Some adamant advocates insist that students should watch the videos during class time. Last Monday, one of these disciples published on her blog "3 Arguments in Favor of the In-class Flip". I appreciate and accept many of Catlin Tucker's educational ideas, but I personally disagree with her apparent preference for in-class flipping: using at-school time for students to watch the video lessons, instead of learning from them as homework outside the classroom. Maybe this is the right choice for you -- if many students are economically disadvantaged, and their personal computer/cell-phone access is limited or nonexistent. In that case, of course it is unfair and unrealistic to require video-watching as homework.
However, Ms. Tucker characterizes the in-class flip as a superior model; I see this method as a circumstantial compromise. Perhaps we have different definitions of flipping:
- to simplify and standardize our delivery of the essential content and skills...
- ... and thereby give each student a strong foundation on which to build deeper comprehension
- to make homework tasks more meaningful, manageable, accessible (and hopefully less frequent)...
- ... and give more in-class assistance with the 'hard stuff' like research and reading primary sources
- to break away from the tyranny of the history textbook...
- ... and avoid the trap of in-class lecture/Powerpoint/worksheet teaching
- to improve our approach for students on IEPs and 504 plans (~30% of our classes)...
- ... and facilitate better integration with special education staff for modifications & content preview
My four Social Studies classes meet daily for 48 minutes (only 40 on Tuesdays). Every classroom minute is precious for me to assess students' understanding, to help them "with the hard stuff" as Bergmann & Sams say, to facilitate interpersonal relationships, and just to maintain routines. This is why I flip.
Another issue: I do not work at a 1:1 or BYOD school. All the in-class flippers that I know teach in a computer room, or their students have school-provided iPads or laptops. In my middle school, laptop cart access is usually possible and we are luckier than many school districts, but availability is first-come-first-served. Logistically, we cannot plan our curriculum and instruction around the in-class flip. Many of you couldn't do that either.
- She writes, "the magic is what happens in the classroom when the time created by shifting the transfer of information online is used to engage students in collaborative application and practice." Absolutely! Yes! No argument here!
- In-class flipping (or rather "supervised flipping") may be a solid strategy for September, to help students use the video lessons properly. If you can get a computer lab or laptop cart, observe your students as they watch. Are they taking notes? Do they stop/rewind? I addressed some common problems in my "How to Watch Videos" tutorial last summer, based on some occasional observations of students in the school library. You could get a headstart with (limit) in-class flipping!
- When students can pause and replay the video lesson, that power definitely helps them to absorb the information more effectively than in-person lectures or simultaneously watching on a projector screen. Again, this is why we flip.
- Ms Tucker's classroom-center rotation model is an intriguing idea, which requires fewer devices but demands more complex management. I found another article here about the same concept. Not something I have tried, but could be helpful for beginners and elementary teachers.
I am not trying to start a #flipclass civil war, but we need to acknowledge some potential flaws with the in-class flip method. I believe it should be viewed as a compromise approach, a Plan B or Plan C to work around technological inequity. Students should not come to school to look at a screen for a large part of their day. That is not what they need me to provide.
If I am missing something, please comment below!