I am designing a professional development module for teachers to learn about the Flipped Classroom. I transformed my Algebra 1 Honors class into a Flipped Classroom and many of my colleagues became intrigued as they heard how successful it ended up being. This module is targeted towards high school teachers, specifically teachers in a 1:1 iPad school as I plan to reference several apps that might not be available in a “Bring Your Own Device” or laptop/tablet school.
I reached out via Facebook to friends and colleagues to see who would be interested in helping me with this project and I received several inquiries. Several of my colleagues from my previous school had already expressed interest before I began this project and I reached out to them via email as well, but I have not yet heard back from them. I plan to include their feedback throughout this project as much as possible.
Since my integration of this method into my classroom was fairly recent, I remember very well the feelings that I had as I began such a daunting task of completely reworking everything I had already designed. I thought about my own background knowledge and technology skill set as I began creating my videos and tried to put myself into the shoes of teachers who perhaps don’t have the comfort level that I had. I have always been a person who’s not afraid to try out new programs and technology and prefer to learn by playing around with it myself rather than have someone walk me through the basics. If I can’t find the answer or can’t figure something out, I use the “Help” feature or I search Google. Many teachers, especially ones older than I am, are not nearly as comfortable using trial and error and prefer to have someone walk them through the processes. I tried to keep this in mind as I brainstormed ways to organize the module and what programs to use to create it. I want it to be user friendly but still showcase the possibilities that are out there when creating such a lesson.
One thing I learned was that there are a few different ideas as to what “Flipped” means. I always assumed it meant that the lecture was done at home and the “practice” in school, but a former colleague of mine had an interesting perspective. Nick wrote, “I think that flipped classrooms can also refer to any inversion of the normal student/teacher dynamic? So having students being teachers to one another, or framing the teacher as facilitator in the creation of knowledge rather than merely the source (or arbiter) of knowledge.” I thought this was fascinating as I always assumed, especially as a math teacher, that I am supposed to teach or give the material, because I struggle with how to help my students discover the new material in math courses. Other subjects may lend themselves better to this alternative way of thinking about it, though, because discovery typically happens a little more fluidly in reading-heavy courses such as literature or history. This caused me to expand my thinking beyond just the math course and to consider how flipping might be implemented in, say, history or religion or even home economics. His comment also encouraged me to think of ways I could potentially guide students toward discovery in my own math courses; it’s a new way of thinking for me but I think that could make me that much better able to consider the points of views of others.