|Backflip | Flickr - Photo Sharing! : taken from - https://www.flickr.com/photos/wills94/8227900320Author: Will Hodson https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/|
Our inquiry into flipped learning is officially over, and this is what I learned.
After carrying out some initial research, I was surprised to discover that there is some controversy surrounding this trendy teaching strategy. If not used carefully, flipped learning can be a very passive and teacher-centered approach to learning; it can also encourage rote learning and rely too heavily on extrinsic forms of motivation. On the other hand, if one views flipped learning as simply one tool out of many and makes it a point to focus on making the flipped learning experience as interactive as possible, then it can definitely free up time in the classroom for more inquiry and collaboration as well as providing students with the differentiated forms of support that they need. According to this infographic from Mind/Shift, schools that have experimented with a full implementation of a flipped approach have seen great gains in terms of both learning and engagement.
If you are thinking of getting started with flipped learning, this article is the most useful of the many that I came across in my research: it contains a lot of solid and practical advice from the flipped learning gurus Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmann.
One thing that I really wanted to look into further during our inquiry was the various new tools that exist to help teachers flip reading for their students. I decided to try Curriculet first, and created this assignment for my Grade 9 English students based on Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz."
It took me a while to figure out what I was doing - the tool wasn't entirely intuitive. Although I will definitely use the assignment with my students, I'm not convinced that it provides something much different from a worksheet, or that the assignment will be much more fun than a worksheet for them to complete. Plus, it took me forever to create. When I get some time, I plan to check out ActivelyLearn as well, to see whether it might suit me better.
The tool which has the most potential, in my opinion, is Zaption. I created this one based on John Green's Crash Course video on "How and Why We Read." Not only will this tool enable me to make better use of video as a teaching tool, I can also see great potential for its use as a learning tool. For example, in our speech unit, students could use Zaption to annotate famous speeches from the movies. Alternatively, they could record their own speeches, upload them to YouTube, and then annotate them to show their knowledge and understanding. The tool is free, extremely easy to use, and actually pretty fun.
As for my own videos, I will soon be ready to start recording. I've selected a topic (an introduction to our poetry unit, focusing on what makes poetry special) and I know which tool I want to use (Screencast-o-matic). However, I'm finding that the initial stages of a flipped approach to learning are actually quite time consuming. I'm told that after I get over the initial hump, flipping will get easier. However, as it turns out, the five hours that we were allocated for this inquiry were simply not enough for me to be able to fully consolidate my learning. Ideally, besides Screencast-o-matic, I would have loved to be able to experiment with other video creation tools also, and to test out the various videos with my students to determine their effect and to see what, if any, kinds of videos they prefer.
In sum, I've only just gotten started on my flipped learning journey, and still have a long, long way to go. Nevertheless, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity I've had to explore my own professional learning goals in collaboration with my peers. Professional development is so often something that is done to teachers rather than by them. Whether working with students or with adults, learning that is self-directed, personalized, relevant, hands-on, ongoing, and collaborative is powerful learning indeed.