Flipping Out – or Not?

What is your understanding of reverse instruction and how does it apply to your curricular area, grade level, and own theory on technology in the classroom?

Much of what I have been reading about flipped classrooms and reverse instruction seems to be focused in higher level, traditionally lecture-driven classrooms.  And I’ve gotten the feeling that despite the integral part vodcasting and videoing play in the whole concept of flipped classrooms, the founders/discoverers Johnathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, might prefer that they never mentioned it.  From Flipped Learning by J. Bergmann:

But in short, we realize that the flipped class is NOT just about the videos.  In fact, the flipped class is so much more than the videos.

So, what is it?

In their recently published manifest they state that the flipped classroom mainly involves two things: transferring ownership of learning to students and identifying how to best use class time to get students actively engaged in their learning and shifting the ‘lecture’ to outside of class time.

This all makes perfect sense, but in the end I feel like it’s all about effective teaching and maximizing in class time to meet the varied needs of our students.  Flipped classrooms are another way to do this, but as they mention it depends on the school’s culture and learners’ needs.

The flooding situation in Thailand gave many of us insight as to how e-learning or more video-based learning might look for our students.  One thing that it taught us and our students is how important the face-to-face time is.  Many students struggled with working online.  They found it difficult to stay motivated and manage their time.  These are important issues to consider when moving to a flipped classroom.  Yes, the lecture outside of class can prove to be an excellent tool for relaying concepts and information to students, but will they have the motivation to watch and learn?  Certainly in higher level courses, they might, but for my middle school students?  For an art class?  Is this a valid expectation?  As Jesse Scott mentioned, “these kids will have plenty of time to work too much.”

So, I’m flipping out in another way – more in the style of Marvin Bartel than Bergmann and Sams.  I’m spending more of my time in class helping students learn how to generate their own problems and ideas before working on polished products.  Bartel calls this an Inside Out Art Curriculum.  Is there a technology component to this kind of flipping out?  Not really, except that the web is such an amazing resource for students to explore their interests, share and expand their ideas, and find ways to bring their ideas to life.  I’ve never been one for cookie cutter art projects, so by placing the focus on developing problems and ideas hopefully I’m providing students with skills they can apply in other areas of their lives and giving them the opportunity to create works that are meaningful to them.

Flipped Classroom

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One Response to Flipping Out – or Not?

  1. It was reassuring to read yours and others thoughts in our cohort about reverse instruction. I was almost thinking I was being a grumpy old guy by not being totally sold on it as a revolutionary teaching method. Like you, I see it as having a limited audience for limited subject matter, but also agree that the idea has merit as one of many differentiated teaching methods. Although not an art teacher, I appreciated reading Bartel’s Inside Out Curriculum ideas, and see application for science students creatively researching science problems. I followed your link to Jesse Scott and read a comment to his post by Dean Hester. Jeff’s example in class highlighted struggling with students mostly interested in being spoon fed, and parents wholly focusing on grades. I think that is a battle might worth fighting, but will need to be won with more than just reverse instruction.

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