By flipping my classroom, I was able to accomplish so much more than I had in my past 20 years. Naturally I struggled a bit, and made mistakes. I fumbled with the technology, but my students appreciated the fact that I tried. At first I used videos created by other teachers, but when the students heard my voice and realized I had made the video, they felt connected to me at a more personal level. I cannot stress enough that students need to feel connected to the instructor and the material.
When I first began using the new technology, students would tell me that I should make my own videos. I had only made a few, as I thought they might get bored of my voice. But on the contrary, they appreciated the effort, and were more motivated to give me their best. Program instructor Rebecca Anderson told us that research has shown that flipped classrooms work best when teachers make their own videos, and encouraged us to try it. That was it - I was hooked by own students’ responses to my videos!
The second point I would like to stress is that flipping a classroom does take time. I have flipped many lessons over the past 6 months, but already see potential areas for improvement. Building the activities for the saved class time also takes time and professional development.
Flipping your classroom gives you class time to complete projects, conduct discovery/inquiry labs, and engage in deeper problem-solving than was previously possible – especially if you have students who are below proficiency level. These students need to build the foundation of understanding and skills to help them succeed, and technology can be an invaluable part of that process.
Programs like Khan Academy, Learnbop, and ALEKS further personalize and differentiate learning, filling the gaps in each students' education. The authors call this the flipped-mastery program, and go into more detail about how it works with blended, inquiry-based, project-based, and problem-based learning (which in my research, I referred to as inductive teaching strategies).
When the above strategies are combined, you will find the most powerful teaching taking place in any subject! It is a gradual process and does take time, but the results and improvements in your students across the board will be undeniable, and you will find yourself becoming hooked. And this is aside from improved communication with parents, and their positive feedback. Huge win for everyone!
Lastly, pedagogy trumps technology. Some things are better taught through activities (some hands-on), collaboration, inquiry, discovery, projects and games. Technology is a tool. Like a calculator it can be useful and time-saving, and at other times it is better to not use it! This is where teacher expertise, best practices, and continued professional development and collaboration are so vital to our profession.