Musings from a high school Teacher
I wish I would have had more time to blog as we went. I feel like I had so many great things to say but no time to sit down, as this was a full-on adventure. I did manage to jot down a few things here and there, so I will add them now, but know that Robyn and I had a blast. I think the kids had a rich experience, and as they edit, I get more and more excited to see the final products. I think I learned just as much as the students did.
Things started out a bit more in the traditional classroom realm, as Robyn was not yet familiar with flipping and we had content students needed to understand before embarking on a film adventure. What happened next is simply a testament to the power of observation. We noticed that the hands-on activities used to explain concepts (you will see them in the documentary of this process) provided deeper meaning than the stand and deliver moments of our "pre-teaching". Neither of us think we could have done this project without first pre-teaching some skills, but we both agree that we would do it a bit differently next time.
This process was especially fun for me as I got to try out some exploratory ideas in a software-based course. I think it has given me a better idea of what works and what really doesn't. Let's hope I can transfer that to graphic arts and photo editing.
I talked with Robyn the other day about what she saw in the process. We only had a couple of minutes as we were both busy organizing our weeks and an out-of-school video shoot, but here is what Robyn had to say:
"Today we had a flipped classroom in our Drama / Media Arts. Kids were excited about scouting locations and securing shot lists. When they had a question, they asked one of us, excited to get an answer and then would leave to go and continue planning. To me, I felt happy. This is learning at its best. You are there to give guidance and massage an idea and add a little spice to their brilliance or concept that might need a bit more discussion. In a lecture class, they disengage. Even if I feel like the information is valuable, it seems there is only a certain amount of time that you can have a one way conversation, even if you feel like an expert. On the other hand, today felt invigorating as a teacher because they did have background which enabled the freedom to explore on their own. Where is the balance?"
The last point seems to be something we continue to come back to. We keep talking about this project with others and that is the sticky point every time. How much information is enough information? I agree with less is more as do most teachers. The trick we have discovered is gauging when less is really too little. This is definitely an ongoing project for me and all of my wonderful colleagues who have been working with me on Flipping. Next chapter to follow. Documentary coming soon. It is being edited by students as we speak.
Striving to explore flip: explain in order to engage!