Thursday, May 22, 2014

Managing the Digital Classroom: Flipped Learning

This chapter was all about flipped learning, and I'm a HUGE fan of it!  As a special education teacher in an inclusion school, I was out of my classroom all.the.time.  Seriously!  Whether it was to attend IEP meetings, test students to write an IEP, state testing, field trips, or sick babies (hey, I'm human and my own kids get sick sometimes), it seemed like I was never in my classroom (especially in the spring time).  
So one day I thought it might be better if I could create a video of myself explaining a concept that the students could simply watch.  My kids have a really hard time taking notes and writing down only the important stuff.  So I created a notes outline, so the students only have to fill in the blanks.  Here is an example:

Once I created the notes, I would literally take a picture using the camera on my iPad and import the picture into the app ShowMe (you can view my video here, if you would like).  I could then record my voice and the penstrokes on the screen and my students could hear me explaining the concepts.  To make sure everyone had access, I would go to the ShowMe website and create a QR code of my video and stick the code in the upper corner of the notes.  My students loved that I could be there explaining problems without actually being there.  The best compliments I got were from parents who loved being able to hear my explanations at home (by scanning the QR code), and they could actually help their kids with the homework!!!  (Many parents get very anxious when it comes to math when children enter middle school - I have no idea why?!?)

Now, there are many new ways to create flipped learning videos.  New software such as Touchcast and Voice Thread have been created to simplify creating videos.  The most difficult part would be making sure students have access to the technology at home to watch the videos.  I never used the videos in this way because while most of my students did have computers or tablets at their disposal, many didn't, and I didn't think it was right to have some students not able to do homework because of their circumstances.  The actual videos are usually around 5 minutes long, so it didn't take much time out of class and I was able to work 1:1 with students that I could see clearly didn't understand the concept.

Have you ever tried flipped learning in your classroom?

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