Recently I spoke about the importance of technology integration and the flipped classroom in Indianapolis, IN at the CELL, Center of Excellence in Leadership of Education, 2012 Conference. One of the questions often asked is about the suitability of flipping for students in the elementary grades.
It so happens, on Monday of that same week I’d observed an outstanding example in Mr. Hernandez’s 4th grade classroom at McKinley Elementary School in Yakima, Washington. Mr. Hernandez was doing a highly engaging math multiplication lesson using a problem-based strategy for finding the missing integers.
I observed students working collaboratively in teams, accessing the multiplication content through Khan Academy videos while Mr. Hernandez moved from group to group effectively differentiating his instructional support with individual students and small groups.
Students found the Khan videos very engaging. They liked being able to pause and rewind the content. This effective use of technology to deliver the content allowed Mr. Hernandez much more time for one-on-one individual help than would have been possible in the traditional classroom model.
I do not have hard numbers yet; but based on my work with teacher groups around the country and classroom observations, I believe the practice of flipping may actually be spreading faster at the K-8 level than at High School. In their effort to improve instruction, many teachers are experimenting by incorporating “flipped” techniques without acknowledging a specific model.
These teachers are often creating their own tools while the resources available on line to support them are also growing exponentially. In my next post I will provide a link to for new elementary videos, resources and articles for anyone interested in trying this exciting new way of delivering instruction.
Recently, the International Center for Leadership in Education, ICLE, held its 20th Annual Model Schools Conference in Orlando, FL. I have been a featured speaker for 8 years now and for the past 3, I’ve focused on the Flipped Class instructional model.
“Flipping the Class” is one of the most exciting Next Practices. In a flipped class, the lecture is delivered outside class time in videos students view as homework. Class time is used to apply the lecture content in problem-solving, project-based activities, with one-to-one or small group tutoring by the teacher. Students can watch the short lectures whenever they wish, as many times as they need, to grasp the content and come to class ready to work on collaborative projects.
Three years ago only a handful of people in my sessions had even heard of the concept. Last year, there was clearly more awareness and interest. This year each session was standing room only and the follow up has been amazing. I’ve heard from so many teachers through this blog and elsewhere that they’re going to begin flipping this coming year.
I hope that more of you will use this blog to stay in contact and share your experience with others. The list of resources is growing faster than our ability to keep up! It is an exciting time to be a teacher. With the new Common Core Standards and their focus on the application of knowledge, the project-based, problem-solving focus of the flipped class is the right model at the right time!
I’m not sure I know exactly what schools will look like in the future. But I’ve been to Paul Andersen’s science classroom in Bozeman, Montana and think I’ve seen a piece of what’s possible. Paul is flipping his classes and says he’s still learning, trying to understand how to use technology to keep teaching human and personal. But Paul also told me he knows real learning happens because of the human relationships.
I’m convinced the future is not a choice between a teacher or a computer, but rather a teacher facilitating learning in new ways by allowing every student access to technology. Look to places like Paul’s classroom. Find places where people are asking these kind of questions. That’s where the future will be invented.
Today’s students are “wired differently” from previous generations. We must understand what this means for our classrooms if we want all students to have the necessary skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this changing world. This challenge has become the focus of my work.
Hard drives are cheap! No business I know of is hiring anyone to memorize and store information in their brain. Yet that remains the dominant learning activity in our schools. The Common Core is a conscious strategy designed to change the instructional delivery in our classrooms by focusing on teaching critical thinking, problem-solving, collaborative learning, and improving technological literacy.
Just a few years ago, the thought of using a mobile phone or PDA as a teaching tool in schools seemed radical. In most schools students are still prohibited from using phones/devices in classrooms, or required to have them off during school hours. The schools of the future will be very different. One day, you will hear teachers say, “Class, turn on your phones or devices. It’s time to work.”