how difficult it was for most of my students to create a QR code using the video. My teaching assistant and I told our students, prior to them beginning, that we wouldn’t provide assistance, unless their video wasn’t working, for 10 minutes. We also reminded them that good viewers pause the video to follow things one step at a time. Any guesses at how many times some of them had to watch the video? The fewest was twice and the greatest number of views by a student was 11. Perhaps this isn’t quite Flipped Learning at its purest form. Perhaps it’s more direction following but for our youngest students, this is a start.

When I first created the screencast, I noticed I’d made mistakes as a spoke. I appreciated having the IBO feedback around Flipped Classrooms including “videos should be natural and include the normal mistakes that teachers would make when speaking in front of a class (ie: no excessive editing, just record and upload).” My video definitely isn’t perfect. Also, it’s a bit tricky to record on my laptop and know that although I’ve worked through steps on an iPad that visually it will appear differently to the students. If anyone has suggestions for different apps to do this, I’m all ears!

A second way I used a Flipped Classroom approach was after reading COETAILer Michelle Beard’s post  which included information on Hyperdocs. I found this Hyperdoc about places which was a perfect launch to our unit of inquiry, A Place Called Prague. I modified a few photos in the Hyperdoc by making them relevant to our learning environment in Prague and off we went. Additionally I thought using a Hyperdoc would be a means to meet my second goal above, providing students practice with collaborating with their peers using Padlet. My students are quite familiar with Padlet but I wanted the opportunity for them to begin commenting in a collaborative environment which was a new skill for them.

Our classroom was eerily quiet while the whole class took part in this lesson. I walked around throughout the 15 minutes and found they were engaged in the videos, reading one another’s thinking on the Padlets and stopped to tell me about what other students had “said.” After I asked them for feedback on the format and they said:

  • “I liked being able to see what other people thought.”
  • “We don’t have to always talk to ‘talk’ with one another.”
  • “There was one video I watched two times because I liked it so much. Watching the videos by myself I could do that.”
  • “It’s nice to have a quiet classroom.”

Some of their feedback confirmed my thinking while others, such as the “quiet classroom” brought up reminders that some students need the quiet especially when their classmates are quite talkative.

Also, we did have some instances of inappropriate commenting which made it easy for me to take a screenshot, leave names off and review our commenting agreements. It was a great way to push our technology integration to higher levels of the SAMR model while teaching digital citizenship at the same time. I’ll definitely be Flipping things again soon but feeling good about this initial start.


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