F. Ahmad and J. Calhoun MSED 8331 Module 8
What is a Flipped Classroom?
Students watch 10-15-minute videos for homework, come to class prepared with the background knowledge, and participate in various activities that encourage a deeper thinking process and the teacher as a facilitator instead of the lecturer. In Bergmann's joint interview with Aaron Sams, Sams stated, "I think homework has value now" (p. 6.) The goal of a flipped classroom is to do jus that and have multiple lessons being engaged in at the same time.
A Personal Testimony to Flipped Classrooms
- Student work is in one accessible place, no one loses their work and I can check progress at any point.
- Feedback can be precise and immediate. Working in an at-risk school the learning gaps are so severe, feedback is one of the best ways I found to help bridge those gaps. Precise and immediate feedback is always the best, and with a flipped classroom accessible online this is very doable.
- Accessibility: In my classroom we use Google Classroom on iPads, and students can download the apps to any android or iOS device. Students can email me at any point from anywhere, and I can interact with them instantly from my device. It’s great for students who are absent or work at odd times.
- Individualized learning: In my classroom everyone works at their own pace. There isn’t one student who is in sync with another, with the online delivery and their own devices student’s do things at their own pace. The content is there via video, power point, or some other type of digital presentation and they can transition right into assignments.
- Differentiated Instruction: Content can be differentiated based on need at any point. This also makes doing a blended classroom very easy; I've had 3 or 4 classes going on at the same time in my classroom because the flipped platform allows me that type of flexibility.
Promising and Exciting Features
- Calhoun's Classroom: This could completely transform how she teaches AP Literature. She would be able to cover more information since her students are limited on a traditional, daily schedule.
- Videos: As a teacher with 4 different preps, I love the idea of a video or lecture lasting only 10-15 minutes with notes provided and then having an in-class essay for AP over the lecture or videos from the night before.
- Basic ELA Teachings: This would helpful for basic ideas like grammar, vocabulary, and literary devices. Students can actively use this information in class and the teacher will not have to spend class time reviewing and/or teaching a new concept. (That’s for any level of Literature.)
- Homework Ideas: Students can read a poem or short story and the lecture could be created once they have asked specific questions about the text and the analysis of the text so that it is a student driven lecture activities.
- Technology and Internet Concerns: Poor, rural school systems (such as Screven County where Calhoun teaches) is very spread out and have many students without internet access or computers. In Ahmad's experiences: Many of them rely on the schools equipment. This is great unless the Internet is out one day, or some device update crashed Google Classroom, or whatever that days problem may be.
- Low-Income Schools: Schools with 100% free and reduced lunch have no feasible way for a flipped classroom to work effectively; however allowing several students to rotate through the computers nightly could also be an effective solution.
- Calhoun's Example: She had to give one of her AP Literature students a computer because she didn’t have one at home. The students missed turning in summer reading assignments and regular classwork as well. Calhoun provided a computer and told her she would have to go to McDonald’s or somewhere else to get the free Wi-Fi if she really needed to go online.
- Lack of Motivation: Students with little to no motivation that aren't prepared for class or students that refuse to complete homework might not function well in a flipped setting.
Technology is a Huge Learning Curve: Ahmad had to figure out everything for the flipped classroom by himself with no support. He even had to learn how to run a network server for the iPads. His school had a SIG grant and bought a lot of technology, but they had no plan for it. He took what he felt was needed and figured things out on his own. Figuring out Google Classroom was rough too, it’s almost like every day in the flipped classroom is a day spent troubleshooting one problem or another.
Teacher Evaluation Considerations
Ahmad's experiences with a Flipped Classroom has proven challenging when he is observed by his administration.
"When I got evaluated it took a minute before I could convince administration, that my students weren’t just sitting there playing around on iPads. The class environment is very different. Students can be listening to music or even watching a video, but they are still actively engaged in their own learning. It’s not like I stand in front of everyone and teach, most of the time I spend with my students is one-on-one or online. Also, there isn’t a traditional warm-up and closing, students are doing things at their own pace. In order for the learning to be truly individualized administration has to recognize it doesn’t look anything like what a traditional classroom is supposed to look like."