Don’t get caught up trying to “Flip” if you haven’t extended your class outside your classroom walls. What’s flipped? You can find various definitions of what flipped means – the general idea is that students view lectures at home and come into class ready for application. There is often an emphasis on video for the lecture component. There is a lot of hype and resistance.
Teacher Beth Hertz notes in an Edutopia column, that many rural and urban teachers note the lack of access to computers and the internet. My experience is different. While our Los Angeles charter school had a computer lab, laptop cart and local libraries with internet access, the real problem was the lack of work being done outside the classroom. The challenge of assigning homework was lack of it being done. While current grading practice is not to put grade emphasis on homework, a teacher will naturally prepare a class based upon the presumption that homework is done. If students’ don’t do homework, what makes one think they will view lectures or other content from home? Won’t that put them further behind?
Application in the classroom based upon prior work isn’t new. I can assign a chapter reading on factoring, but that doesn’t mean the students will do it. An English teacher will be familiar with students not completing assigned readings before class.
Extending your classroom should be your first step. Your course materials should be available online so that students know they can get a copy of the homework, worksheet, study guide online. Add presentation materials you use. Find media that can assist students.Sal Kahn’s Kahn Academy often gets associated with Flipped Classrooms, but his site is really about differentiation. Kahn has noted that the materials on his site aren’t meant to replace instruction but to aid it. In fact, the origin of the videos are that his cousins wanted extra help without him. Kahn tutored his cousins online, but eventually they wanted the help but without him online with them. Kahn created his media so that his cousins could access them anytime – without him.
Extending a classroom online is tied to the larger issue of communication to students. What is due this week? What is due tomorrow? How can they prepare for it? What should they read, watch or listen to? If a student was out this week – can they find content online? These are the types of questions that students should be able to find at a teacher’s or school’s website. By extending your class first, you can then gauge how ready you are to require your students to access content before coming to class.