"It doesn't have to be an 'at home' thing. Flipped class means you change the way you use in class time."
As a primary teacher, I had been using the in-class flip model to flip my classroom. If you are not sure what the in-class flip model is, essentially, the students engage with the pre-learning in class rather than at home. This is particularly useful for classes where lots of students do not have reliable internet access, or where they are younger students.
Having been in-flipping for a few years, I felt that I was pretty comfortable with the in-flip and how to use it, however, after attending a workshop by Alfina Jackson at FlipConAus 2017 recently, as well as completing the unit on in-flipping contained within the Flipped Learning Certification Level II course, I realised that I had been dabbling with in-flip rather than using it completely effectively.
I had not utilised flipped this year as I was on a class of year one and two students and in a team-teach/co-teach context. I had not had a year one and two class before other than the occasional casual day and so I had an incredible amount of learning to do about the pedagogy needed to work with this age group, the stratgies for classroom management, and the different relational needs of the students as compared to year five and six which is the age group I had been working with.
Not only was I learning about working with this age group, I was learning about teaching in an open learning space with two classes of students (total of forty) and in a co-teach/team-teach environment, contexts that I had no experience with. I had some ideas for how I felt we could in-flip, however, felt that I still needed to wrap my head around working in this incredibly new (for me) context, and learn from my highly experienced co-teacher before I started to push for inclusion of in-flipping.
Listening to Alfina was interesting. A lot of the ideas that I had for in-flipping with this year's class were in line with what Alfina was saying and she had some good ideas about rolling it out in the class as well as keeping this nice and simple. One of the biggest things that I drew from Alfina's workshop was that the videos need to be super short and simple to access. The short aspect I was not surprised at, I prefer to try and keep my videos short anyway. However keeping them simple to acces was also important.
With older students, they will be quite okay to go to a learning management system, locate the pre-learning and engage with it, or to visit a set website to access it, both optinos requiring students to log in to the computer or device and then to the platform that contains the learning objects. This structure will not work in the kindergarten to year two context, where students are often still finding it a battle to log in to a computer and open an internet browser (my experience this year, anyway).
Alfina's suggestion was to have computers logged in and open with the videos sitting on the desktop making them nice and easy to access. Alternatively, have them loaded onto a device that requires no logging in to access.
I recently sat down and began to work through the Flipped Learning Certification Level II course which contains a unit on the in-flip presented by Carolina Buitrago & Martha Ramirez from Columbia. I was not really expecting to learn too much from this component of the course, not having really stopped to reflect on Alfina's workshop at this point, and was challenged almost immediately. I had assumed that everyone else who was in-flipping was doing things the same, that there was only one way to in-flip and I was wrong. Carolina and Martha through their work have identified several ways to in-flip and a few of them were structures that had not occurred to me.
Of the seven structures (I will let you register for the course and explore them for yourself), I had been using a mixed structure, where some students were working through the learning objects and the associated activities themselves at their own pace, while I moved between guide on the side and pulling together small groups of students to revisit concepts they were challenged by. This approach worked for me with the class that I had last year, though I can certainly see the benefits of some of the other structures.
I found some of their advice challenging, as they are areas that I know I need to work on. One of these areas is keeping instructions clear. I have spent a lot of time having to clarify instructions and processses because I was not clear on the sequence of events that needed to happen, particularly when it comes to transitioning between activities (another part of the most recent TER Podcast that I found helpful to listen to). I am guilty of giving instructions too far in advance. I.e. Giving instructions for this activitiy and the next activity as well.
That was one reason I had found having a much younger age group this year to be helpful for my own practice as it forced me to keep my instructions simple and I had improved this year with that.
Are you using in-flipping? I would love to hear how you implement it and structure your in-flip to ensure that you can be where you need to be - working with students, rather than being caught up in busy work in class.