Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Flipping Improvements #flipblogs

When describing flipped learning in a nutshell, I often say that I broke school and stole nap time. Taking nearly forty five minutes of time devoted to physics lecture, refining and compressing it into a ten minute video provides in class time and create a whole new environment for learning. For me this meant higher quality interactions with my students, having time to actually do physics, attempt differentiation, and utilize some additional innovative classroom methods. The best result was students became the owners of the classroom and their learning. More of the time during class became theirs to manage within the provided expectations and guidelines.

One of my favorite labs is a circuit inquiry. Provide a box of wires, bulbs, and batteries and three challenges.
  1. Light up one light bulb
  2. Light up two light bulbs using the fewest wires
  3. Light up two light bulbs so one will stay lit when disconnecting the other
This is a wonderful activity, but it requires much more time than providing direct instructions for building simple circuit examples. Before flipping the class, it was difficult to allow the time needed to let students explore solutions to the challenges and come back together as a class and share the learning in a group setting. Now lecture time had become active learning, exploring and actually doing physics.

      Another major change that flipping brought to the class was time to implement 20% project. Every Friday students had worked on a personally selected topic or challenge. The beauty was while the topics were not required to be science related, the process of investigating, researching, and communicating results fell right into the objective for science. For the students, it gave them the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning, not for a grade, or with specific expectations imposed by the teacher. It was truly amazing to see a different side of the students. In an on-level required science, teachers do not often get to know what inspires a student or where their talents shine. With the 20% project, I saw both. I also saw students bloom and come out of what appeared to be an impenetrable shell.

Over all, flipping freed up important active learning time, allowed me time to interact with each student every class period, and help shift the class experience from compliance to learning. Students came to class expecting to do something and learn in the process. Instead of fearing physics class, more students looked forward to being in class. Now, when I teach, I flip.

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