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Don’t Be Afraid of Making a Mistake. Flip Your Classroom.

§ January 16th, 2012 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography by Thomas Favre-Bulle

An article in EdWeek this month by David Ginsburg entitled Don’t Prevent Students’ Mistakes, Prepare for Them has prompted this post. The article discusses how traditional teaching methods often deny students the chance to learn from their mistakes. But what about the teachers?  Are they encouraged to make mistakes? Are they willing to take chances with their instruction? Is an unwillingness to create a video to use in a flipped classroom a bigger mistake than failing at the attempt?

In the traditional classroom model the information transfer takes place in class with assimilation of that information taking place outside the class. In an inverted model, as in a flipped classroom, the transfer takes place outside of class (often through online videos) and with assimilation in class.  If implemented correctly, the class can become a robust environment where students work on challenging problems aimed at making sense of what they’ve seen and heard outside of class. Read our earlier blog if you need to know more.

I’ve spent the last couple months talking with teachers, visiting their classrooms, and reading blogs.  I’m convinced schools should head in the direction of the inverted model and they should vigorously pursue the implementation of the flipped classroom.

A teacher I visited outside of Boston had a 6th grade flipped math classroom. It was a fascinating visit. Despite his struggles to keep his work organized – the school had not yet put into place a workable assessment tool – he was happy at how he was able to better differentiate his instruction, engage his students, give his students meaningful assignments, and have time for dynamic classroom activities. He created his videos as screencasts, and he always included himself in the videos as he intuitively knew that his presence helped engage his kids. The more outrageous and funny he could be – with costumes or jokes – the more successful his assignments. He had 1:1 iPads for his class, had found a cover with three rings in it that allowed the iPad to stay in a binder, and in addition to his screencasts, he would have the kids watch Elevated Math videos, especially if the kids had not completely understood his instruction. That was nice to see!

For those of you who are interested in raising the level of your instruction and are not afraid of making mistakes, I have found some links that can help you create your own videos that you can use for your class.

And I have found a link for those who are not interested! How You Can Avoid Being a Great Educator. Just joking!

I narrowed the links down to what I considered the best (but please suggest others):

Katie Gimbar, a math teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina, has put together a playlist of videos explaining why the flipped classroom works for her, and the State University has created, with Katie’s input and guidance,  a series of excellent videos on how to do it.  She uses whiteboards, and you can learn where to get them and all the equipment you need.

Another option is to create a screencast directly on your computer.  The best link I found is one by Jeffrey Way called How to Create a Screencast. He gives excellent advice on making screencasts using either a Mac or PC.

These options will cost a little money, but if you want to try it without spending anything, try screencast-o-matic. Initially it’s free, but if you want editing/password/recording controls, you pay only $12 annually.

I’ll end with a quote that appeared in the post that inspired this one. It’s from Thomas Edison. He wrote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Don’t worry everyone, you won’t make that many mistakes if you flip your classroom!








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