Rethinking Instruction Using Flipped-Teaching

Everyone can relate to the experience and remember a time where they sat down in the evening to do their “homework”. You tried to find a place that was quiet and began working through the sets of problems your teacher had assigned during class earlier in the day.  The assignment probably involved repeated practice of the skill introduced during class. You might refer back to your notes that were taken during class or maybe you called a friend to compare what was covered in class to see if you were doing it correctly. The next day, assignments were handed in hoping it was done correctly, and the teacher started in on the next topic in the textbook.

What if your homework assignment needed to be done before class instead of having it assigned after class?  Some teachers are trying to utilize their time with students better and more effectively by “flipping” their teaching.  This teaching strategy isn’t completely a new idea. Some teachers have been doing this for a little while, but it has become more popular lately and has created a new buzz within the educational circles. It’s popularity and viability has also become more realistic and popular with schools that have one laptop or device for each student, so videos, content, and questions can be accessed outside of class.

One common misconception of Flipped-teaching is that the teacher just records their lectures for students to watch before class or utilize videos already created (Khan Academy for example). Even though this might better use the student’s time and provide more individualized instruction by the teacher during class, it misses the complete power of what flipping the classroom can provide.  Within this model of teaching, the roles of the teacher and students change from a traditional model.  Instead of the teacher being the source of the information, they now can organize students to work through similar questions in small groups and guide learning more individually.  This structure also lets students take more responsibility for their own learning

Teachers look at the standards that need to be taught and find the ones that are “rewind-able”.  What information can be best taught in a video or screen capture of the teacher’s computer so the student can pause, rewind, replay, and understand the content at their own pace and as many times as needed.  The instruction is always available whenever the students want to go back and revisit what was taught.  This flips whole group, basic knowledge instruction to the individual level outside of class, and provides time during class for group discussion and application of the information in activities that require higher levels of thinking. These are the times that the teacher can prompt, challenge, and have students apply their understanding in class.

It is an exciting time in education where teachers are being creative on how they can utilize their time with students to the fullest. They are also leveraging technology with their instruction and providing it to students who have access to it in a format that is available 24/7.   So, the dog at my homework doesn’t quite work anymore as a possible excuse for not getting things done for class, but actively watching a video can become a integral part of doing homework for tomorrow’s class.

In supporting teachers who are interested in learning how to start making your classroom structure flipped to meet student needs, the AEA is hosting a 2 day workshop featuring national speaker, Ramsey Musallam. During the first day, Ramsey will share how he prepares, structures, and incorporates flipped teaching/learning cycles in his teaching. The second day will provide teachers time to work with each other, network, and work with the technology tools that were introduced during the first day.  Space is limited to 40 participants, so go to My267 and use course #4893 to sign up for this unique learning opportunity.

Google+ Hangouts Best Practices

Hangouts Logo

AEA 267 staff are quickly discovering the enormous benefits of using Google+ Hangouts to communicate with each other, either for those short 30-60 minute conversations to those 2-3 hour meetings.  For those of you not familiar with “Hanging Out” yet, here’s a little run down of Google Hangouts.

Hangouts are a video conferencing tool that is part of Google+. Some features that make it an indispensable tool include:

  • With Google Hangouts you can “Hangout” with up to 9 other people and chat face-to-face.
  • You can host a virtual meeting.  Google Hangouts allow you to share screens and collaborate on Google Docs, right within the Hangout.
  • Google Hangouts can be recorded and archived for distribution to others with Hangouts on Air.

As with any tool, there are some things to keep in mind regarding best practices:

  1. Honor other’s time and be punctual to the meeting.  If you haven’t been on a Hangout before, contact a colleague or one of the Google Trainers to test the technology out ahead of time.  Our AEA 267 Website has some tutorials to help you set up your Google+ account and how to initiate or participate in a Google Hangout.  If you are the facilitator of the meeting, start the meeting on time and end on time.  
  2. Don’t make distracting noise.  Avoid typing on your keyboard and turn off or quit applications (e.g email) that may make notification sounds. Also, silence cell phones and don’t text.
  3.  If wearing jewelry, be cognizant of the sounds that your jewelry makes .   When your jewelry hits your desk, the mic or your computer, the noise can be distracting and louder than what you realize on the other end.
  4. Mute your mic and/or camera if needed.  If you do need to take a phone call or someone comes to speak to you while on the Hangout, MUTE your mic and/or your camera.  Just because you aren’t talking with the group, they can still hear and see everything that you say or do.

    Mute Mic

    Mute Mic

  5. Eliminate background noise. If you are in a location with a lot of background noise, go to a room that is quieter.
  6. Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera.  Note what your picture looks like and adjust it so that everyone can see your face.  Avoid the “Wilson Effect”.

    Wilson Effect

    Wilson Effect

  7. Feedback can be the death of a meeting. The purpose of a video conference is to connect with people at-a-distance.  If you happen to be in the same place or room with someone that is also in the same Hangout, note that your computer’s mic will pick up everything, including the sound coming from another’s computer.  This will create feedback that can be annoying to others in the group.  Some options to consider when sharing the same physical location:
  • Option 1: Use one computer with a projector and speakers.  Make sure that everyone sits close enough to the computer so that the computer’s mic can pick up everyone speaking.
  • Option 2: Each person uses their own computer, but uses headphones with a mic.  Make sure that the sound is coming through the headphones and the mic is working.  People in the room may have to spread out so that the mics don’t pick up other’s voices easily.