Musings from a high school Teacher
I am so very lucky that I have a colleague who is adventurous enough to take me and my crazy flipping ideas on. Robyn, you are one in a million! The two of us have embarked on a team teaching odyssey. We are flipping our classes and teaching a film unit to three separate classes, ranging from grade 9-12. We have taken the explore, flip, explain theory and applied it to a software driven course, and enmeshed it with a very interactive high energy drama course.
So far so good! I am currently editing my very unprofessional handheld documentary style recording of the first two days. I have since noticed that it looks like I do nothing as we only have video taken by me of Robyn. Oops! Fortunately, you can see my flipped pieces on this website under the Media arts tab. I just have to say I have a whole new respect for the brilliance that is Robyn Sheppard. We have what should be a college professor of film teaching high school drama. How can it get any better?
The students have been a little shellshocked by the change of pace from a traditional learning environment. While reviewing the dailies, however, you can see that they are enjoying themselves and definitely learning. I think this is what it means to explore, then flip, and explain. I see how taking the procedure of film can be flipped. I am still working on how to make the procedure of editing more in line with our goal. The work continues...
It's often hard to reflect on your teaching practices when you feel under the microscope. I love that people are interested in flipping and I welcome the collaboration, as I feel a bit adrift in a sea by myself on this one. However, there is an aspect of expectation that comes with an open door policy. It is hard to try something new, not be sure how it is going, and have an audience of your peers waiting for the results to be positive. Or, maybe some are waiting for them to be a complete disaster, so that it can be said it doesn't work.
I feel like I have hardly gotten my feet wet and already I am being asked to teach others how to do it. It's overwhelming and intimidating at times. At the same time, it's reassuring because it means I might be onto something here. I struggle with my ultimate goal, which is to use flip as the mechanism to spend more quality time with each and every student in the way that they need me, and to engage them in a way that remembers play and exploration.
I have ultimately been forcing myself to go through this process by learning flipping and inquiry in a flipped classroom kind of way. Inquiry is coming more slowly, as I struggle with the chicken and egg that is teaching a software based course. In order to have effective play and exploration, you need to have some knowledge of the programs. It's incredibly intimidating to open a program and see this:
I wouldn't even know where to begin playing if confronted with this, having no background knowledge. So this begs the question: How much previous knowledge is needed in order to have engaging successful exploration? I DON'T KNOW! This is my big question for the time being.
I am currently immersed in Flipping 2.0, which is further fuelling my fire of curiosity. It is so well put together, yet I have not found a section on flipping in the technology classroom. I know most flippers use the technology as a means of delivering the content for only in-time learning, but what if the technology is the learning? You would think that it is simple just to follow the principles of blended learning and explore/ flip/ explain, and you are set. And yet, here I sit on my Pro D day contemplating how on Earth do I make this work?
Striving to explore flip: explain in order to engage!