Sunday, December 30, 2012

Busy Year of Flipping

Busy - the one word that really summarizes this past year in my classrooms. This was due to the significant shift that occurred in my teaching and learning. What started as a modest curiosity, quickly morphed into a full-on ideological transformation in how I run my classrooms. The idea of 'flipping' my classroom was something that seemed too good to pass up; it seemed like something that was too beneficial for my students not to at least try for them. And so I did, jumping into the deep end with only the 'twitterverse' as my support. It has been an enlightening experience, it has added an energy boost back into my teaching, and it has improved the excitement of my classroom. So, at this time of year, one full of resolutions, reflections, and aspirations, I thought it was an appropriate time to do the same, with a little 'flipclass' focus.

"I will add the flipped model of teaching to all of my courses."
This really summarizes my thoughts and opinions on the teaching methodology. I went into this year using one of my courses as the lab; experimenting with the flipped model to really see how effective it could be. Based on the results I can't, with good conscious, not at least try to do the same with my other courses. The results in my 'lab' have been too positive - improved test scores, greater critical thinking, improved application of course concepts, and a greater dynamic to the class itself. Therefore, it only makes sense to implement the model into my other courses/classes and continue the 'experiment'.

"I have made some mistakes, but all-in-all, this has been fun."
I was excited to try the 'flip', but didn't expect it to be so much fun (that dreaded F word!). I found myself enjoying both making the videos for my students, and the discussions we had in class about them. Now don't get me wrong, I still find it highly embarrassing listening to myself on the videos, but my students, seem to enjoy them. What started as a simple request "Sir, can you add a theme song?", began a trend of me continuously adding more and more creative elements to the videos. I still have a long way to go on that front, but it's been fun (there's that word again!) learning about all the different ways to make creative videos. And as for the classroom, well the amount of time now available for class discussions, connecting with my students, and really applicable activities, has made the classroom itself so much more enjoyable.

"My classroom will become an inviting, welcoming, and creative place."
The transformation of my classroom is an ongoing process, one that I don't think will ever stop. The biggest challenge has been to modify my students 'way-of-thinking' from the traditional model, to the flipped model. This has been difficult at times, and I have quickly come to realize that my students have had 11 years of 'programming' completed on them; and so of course this will be difficult to change. Altering their programs will only come as a result of significant changes to the process AND the environment. Therefore, my whole classroom environment has to change - a layout that will allow for greater discussions and collaboration (it's all about circular tables!). I plan on continuously changing the classroom, and not just my teaching, to allow for greater learning, collaboration, and most importantly creativity.

So with one semester down, and many, many more to go, the future looks interesting, exciting, and yes fun!