Sunday, February 16, 2014

Planning Flipped Video Lessons

Planning the Video Lessons

Key points to address while planning and organizing of your videos.

Introduction -  Introduce the puropose of the video.  Identify the concept and create a connection to previous knowledge if necessary.

Objectives -  Identify 1 or 2 objectives or standards that will be addressed in the video.  Whenever possible list Common Core or State Standards or Next Generation Science Standards met by the concepts in the video.

Overview -  Provide a brief explanation of the concept that will be modeled in the lesson.  Include new vocabulary, skills necessary and other related materials.

Examples -  Model concept providing as many examples as possible.  Keep in mind lesson link.  If necessary make more than one video to provide additional examples and solutions.

Self Assess – Provide opportunities troughout the lesson for students to check their understanding.  Encourage students to pause the lesson in order to answer questions, think about the concept or complete a sample problem.

Going Further – Provide opportunities for students to continue to explore the concept through additional sample problems, further research, articles, websites or additional videos to add to the knowledge base.  Add higher order questions to  help students synthesize the content into a knowledge base that can transition back to the classroom.

Closure – Bring the  lesson to a close by revisiting the objectives or standards that were demonstrated in the video lesson.  There is no need to summarize or repeat the key concepts as this will only increase video time.  Students always have the option to re-watch any part of the video as many times as may be necessary.

 The more organized and prepared you are, the less re-takes and editing you will have to do later.
The editing process can deplete your energy and waste

your valuable time.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Creating Accountability in the Flipped Classroom

Creating Accountability in the Flipped Classroom

How do I make the students watch the videos?
The flipped learning model is not a silver bullet and there will still be students who do not do the homework.  There is no magic elixir or special potion that can be used to solve this problem.  There will be problems with the internet.   Mom and Dad will be using the computer.   Viruses will attack.  And of course dogs will eat hard drives. Like anything else when it comes to education it all comes down to who will be held accountable and how will that be accomplished.

The best way to approach accountability in the classroom; is to create a student centered environment where the students have both control and ownership of their learning.  Develop an attitude that learning is a process to be valued not for the grade achieved but for the knowledge gained.  Impress upon students that learning is the one skill that is guaranteed to be part of their life for the rest of their life.

BER Flipped Classroom presenter Corey Papastathis uses the concept of CANT to develop this accountability with his students.   

C - Choice  (videos and assessment)
A - Accountability
N - No Excuses
T - Three Before Me

C – Choice

Provide choices for the students to meet their responsibilities for learning.  Options in the videos they watch, the articles they read or the media used to acquire knowledge.  Provide a bank of options for students to utilize and encourage them to explore other options on their own. 

Provide choices in the methods used to demonstrate their understanding of the content and ways the standards have been achieved.  Assessment opportunities should be both formative and summative and demand that students be capable of dealing with higher order thinking.

In providing students with choices, they can take ownership of the process and mean by which they learn.

A – Accountability

Educators must hold students accountable for the information and content delivered outside of class.  Students must produce something that demonstrates their completion of the task.  The danger is when educators fall back on lower order questioning students can simply borrow answers from their peers without actually completing the expected learning process.

Examples could include: developing questions for the next class review of the material, creating or responding to a blog post on the content, presenting further research on the topic, developing a lesson for the class, teaching a peer, what they learned.

Gary Philips of the National School Improvement Project, found in his research on what the brain remembers thirty days after what we have been taught.  His findings demonstrated that we remember 92% of what we have taught someone else.  Peer to peer teaching is the most effective method of solidifying understanding and synthesizing material in long-term memory.

Louis Mangione – “Dynamic Teaching in the Block Schedule”
N – No Excuses

To create an environment of accountability there must be no exceptions to the expectations. Each student must be held accountable. There must be an understanding that each student has a responsibility to themselves and to their classmates to be prepared with the content knowledge necessary for the entire class to succeed.  That is coming unprepared students are not only cheating themselves but they cheat their lab partners and the entire class by not being able to participate fully in the class.

However, educators must provide students with ample opportunities and choice to be successful.  Students must have a variety of media and other sources available to attain the content knowledge.  Options must be available that serve each students needs, whether that be offering time outside of class to view videos before or after school, in the library.  Are videos burned to DVD’s for students to watch through DVD players or zip drives made available for students without internet connections at home.

