#FlippedClassroom Flop

Yesterday I had my announced teacher observation for my overall performance evaluation and….well, let’s just say the hour could have gone a lot better.

Second graders were beginning the process of creating their first iMovies, ones that will involve the reporting of animal facts in a voice-over with stunning images from Arkive.org. I had taught this lesson twice in the last week and it had been a great experience. I figured it would be a home run for the evaluation. I however, fell victim to a trap I was consciously avoiding…trying to put on a good show instead of just good teaching.

In retrospect, I was really just trying to do too much. I wanted to show my ability to screencast or “DVR my teaching” so I prerecorded the steps kids would need to follow in order to make the movie. We would focus mainly on Day 1’s task of collecting three images and organizing them in iPhoto. I have the video posted at MrLosik.Blogspot.com and now as they work on the project, they can review the steps instead of me repeating myself.

Things started to unravel when I fired up the screencast as the introduction. I have done this before in other lessons and it allows me to “co-teach” with my own instructions. The problem this time was that I had no sound coming from my speakers. All the kids could hear was the laptop and it was too faint, even as I tried to explain things along with the video.

That was the “I do it” portion. Next we did a “We do it” where the kids helped me go through the process. By the time we were ready to send them to the “You do it” independent portion they were squirrelly from me keeping them on the floor for too long.

In retrospect, the screencast should have been held back until next time. It still have a lot of merit and when we revisit this activity. Showing it off to have it included in the observation clouded the educational benefit of it and caused the kids to be on the floor too long. I am also questioning when the right age is to use principles of the flipped classroom is with students. Second Grade might be a little young. That is the learning I took away from it.

As for the rest of the period, it took some work and individualized attention but all students completed their Day 1 task of collecting the images and organizing them. A number of them began to research their animal facts as well. Next time will go better I promised them and told them that their hard work will pay off in the end.

My principal was understanding and commented that he liked my ability to make adjustments. He says that he is looking forward to coming back and seeing the finished product. That is fair. I trust the projects will be amazing.

Disclaimer: No, this is not a flipped classroom in the truest sense but uses principles of the flipped classroom. It was still a flop.

Take your teaching to the DVR World

Don’t leave your learners sitting like the mailbox by the side of the road. Find ways to record teaching and learning so you and your students can pause, rewind, fast-forward, and share content.

When I was a kid if I wasn’t in front of the TV at 8:00 PM on Friday Night, I missed “Dukes of Hazard”. Today’s kids have no concept of “It’s not on.” They have Tivo, Netflix, or an app for almost any network where they can access their favorite shows on demand.

Here is some insight on ways to record your teaching, check for understanding, and let them teach.

My presentation from the Zeeland Educational Technology Academy on August 13, 2013.

Bringing Teaching and Learning into the DVR World

Camtasia 2 from Techsmith is an easy to use tool for creating screencasts.

One of the things I have come to understand this year is that our kids live in a DVR/Netflix kind of a world. What I mean by that is that the concept of “It’s not on right now” is not a part of their mindset. One of my educational technology gurus Steve Dembo from Discovery Education shared this once during a talk and it got me thinking. If I wasn’t in front of a TV at 8:00 PM on Friday night, I missed the Dukes of Hazzard. This was even before the days of watching my dad fight with the VCR to set the timer. If I didn’t see something when it aired, it was gone. This isn’t true for us now or our kids. There are a number of ways to see programs they didn’t see originally air or just want to see again.

I have begun to try and find ways I can turn my teaching more into this reality. On MrLosik.blogspot.com you will find an increasing number of screencasts I have made and will continue to make for our different lessons. We know that a child’s attention span in minutes is their age plus 2. In other words a Kindergartener has an attention span of seven minutes (5+2) and a fifth grader has an attention span of roughly thirteen minutes (11+2). By recording a screencast, students can replay, rewind, and fast forward through the lesson to review parts where they may have lost concentration or just need to see it again. I have had a number of students tell me they have used the screencasts at home and that it is helping. I also have been studying the traffic on the blog. We are at nearly 190,000 page views and the vast majority are coming not only away from school but away from Hamilton. It is great to know other kids and teachers across the country and globe are finding this a useful resource.
(I have found Camtasia 2 for the MAC to be an easy to use tool for my screencasting needs.)