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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How I plan to FLIP the class

There has been a lot of information and talk lately about "Flipping" the classroom.  At first I thought this meant using FLIP cameras in your classroom.  I suppose there is plenty of talk about that too, but this kind of Flip is different and it isn't exactly like "Flipping" a house either. So what does it mean to "flip" your classroom?
It means to take advantage of the technology students prefer to use and deliver lessons virtually as homework.  Students complete the less exciting but necessary task of listening to the teacher share information and taking notes by watching a video for homework.  When they arrive in class, they already have the information and are prepared to ask their questions.  This also frees up a ton of time in class that can now be spent on going deeper into the content with engaging activities and inquiry based lessons. 
How exactly does this work?  Well, think about all the lost time in class (looking for pencils, interruptions from students, phone calls from the office, announcements, etc.).  With a video screencast, I can record the informational part of my lesson in 10 minutes.  This same information could easily take the better part of a 40 minute class period.  I've already saved 30 minutes by recording the lesson in advance.  Even if my students don't have access to the Internet, they can watch the video at school and still have the majority of our class to participate in the inquiry and deeper learning exercises.
There are lots of tools that can be used to create these recordings.  I used the Smart Recorder that comes with Smart Notebook.  Then I uploaded the video to Schooltube and shared the link on Edmodo.  This isn't my 1st experience with recording my lessons.  I started doing that as a way to differentiate my lessons and provide scaffolded support for students with IEPs last year.  I've also used it as a way to substitute teach for myself when I have to be out of the classroom.  The big difference is that now I'm asking students to access the recordings on their own, outside of school.  I'm excited about the possibilities and I think the kids are too. 
Within 7 minutes of posting a message to Edmodo, I had a response from one of the parents.  They were already looking for the video and trying to help their child with the assignment.  Our first Flipped lesson is about clouds.
If you're interested, you can check it out here.

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