Instruction used to constantly stop in my classroom so I could answer individual student’s questions or walk over and show a student what they did wrong when explaining a new way of using a computer application. This would stop the whole class from moving forward on the lesson. It would take me the whole hour and a half to explain twenty minutes worth of material due to the questions, confusion, and need for one on one help. This was a very inefficient way of working and wasted much of the classroom instructional time. A solution was out there, I just had to find it.
The Flipped Classroom Solution
I considered the flipped classroom, where you show pre-recorded instructional videos as homework and the students then do the actual work in class. However, in my class we are working with computer applications that most students do not own and can not be expected to purchase. The flipped classroom would also leave my students with almost daily homework for the first semester as they learned and became comfortable with the software. For anyone that has tried the flipped classroom, the biggest obstruction are students that do not watch the instruction videos as homework. Then they do not know what to do in class, so you are stuck reteaching. There had to be a better way.
Flipping the Flipped Classroom
There was! Why not record your lesson as if you were creating a flipped classroom, but then play it as the first part of your lesson. This way everyone present at school had the chance to receive the full instruction in an equal manner and you would be able to refer back to the videos if necessary. When talking with teachers at my campus about this process I called it a modified flipped classroom but have since come to learn that it is an in-class flipped class (Gonzalez, J., 2014). I now call it flipping the flipped classroom. Essentially it is putting the instruction back into the school day, but in a way that is efficient and differentiates for each student.
Now while the students are watching the pre-recorded lesson they can ask questions that I can answer without stopping the whole classrooms learning process. I can also walk around the room to make sure students are on task instead of being stuck at my computer showing them what to do on the projector. If the students get stuck, they can rewind the video to watch parts again or they can call me over. This helps the shy student reach out for help since he/she is not worried about what everyone else will think about them if they ask a question or need to have something explained again.
Why This Solution?
My students now beg for this type of instruction. My favorite part? They are learning. This is because it helps me differentiate the lessons for my entire class. For the students that need a little extra time to understand, they can always rewind and watch the lessons over or they can call me over without interrupting the entire class. For the student that understands easily and quickly, they can watch the instruction once and then start on the activity that follows. The shy student can reach out for help since he/she is not worried about what everyone else will think about them if they ask a question or need to have something explained again.
Not only does it let me differentiate by pace, but it also lets me differentiate by level of understanding. For instance, my ELL students can pause the video to look up words they do not understand. I actually see them do this all the time. When filming I try to explain what I am doing at least twice in different words. There is also an option to caption my recordings with the software I use so the students can see it in writing as well. All of this helps students that get lost during a traditional lecture to have the opportunity to understand.
My students don’t care about differentiation though. They like that they can watch the recordings without having to wait through questions they don’t need to hear. When I would have to answer a single student’s question not only would that waste their time, but then I would have to get everyone back on task when ready to teach again. They also like that if they forget something we have learned in the past, they can always go back and watch the recording as a refresher.
It also makes me more efficient in the classroom. If a student is sick or on a field trip and miss a class they can come in to tutorials before or after school, watch the video, and complete the activity without me having to completely reteach the lesson. I will often have multiple students in tutorials each learning a different day’s lesson all at the same time. Also, unless I need to make updates or change something in a recording, I can record my lessons once and then use them every year.
Flipping the flipped classroom was the solution I was looking for. Do you have a different solution for the same problem? I would love to hear about it. Follow me on twitter @tmwatson and we can talk about it.
Gonzalez, J. (2014, March 24). Modifying the Flipped Classroom: The "In-Class" Version. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-in-class-version-jennifer-gonzalez
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