Let’s talk Flipping


I holistically believe that teaching serves the human experience; it is very much about connectivity and working with, empowering and challenging individuals to be their best. Good teaching acknowledges the profession serves the human experience, while great teaching actively works towards a reality where students are intimately served with direct care and focus. Such care and focus can equally occur in both in face-to-face and online classes.

In regards to the online space, much of my professional practice has been grounded in the integration of technology including eLearning. Whether in past experience as a District eLearning Contact or program principal to evolving roles in administration and instructional design, the online space (both full credit, blended and flipped) provides for layered, diverse and at times contentious conversation. Importantly, the contention is fantastic as it often leads to a real opportunity to learn and grow as a professional.

With a focus on flipped learning, the collective of teachers who leverage the digital space, must acknowledge success and limitations. Success can equate to freeing up classroom time to establish inquiry and self-directed learning goals. Limitations can be when the line between teacher and evaluator become blurred. As such, when flipping, it is important to remember that the role of the teacher is still vital in establishing a culture of learning. The teacher must be the provocateur of the learning – a video should not erase or augment that importance.

Excuse my bold critique, but this is not flipping:

  1. Students use a VLE where teacher original or non-original video lessons are posted.
  2. Students view a video lesson at home (teacher driven, 3rd party such as Kahn Academy etc.)
  3. Students write down notes or complete a task.
  4. Students enter class the next day and review the video post / lesson.
  5. Students use class time to complete text book work that is rarely modified or not modified at all.
  6. Teacher sits at desk waiting for student questions or casually walks the room.

Not only as an educator, but more importantly as a parent, I question how the effective or meaningful use of classroom time has evolved. What has the flipping changed? What classroom cultural fabric has been redesigned? Where is the inquiry, the group work, the peer assessment?

This is just one example of Flipping that promotes active learning:

  1. Lessons are purposely designed (i.e. three part lesson)
  2. Students use the VLE to interact with “Minds On” content (video lesson, opening task etc.)
  3. Students return to class and participant in whole or small group activities based on the online “Minds On” content shared the previous night within the VLE.
  4. Teacher delivers a short lesson and uses the VLE to extend through video, audio, animation etc. Online digital content is to be short and direct.
  5. Students review extended lesson video in class or at home (depending on the classroom structure)
  6. In class, the students work in small group groups on learning tasks.
  7. The teacher moderates and actively participates. See the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOe3cpD3hvg

With all of this, I dare not proclaim that I am the master of knowledge as it pertains to forms of eLearning. However, I will assert that any online learning practice must be one where the teacher is not passive. Technology alone does not make for engagement. In the era where access to technology has dangerously made everyone an “expert,” the teaching practice must still be the focus.

Great reads on Flipping can be found here: http://www.facultyfocus.com/tag/flipped-classroom/

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