The No Excuses mantra does not only extend to the students but also to the educator as a teacher facilitator. 

T – Three Before Me

Students must take charge of their own learning by developing the skills necessary to problem solve and move forward when a rough patch comes along.  Therefore the rule must be check three resources for possible solutions before asking the teacher.  Students can ask each other, read the text, check their notes, review the media, watch an additional video etc… etc….  Students must build an attitude of self-advocacy, and responsibility for their learning. 

The teacher facilitator must in turn take an authentic role as the “guide on the side”.  Do not provide the easy out for the student.  It may be easier to just move them along, but this is a disservice to the process of learning.  It cripples the student as they try to take of their own the process of learning. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Pros and Cons of the Flipped Classroom

The Pros and Cons of the Flipped Classroom
Possible benefits of the flipped classroom:
    Students can take ownership of their learning.
    Teachers can create or select educationally entertaining videos to capture student attention, instead of having students absorb through textbooks and homework problems.
    The classroom becomes a student centered learning environment, rather than teacher directed a content driven.
    Students receive instant feedback in class as they are problem solving.
   Students are not as frustrated because they can ask questions immediately and work through confusion.
   Teachers can revisit concepts that trip-up students and reform the pace of the lesson plan based on feedback.
   Students do not have to rely on parents, tutors or potentially inaccurate internet sources to work through tough problems.
   Teachers can provide options to students with different learning styles and offer more one-on-one time.
   Students who are absent or miss class due to school activities have access to the content delivery outside of the classroom.
   Administrators, colleagues and parents have access to the content being delivered in your classroom.
   More time to allow for student involvement in Project Based Learning, Inquiry Based Learning, Gamification and Simulations.
   Development of Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaborative skill sets through increased interaction between students and teachers in the classroom.  

Possible draw-backs of the flipped classroom

    Not all students have access to at-home technology.
    Not all teachers are tech savvy enough to master the flipped classroom model, and schools may need to adopt additional hiring criteria for new teachers.
    The method relies on students watching the videos and potentially fails if they do not.
    Teachers may be at a loss as what to do with in-class time.  Teachers are more reliant on student feedback and questions to drive daily interaction.
      With the emphasis on out of class lessons, some ask why we need teachers, and insist the flipped classroom too closely resembles a hands-off online learning environment.
    Educators need time to develop online content and create a student centered learning environment, through Inquiry and Project Based Learning methods. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

4 Essential Elements of the Flipped Classroom

Four Essential Elements of a Flipped Classroom

”I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember.  I do and I understand.”

 This proverb dates back to Confucius 500 BC.  The meaning and expectations of this ancient idea rings true in the transition to the flipped classroom. 

The traditional “teacher directed” classroom of the industrial age was absolutely dependent upon the teacher delivering content in a streamlined manner by lecturing to groups of students.  This was at one time the most efficient way to get information to the masses in a timely manner.  However, this method is wrought with deficiencies.  First and foremost, it is entirely dependent upon the teacher and favors the auditory learner who absorbs everything they hear.  Second it demands that the students maintain a passive posture, even if they are busy taking notes. And, third, it leaves out any student who misses the lecture, due to illness, a meeting with an advisor, or early dismissal for sports. The list is endless.

Even when students pay attention and take good notes, they are then subject to the homework wasteland upon arriving home later that day.  With three, five or seven classes of homework to attack and three, five or seven lectures to revive in their minds students are faced with the completion of assignments that in most cases are primarily composed of busy work and repetition.  Typically there might be fifty math problems from two sections of their math text, or balancing twenty equations in chemistry.  If they can do the first five, why do they want to do the rest, or if they can’t do the first five, they definitely will not do the rest.

The flipped classroom turns that scenario upside down.  What was once done in the classroom is now done at home and what was once a frustration at home becomes classroom work with a purpose.  Utilizing the technology and connectivity of today the content can now be delivered by a variety of means.  Using the plethora of resources that are now available at the swipe of a fingertip, students can both see and hear the content through online texts, videos and audio texts.  Students can listen to their book online, they can read articles from around the world, they can see lectures from colleges through iTunes U or they can watch the millions of videos available from YouTube, Kahn Academy, Vimeo or Learnzillion, the list is as endless as the possibilities.      

