Thursday, October 24, 2013

Flipping the Classroom Part Two - Is there any downside to Flipping?

In my last post, I outline all the good reasons to consider flipping your classroom. The main objective would be to remove some of the rote lecture from the classroom and allow students to experience that at home at their own pace, leaving class time for more one on one interaction and differentiated instruction. But is there any downside to flipping? Personally, I do not believe there is and I would like to discuss the arguments against flipping and then perhaps rebut those arguments.

#1 - Does Flipping Increase Homework Time? - If every teacher were to assign a 5-7 minute video every night, that would be a problem no matter where you fall on the homework spectrum. I am not advocating that everyone flip all the time. But it would be great if we were to each flip our classroom once or twice a week. Doing this would give the students a 10 minute homework assignment,  which would not add any extra homework burden. It is simply reshaping the homework from  classical pen and paper questions to watching a video to prepare for the next lesson.

#2 - Flipping Assumes Every Student Has Internet at Home - thankfully, in our school setting, this is an assumption we can make. However, in some low income neighborhoods, this could potentially be a roadblock to flipping. However, many teachers have found ways around this by creating the screencasts and downloading them onto a cd to send home with the students. In other schools, students are given the chance to watch the videos first thing in the morning before going to class.

#3 - Videos Are One Size Fits All - will my videos attract all kinds of learners?  In my experience, the more effective screencasts are ones where they are simple and straight forward enough that you can go figure out my?

#4 - Will the student have the motivation to work through the material? Most research says yes. The combination of students going at their own pace combined with the student being able to rewind the teacher has led to amazing results.

#5 - Will the student have engaged with the material deeply, or superficially? Again, this will depend on the student and the teacher's presentation. Typically, keeping a video down to 5-8 minutes will allow many more of us to upload at one time.

In closing, If you are intimidated to flip, then learn screencasting to create a review of a lesson. Take your time to be convinced of the methodology, but in the meantime start creating screencasts from your PC or iPad.

Creating a Screencast on an iPad

Useful Links
1. Key Questions You Should Ask Before You Flip Your Class
7. 6 Steps to a Flipped Classroom
8. 30 Flipped Learning Tools From Edshelf

9. Reach Every Student Every Day - Great Resource from @mariealcock
         Part 1- Flip 101
         Part 2 - Flip 201


Friday, October 11, 2013

Welcome to Technology for Learning - Flipped Classroom Part 1

Welcome to Technology for Learning! This is a new blog primarily aimed at the faculty of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, but is open to anyone looking to promote Edtech for Learning. The goal of this blog will be threefold:
1. An open conversation/evaluation of some edtech tool or educational pedagogy.
2. A screen-cast or video to demonstrate how to use the tool/ pedagogy.
3.  Posting of a few links to further research the topic being discussed.

Follow me on Twitter @jffrothman to become part of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and feel free to email me at

Flipped Classroom Part One

The concept of the Flipped classroom dates back as early as the 1990's, but has gained popularity in the last few years. (See Wikipedia's history). I normally hesitate getting on the band wagon of popular fads, but I do not think that the Flipped Classroom is a fad that will be going away anytime soon. Ever since the publishing of Sams and Bergmann's Book, "Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day," and the explosion of Khan Academy, the movement has kept gaining steam, and most importantly it has gained the backing of educators who are looking to improve the learning that goes on in their classrooms. In fact, what makes the Sams and Bergmann approach so compelling is that it comes from two high school chemistry teachers. 

The basic idea is that teachers record and post video lectures in lieu of lecturing in class. Students view the lectures at home (younger grades this could be in school as well), having the ability to stop, rewind and re-watch videos until they understand the information. The goal is to remove the rote lecture from class time, allowing students the opportunity to learn that at their own pace, leaving class time for more individualized instruction, one on one time for the teacher and the student, and more time to focus on higher order skills. The basic question you have to ask yourself, is what is the best way to spend the precious face to face time that you have with your students?

Here are the 12 advantages Sams and Bergmann suggest for promoting  the flipped classroom model:


1.  More efficient use of class time. Teachers remove the rote lecture from the classroom and have the students spend time at home learning that information. Moreover, teachers reflect on the content and can deliver a 5-10 minute video that could have taken 30 minutes of class time.

2.  Class time is spent on applying the information from the videos.

3.  This allows every student the ability to do his homework without getting stuck on problems he doesn’t know how to complete.

4.  Increase of student-teacher interaction. Flipping allows the teacher to spend more time in class working one-on-one with the students who require extra help. This improves teacher relationships with the students and provides for a more personalized learning experience. This also allows for differentiated instruction.

5.  Encourages teacher collaboration. They discuss and what worked and what did not work with the videos so they can perfect the process.

6. Parent involvement increases as they have access to what and how the teacher is teaching in class. They can watch the videos to help their child with comprehension.

7.  Research shows that teachers who use the Flipped Classroom model report that job satisfaction, quality of education, parent relationship and instructional skill improved.

8.  Flipping speaks the student’s language. They have grown up on technology.

9.  Flipping can be done in all class levels.

10.  Flipping increases student-student interaction. Students who have mastered the content can help others.

11.  Research shows that flipping reduces classroom management issues. This is primarily due to the fact that students are more engaged when using technology.

12.  Flipping allows for students to learn even on days when a teacher is absent.  

Next week, we will further the conversation about the Flipped Classroom, discussing some best practices in implementation and look at some of the challenges that one might encounter in flipping. 

Whether you are sold on the pedagogy or not, learning to create screencasts is an invaluable tool that you can use in so many ways to further the learning in your classroom. If you aren't convinced that you want students watching videos before class, then how about learning this tool so you can make quick "Week in Review" screencast or a review of your reading and translating a text so your students can "take you home" with them.

CLICK HERE to watch a video about how to create a screencast.