20 June 2011

I blame the Flipped Classroom

A lot of things happened to me this year and when I started to analyze everything I realized that it is all the fault of the Flipped Classroom.

1.  My teaching style has radically changed.  No longer do I control my classroom, but give as much control as possible to my students.  I still guide the learning, but they control how and when it occurs.  I work harder than ever before and, but so do my students and they are learning more.

2.  My students can't take traditional paper and pencil tests.  When I first started this experiment, I made my tests available on Moodle, but didn't require it.  About half of the students took the tests on paper in class.  For the last test of the year 56 of the 58 students took the test on Moodle.  I just gave my final, a traditional paper and pencil test, and the average was 10 percent lower than any test this year.  The only students who scored at or above their average were the students who still, typically, chose the traditional testing method in class.  I have always hated formal exams because I feel they don't mimic the normal testing situations and this proved it.

3.  I have little free time.  My students became so reliant on the podcasts that they would email me to post additional videos explaining more problems.  This meant more time in front of the computer.  I mean, how am I supposed to update my Facebook status ever 5 minutes if I am constantly trying to help my students learn outside of class?!  Ok, that was sarcasm.  But also, I have really started to grow my PLN and share my experiences on Twitter which has increased my knowledge and abilities in the classroom.  My professional development now occurs any chance I can open Tweetdeck or get on my PLN websites.

4.  I have made some enemies.  One thing that has become apparent is the Flipped Classroom is not for everyone.  My students loved it because they were finally in control in the classroom, but most teachers can't do it.  They need to be the boss at all times.  That's fine as long as you are adapting to the needs of the varied learners in your room.  But, lecturing every day, even if it is for only 15 minutes, isn't what is in the best interest of today's learners.  Implementing this non-traditional style makes it apparent the drastic differences that occur between teaching styles.

I love what the Flipped Classroom has given me this year.  I am more confident, more ambitious and constantly searching for new techniques to try.  Even if you only include some tiny aspect of the philosophy, I definitely recommend you try it.  Trust me, your students will love you for it.