But simply having the content available does not equate to learning.  This is where the classroom comes in.  While the teacher no longer is the keeper and distributor of the knowledge, it is the master teacher who becomes the docent for the learning experience.   It is the educator who turns the content into viable and meaningful threads upon which the students can weave their knowledge and understanding.  It is the process of transferring what has been seen and heard into a process that can solidify understanding.

The Flipped classroom is a platform that can allow students to synthesize their understanding of the content into a product that is real and the knowledge is authentic.

There are four main components necessary to execute the flipped learning model:
                Student Centered Environment
                Teacher as Learning Facilitator
                Content Delivery Resources
                Higher-Order Questions

The Student Centered Classroom

Above all else the flipped classroom demands that the learning environment is student centered.  Simply asking students to watch recorded lectures at home only to complete the worksheets in class that would have been assigned for homework in the past does not make the classroom student centered. Nor is this a flipped classroom.  The student centered classroom focuses on the student’s ability to demonstrate their knowledge.  Therefore, this learning environment demands options to synthesize the knowledge and demonstrate understanding.  Students who have a choice in the delivery for their understanding are less likely to opt out of demonstrating what they have learned. 

It then becomes paramount that the teacher relinquishes the role of “sage on the stage” and embraces the role of “guide on the side”.  The educator becomes the mentor/coach whose interactions with students are to assist and guide the student’s own self-actualization.  The educator is still a valuable resource of knowledge and skill.  It is the experience of the educator whose questions and prompts are absolutely necessary as students navigate their own course for understanding. 

The Teacher as Facilitator

It is the educator who guides this process through the development of content libraries and options for learning.  Who constructs pathways of project based and inquiry based learning opportunities that solidify the students understanding and format raw content and basic understanding into mastery of the objectives and standards that will be the measures of success for their students.    

The teacher facilitator model provides a framework whereby any student at any level of ability can feel successful.  To some this environment may seem less structured but in actuality the good facilitator has created a learning structure that is comfortable and safe for all to learn.  It is in this role as teacher facilitator that avenues for interaction with students to provide formative assessment opportunities and the teachable moments that often appear in much more relaxed and comfortable settings.

The teacher facilitator must mentor students offering opportunities for students to reflect on their own understanding and self assess their progress toward completion of a unit, project or goal. Students must sense that they are in control of their own learning and that the knowledge gained as come value for their life.  It is in this role that the educator has a greater opportunity to aid students in the acquisition of knowledge.  

Content Delivery Resources

Although the term “flipped classroom” has come to mean developing or using video content online, simply recording lectures and posting them online does not meet the needs of all students.  The content must be engaging and must support a variety of learning styles.  Teachers can develop content on their own or may team up with other teachers to create lessons.  In some cases creating conversational style presentations that allow for questions and answers as well as reactions to the content.  Students can be also be involved in developing content through creating their own videos or as part of teacher developed video.

There are many ways to provide engaging content for students.  Educators can develop simulations and educational games that can model content.  Students can be asked to perform web searches, read online articles, listen to excerpts from audio books, hear online lectures, or interact with online simulation tools. Teachers can assign surveys via social media, or require basic research tasks for the collection of data.

The key to content delivery is to use digital content to provide students with threads of knowledge that will help them to build a framework that both supports and connects them to the content. 

Higher Order Questions

The flipped learning environment requires a shift from the current model of training students to answer lower order questions and raise the expectations by demanding Higher Order questioning.   No longer is it acceptable to simply be able to list, define, and order.  The content threads that can be developed through the varieties of content available require that students become problem solvers.  Students should be encouraged to question the possibilities.  To think outside the box and search for additional means to utilize the information.  Their future employment will be more dependent upon the big picture reasoning of the right brain than the repetitive task based thinking of the left brain. 

Give them opportunities to hear the information in a variety of ways.  Let them witness visual formats that provide content that is engaging and authentic.  But most importantly let them do what they can to make their knowledge real, the information clear and their understanding complete.  It is in this type of synthesis that students become critical thinkers, communicators and collaborators who can maximize their own potential.