Reaction to the Flipped Classroom

flippedTo be honest, the last couple of times I have heard the term “flipped classroom,” I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. I knew it had something to do with podcasts or videos but I didn’t know what it all entailed. This short video told me all I needed to know.

As with most new things, I was immediately excited. Of course this will work! It’s a great idea! A little tricky logistically, sure, but what a great direction to head in ESPECIALLY for high school.

So I took a look at the blog The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con by Mary Beth Hertz to better understand both sides. As I suspected, the logistics of a flipped classroom might be problematic. But this blog goes on to explain Why It Matters,” to which she says:

The primary reason is because it is forcing teachers to reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they’ve always done things, and it is motivating them to bring technology into their classrooms…As long as learning remains the focus, and as long as educators are constantly reflecting and asking themselves if what they are doing is truly something different or just a different way of doing the same things they’ve always done, there is hope that some of Dewey’s philosophies will again permeate our schools.

Well said. It’s exciting to have the technology to explore these kinds of options. I doubt, in my first year of teaching, I will be able to completely adopt this method. However, I think I owe it to myself and to the students to try it at least once and see what happens.

The (Digital) Brothers Grimm

Produced with PowerPoint, PhotoStory, and YouTube. Digital Storytelling by my classmates lmdawson82, learningthroughrebeling, and me.

DEFINITELY useful to learn about digital storytelling. This project can be easily used in the classroom, especially in English classes. It isn’t too difficult, would expose students to new applications, and would appeal to students who aren’t as strong in writing.

Project-Based Learning

ImageThe Nuts and Bolts of 21st Century Teaching,” a blog post written by Shelley Wright, details her experience with project-based learning for a Holocaust unit. I’ve heard about similar experiences with teachers using project-based learning, but I especially liked the one described here.

During student teaching, I did an introduction lesson for Night by Elie Wiesel. I wanted to give the student background information about the Holocaust and WWII but I figured they didn’t need a lesson about dates and events. They probably knew more specifics than I did! Instead, I decided to focus on the question “Could the Holocaust happen again?” We looked at propaganda techniques used by the Nazis and compared them to techniques used in advertising today. The lesson went well and I can understand why these students chose to look at this aspect of the Holocaust for their project.

I would love to incorporate project-based learning in my classrooms. My only concern would be the open-endedness of it. In my experience, students are hesitant to believe that there are no guidelines or directions about an assignment. They often ask for specifics even if you didn’t want to give them. However, if the project is proposed to them in the right way, I think they could overcome their initial uncertainty and take advantage of the opportunity.