Flipped Classroom Review

We have focussed on flipped classroom techniques this year at school and have been asked to review where we are at and what we are thinking. I have decided that videoing myself teaching is not something I want to do at the moment. Videos can be spliced, cut, pasted and reformatted and I have no control over that or what happens to my content.I need to think it through some more. If it is my teaching content and material you want to see then please enrol in my class or please come and visit. I create lessons for the class I am teaching and the day I am teaching them. I have a base of resources but lessons are created specifically for the students I am currently teaching. I will not teach -ER verbs the same to each year 8 class. In year 11 La Neige (snow) is an assignment which changes to the point of transmogrification with each Stage 1 group. I realised recently I have been doing the flipped classroom since the 70s. Karen de Beauvais and I used to meet on a Sunday afternoon at her place to record German teaching tapes for our students. On Monday we’d deliver them to the SSO in the library to put in the tape copier. We had a bank of tapes available in the resource centre so students could reinforce core material in their own time or fill in their learning gaps. Karen was a native speaker of German and so it was good to work with her. In French, there are so many resources made by France and French speaking Canada which support learning and content delivery. I have made my own presentations and videos but not of a lesson. For me, the flipped classroom is about personalised learning and social justice. We made those tapes in the 70s because we were working with disadvantaged students who needed homework resources. I am curating and collating out of class resources now because I work in 2015, the walls are easily removed and we can learn whenever we want to. What I do then for French is have banks of files which will support topics and themes and specific learning content. In 2015 we are not producing sausages and doing lessons as a job lot in hallowed lock step style. We can be whoever we are learning whatever we want. I now have resources so that I can create personalised learning for students. I can teach native speakers, students with specific learning needs , students who have English as their 3rd or fourth language and whoever else comes to my class because I can give them self help, self learning tools, files , videos which suit their learning style and needs. I can customise their learning because we can start in class and finish off our own way at home or start at home and pick it all up at the different levels in class. Flipped learning makes excellent use of technology , tools and talents. More importantly, it puts learning on a continuum . It goes to the heart of the aitsl standards:

1. Know students and how they learn
2. Know the content and how to teach it
3. Create and maintain safe and supportive learning environments

A lot of my French materials and ideas are on my ah oui? blog. With the files I have then I can do mix and match easily so that students can learn outside the classroom and I have found parents have responded really well to this electronic availability of learning. I can cover students who are elite sports people, or who have various illnesses or are away on trips. It is better if they are in class but it works really well to be able to flip the class for these students and see how much parents value it. It is also the reason I get my senior students to blog. It is how they process their personalised learning and I can feed into that.

That is what I am doing for French. I did create two videos for successful English assignments. I enjoyed making them and it made me want to teach English again. This approach is a great way to use our technology resources to build and extend learning outside the classroom walls. Isn’t that what flipped learning is about? Just walking through walls?

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Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

professional standards Given a lifetime of teaching I ought to know what I am doing and what I am capable of. I am working on a Powerpoint of the professional standards because I need to ensure I have currency. As time goes by you have to ensure you are up to date and in tune with your approach. The Professional Standards we have are a way of ensuring that since , given the layout, they can be updated as needed but as they stand they are solid indicators of performance and achievement. My focus is also to ensure I can meet the standards using technology. What I plan to do is take an indicator from each of the sections to calibrate myself. I want to test that what I am assuming about myself and the standards is actually what is occurring. Assumption can get you into a lot of trouble and on the wrong track so it is important to stick to an objective way of looking at your own performance. With respect to the standards, and because I am a classroom teacher now , then I probably have to be at the Highly Accomplished level. I have been in leadership positions so I ought to be able to fit into the Lead teacher category sometimes at least. On 1.1 I think I fit between both of them. I have worked on having a flexible repertoire for using technology in a classroom so that I can differentiate the curriculum and manage content delivery for a wide range of students and their learning styles. I use what I have learnt to share with other teachers both at school and on my blogs. I have so many strategies now for using technology in a classroom I am both a good resource and a pioneer.Sharing all this knowledge means I also have the capacity to attract new knowledge in this area and become someone whom others will share their ideas with because they know I am interested and will listen. That perhaps puts me more in the Lead category for this one. Having that information before me on a slide means I can think it through better rather than just guessing and assuming. In a professional conversation I’d be looking to have my decisions discussed so I can grow further and maybe even have a different perspective on what I am doing and thinking. To me this is a dynamic process not a static one. it ought not be a snapshot but looking through the performance standard lens to see what can be improved, changed, polished, maintained…

Let them learn

deepen their learning When you have a book, you have a book. You look at it , you ingest it and you do what the book says. When you have access to technology there are so many avenues for learning which you can pursue and so many ways of looking at the same thing. When you plan a lesson or a topic this provides a great opportunity for creating differing approaches which will suit more people. You can provide print text, videos, slide presentations, applications, podcasts, animations. You can provide an in depth approach or a light hearted one. You can set it all to music if you want to. Content can be manipulated in so many ways. It means students can access content in ways which mean something to them. The building blocks of my lessons and topics are :

1. explanation
2. action
3. exploration
4. reflection

With technology you can explain the new topic or lesson in so many ways. You can use slides, videos, audio, electronic pens, websites, games,applications, images. You can appeal to so many senses and engage students in so may ways. If they don’t like the little video they might like the images or the audio or respond to tablets. They might follow as you pass from slide to slide. They can be creating their own interpretations on their laptops as you go along. I shall never forget one student who would transform my information into very artistic slide presentations as I went along. Her keyboard skills were excellent and she knew the software. So that brings us to action.

Students need to be able to digest the information and synthesise it as they are working on it. It might be making a movie, a dialogue, an interview, a podcast, some online exercises, a game, a document. Show them the tools which will meet their needs and encourage them to share tools they know. In my classes the action and exploration tend to be running concurrently. We will be looking at how to build up and extend our knowledge, how to get reliable information, how to verify information, how to find examples of what we want. I’ll show them how to use software to turn that information into a product or content sharing opportunity. I’ll help them, they’ll help each other and then we’ll look at what we need to troubleshoot or strengthen. Sometimes it goes very quiet during these times of exploration and action. They become very absorbed. Initially I always show them a way of structuring what they are learning for themselves. I then build on that.

I have found reflection is very powerful when they do it orally and when I give them a structure. Initially we do it informally on Twiducate. I’ll just get them to say what they thought of the assignment and what they have learnt. If a want a formal response I have found the best ones come from using Photo Booth on the Mac. They record their thoughts and I have a video of them. They take this very seriously. I give them a list of things they can talk about and tell them to decide what they think is important and then to add anything else. They think it out well and then prepare themselves very carefully for video feedback. This surprised me. I thought they would just go on the laptop and talk with maybe a few notes. This has never been the case. For them the video message is far more important than the paper message. It has a validity for them which we need to take into account. The depth to which they will respond is impressive and they will say exactly what it is they know and what they need to build on. They will articulate clearly how they went about an assignment and now what each step provided for them. I don’t get that in paper responses and perhaps we need to look more seriously about how we are now differentiating with the information we get on paper and that we can have on video. Cognitively, students are seemingly responding quite differently to different media. It is something I plan to explore more next year.

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