A big thank you to our school librarian, Emma Phillips, who sent me this link on flipped classes and got me thinking of video and the power of images.
In preparation for a presentation I am making on flipping the Australian Language and Literacy Levels I have been reflecting on how I felt about the flipped videos I made for my ESL Stage 2 class and in what ways were they successful. I wondered if they were helping students build an understanding of how language works and thus giving students control over their writing? Was video, giving instructional content as homework, better than a traditional lecture in the class?
Ok. So I started a list.
Positive for students using Grammar videos
- Good to start lesson with discussion of the video and questions students had about the video.
- Instantly helped to develop a shared meta-language to discuss how language works.
- Videos allowed for differentiation. Students did not feel ‘imposed’ upon to listen to a lecture on an aspect of language that they may already be aware of. At Stage 2, especially while working on their Investigative Report, some students do not want the formative work to take away their precious class time where they can have individual tuition with me.
- A good way to make formative work relevant to the summative task.
- Facilitated learning at student’s own pace. Gave them control over how they used the videos.
- Videos became a resource that could be looked at again whenever the students wanted to (on Canvas). This is especially useful for international students.
- In class I could work with individual students to help them apply video content to their summative task. For example, apply nominalisation.
- Students who had not watched the video could watch it in class to catch up.
- Gave me a level of control: at times it felt like I had two teachers in the room. I knew what they were listening to and watching while I was tutoring another student.
- From student feedback I discovered that some students watched the videos several times and paused it to take notes. The statistics on Canvas showed me who was watching the videos and the discussion gave me feedback.
Positive findings on making my own videos
- Helped me make my teaching more explicit, concise and to the point.
- 3-4 minutes maximum length followed up with online discussion forums on our LMS, Canvas.
- I structured content by videoing a ppt and used arrows, callouts and reveals to focus on main points.
- I uploaded the ppt with the video and extra notes such as word lists and links to websites.
- At Stage 2, students need to do formative and summative work at home especially over the holidays and they can access these learning materials at any time online, even from China.
- I used a functional grammar approach based on Beverly Derewianka’s book, A New Grammar Companion for Teachers and this clarified my understanding of how to teach grammar using a functional approach.
- There was more time in class for individual and group tuition.
- The videos gave me time to build relationships with students to understand their level of language ability and their interests.
- I covered more material in 3 minutes rather than 15 of a real time lecture. Better use of time and gave me more time to foster student relationships and for students to be creative.
- I made teaching videos that can be fine tuned later.
Negative Aspects of Flipping Content
- I don’t totally believe in homework, especially for middle school when they have so much sporting and social events after school.
- Students did not do the homework regularly and so therefore could not contribute to the discussions. But it made them aware of what they had missed out on and that they could still catch up.
- It could be time consuming to keep track of students and their homework.
The big question for me is. Am I flipping the classroom or using videos as visual instruction? A hybrid flipped class. Is it the videos, as visual and audio “chunks” of learning that I find most successful? Yes, why not use the videos in class and for ‘homework’ as well?
Is it visual story telling that offers the benefits more than flipping?
What are the possibilities of flipping and video: Some ideas:
So in the end, why should we care so much about the flipped classroom model? The primary reason is because it is forcing teachers to reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they’ve always done things, and it is motivating them to bring technology into their classrooms through the use of video and virtual classrooms like Edmodo and similar tools. As long as learning remains the focus, and as long as educators are constantly reflecting and asking themselves if what they are doing is truly something different or just a different way of doing the same things they’ve always done, there is hope that some of Dewey’s philosophies will again permeate our schools. We just need to remember that flipping is only the beginning.
One of the most important concepts in teaching is creating opportunities to make thinking visible. When teachers can really see the thinking of their students, they can provide these students with the support and encouragement they need to be successful. We believe that by using the thoughtful approach to the Flipped Learning method described at the beginning of this article, teachers have an amazing opportunity to gain insights into where students are struggling.
- Students prepare for class by watching video, listening to podcasts, reading articles, or contemplating questions that access their prior knowledge.
- After accessing this content, students are asked to reflect upon what they have learned and organize questions and areas of confusion.
- Students then log in to a Facebook-like social tool, where they post their questions.
- The instructor sorts through these questions prior to class, organizes them, and develops class material and scenarios that address the various areas of confusion. The instructor does not prepare to teach material that the class already understands.
In class, the instructor uses a Socratic method of teaching, where questions and problems are posed and students work together to answer the questions or solve the problems. The role of the instructor is to listen to conversations and engage with individuals and groups as needed.
Thanks to our librarian, Emma, who helped me reflect and think of new possibilities using video and to George Couros for this quote.
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” William Pollard