Recognizing My Shortfalls
Before I get into the nitty-gritties of my blog post for this week, I want to applaud Raquel and Curtis B for including a very important statement and acknowledgment on their blog. Thank you for reminding me to include that I am also a white settler, living on Treaty 6 land—traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Lakota, Dakota peoples, and the homeland of the Metis/Michif Nation. Although many things have changed over the years, this land continues to be shared with diverse populations near and far, therefore, it is important to share our understandings of the land, people, and its history. Including this acknowledgment more often is something that I need to get better at and be better at.
A Flip-In Mix
Like most educators, there has been someone throughout your career journey that has set the bar high. I don’t mean like that one person that pays extra close attention in staff meetings, and nods at all of the appropriate times, or that one person that seems to always go a little extra to be recognized by the admin team. I mean that one person that discretely is so amazing at their jobs but acts like a rookie on the baseball field. Although they seem at times like lone rangers, they embody leadership, teaching not only their students but their peers as well, and always have the most tender hearts. I was lucky enough to have a mentor like this in the first part of my career.
She is a middle year’s educational technology guru in every aspect (in my opinion and many others too). She listened to podcast after podcast, read all the newest literature surrounding the topic, and tried (with her own money) all of the new technology that she could get her hands on. After sitting on the sidelines for some time, she called me up to the starting line. We were teaching the same grade, and she had an idea about making a flipped classroom to try to balance the needs of teaching two grades in one classroom. Obviously, she told me to jump. I didn’t even hesitate to ask how high.
We created interactive videos using SmartNotebook at the time and uploaded them to YouTube using a personal account (check Dylan’s post to find out why a personal account is a good idea). We also used a green screen and had several apps that we used to turn them into videos. We wanted to make sure our eyes were as big as our stomachs, so we only bit off one subject to begin with. We chose Numeracy (math), because we found that it was the most difficult to balance our time properly between two grades in one allotted time block.
It was incredible. That year, we both had students that jumped on board and embraced being able to learn from home the day or week before, and then had time in the classroom to ask for clarification and to ask questions while completing their task. But let’s be honest here for a second. The way this teacher was with kids, everyone was on board all of the time (or so it seemed). It was exciting to see the kids take some control of their learning, and I guess in some respects learn at their own pace. I remember sitting back being mesmerized by all the things this teacher knew and implemented. She still amazes me to this day, and I know many others also feel this way about her.
I tried to replicate this again once she retired, and I couldn’t quite get my kids as excited about it. Maybe it was because the times were changing, a different group of kids or I was missing my mentor, years following I didn’t feel like I was getting the same results. I think a big part of it was the shift in expectations of teachers, and student priorities, but students didn’t seem to be as into it as the years prior.
However, with COVID-19 on the rise and schools closing left and right, I brought back this into my Numeracy classroom in hopes that students would be more familiar with this model before they were forced online. Some students easily picked it up, while others seem to still struggle to find the time or motivation for whatever reason. I wonder what it would be like to have Trevor’s one-to-one ratio of technology to kids in the classroom.
Flipped classroom can also have their challenges (or so I found in my very limited experience). Some challenges I faced were:
- Student motivation
- Available technology and internet
- Support at home
- Time to make the videos and playlists/collections
- Getting students to embrace the teaching methodology
- Being creative and changing things up
- Becoming stagnant
- Student engagement
In my opinion, although there are many challenges that we are faced with in terms of Flipped Classrooms, it also comes with rich opportunities, such as, but not limited to:
- Building stronger relationships with colleagues
- Getting more one-on-one time with students
- Deeper levels of understanding
- Self-paced learning with parameters
- Uses a different approach to learning
- Brings out creativity
- Helps parents/guardians with learning at home
- Makes content to use in future years
- Allows students to access learning wherever and whenever they want to
- Available to watch over and over for students who need that extra time
Have Y’all Tried Flipped Teaching in your Classroom?
Does anyone have any great computer websites or programs that would take my videos to the next level? Remember, I am a ‘Tech Wannabe’ so I may need some guidance through them. I no longer am using SmartNotebook, I have moved towards PowerPoint and uploading it to YouTube because I know it well (boring, right?). This is the perfect example of how I can learn to step outside of my comfort zone and learn something new to bring into my classroom to use with my kiddos.
If You’ve Tried It…
- How’d it go?
- Did/do you like it?
- What have you tried?
- What great tools have you used to level up your videos?
- What advice do you have for a ‘Wannabe Techie?’