Visually Reflecting on Flipped Units

All information was taken from The Flipped Class: What it is and What it is Not; Are You Ready to Flip?; The Flipped Class Revealed.  The image attempts to process, modify, and re-purpose the information for my evaluating ease.  My apologies if it makes it more confusing for you.

The visual below is a general description of the flipped classroom: It includes 5 strands:

  1. Teacher as guide or coach
  2. Increased student responsibility
  3. Personalized Education
  4. Teacher Facilitated student engagement
  5. Archived Instruction

Within each strand, there are three levels of understanding.  The levels increasingly focus on the more specific ideas to guide the teacher or student tasks to accomplish the goal of active learning through production.

The visual attempts to categorize characteristics of these strands, but by no means does one strand remain independent of the others, and often one strand needs to be integrated in conjunction with the others.

Below the visual I attempt to evaluate my own experience with flipped units.  Unfortunately, I must admit that I have not been able to flip all my units.


Teacher as Guide Coach:
Generally speaking at this point, I more or less know the product and cognitive traits and skills that I want my students to develop and display as I begin to design a flipped unit.  I do find myself adjusting to my students needs quite a bit, given they are ESL learners, throughout the unit of study.  I am continually learning, sometimes the hard way, the art of scaffolding and chunking information.  However, as long as the steps are appropriate, I find that active participation does occur.

Increased Student Responsibility:  I find this somewhat frustrating as some of my students have not developed their abilities to manage their time appropriately.  Hence the reason for me as the teacher, I hope.  Currently, I am using Google Calendar to set and refine due dates based on the students progress.  This method has been serving as a great communication tool while pacing my units.  It also ties into the ‘teacher as guide’ strand as well.  Trying to integrate student peer evaluations is difficult when not enough students are progressing at the same pace.

Personalized Education:  Through a paced approach with my ESL students, I try to deliver the tasks that engage them at the appropriate stage of the unit of study.  I find some students have more difficulties at the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  However, for these types of assignments, I try to keep due dates flexible while offering detailed feedback and chances for revision.  The students who excel past these tasks, I provide more processing activities.  It would be nice to get all students at all stages involved in the processing activities, but I find struggling students contribute less during these tasks, maybe due to self-consciousness.  Towards the end of some units, I find some students asking questions that would definitely display exploration beyond the curriculum, but I hope I can help more students reach this level of thinking.

Teacher-Facilitated Student Engagement:  Recently, I have found this strand quite difficult.  For 4 years or so, I have been focused on adapting Web 2.0 Apps to create a paperless classroom.  I have achieved this with a great amount of success.  However, in the process, I seem to have lost some focus on the face-to-face interactions that could help students process information through discussion activities.  I would greatly appreciate any activity or exercise suggestions for promoting such discourse in the classroom.  Please feel free to add a comment below.

Archived Instruction:  For the past two-three years, I have been trying to develop a digital container that will centralize and systematize the delivery of class resources.  I believe by delivering, aggregating, and presenting information with a digital platform (click here to see my class site) in an organized, predictable fashion, student confusion is reduced and access to resources is promoted.  Ideally, such modeling could help students in their own efforts to contain their resources.  Ultimately, this could promote student assistance among there peers.

I know some of these reflections above are quite broad, but hopefully they give a little more direction to how one could use the Visually Flipped Framework.

Feel free to re-purpose the framework by clicking here and copying the Google Drawing, so you can modify it and make it better.  Any comments or suggestions are welcome below.

2 comments for “Visually Reflecting on Flipped Units

  1. February 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Dan

    Very thought provoking blog post, and a great attempt to pull it all together in your image. At one point you say “Unfortunately, I must admit that I have not been able to flip all my units”. My response to this is “why would you want to”. As teacher we cannot always do the same thing, or use the same technique. We need to ensure that we mix it up, so that we are catering for all students. I enjoy flipping my classroom, but would never consider only doing this. I agree that as we get more into using technology we can lose the face to face contact – I have been working in a 1:1 school for the last 7 year, in Vietnam. For this reason I have “close your tablet”times. we even sometimes go outside and side on the lawn so we can just chat. Also, we occasionally have paper activities. Ten years ago it was “please no, not again”. Now it brings an element of excitement to the kids. Initially we all tried to be paperless and to adhere to the systems that we believed in. Now I feel we are a lot more liberal at picking and choosing from everywhere. My final thought is that we are here to (attempt to) teach all the whole persons in our care – not to adhere to one system of teaching.

    Keep up the good work

    Wayne Hodgkinson

    • Avatar of Daniel Bench
      March 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      I think you are quite right to question the idea of flipped classroom as a pedagogical dogma to singularly pursuit. In fact, while my paperless classroom was a success, I can see now that I am missing out on some ideas and exercises that my students would benefit from. Perhaps, my flipped focus could turn into the same narrow vision. I firmly believe in a learning environment that is open enough to incorporate any resource or tool as long as it adds to the student’s experience. And I don’t think this would at all discredit my musings above; it might even lead to more relevance. The teacher would have to consistently gauge the pulse of the class and the students in order to implement the right exercise/tool for the contextual purpose. I like your idea of ‘close your tablet’ times, which also seems to mix up teacher’s experience a bit as well. It would be nice to get outside the walls a bit.

      Thanks for the comment Wayne…

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