Flipping History – an experiment…

And then I read this http://ablogaboutraisingachievement.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/flipped-classrooms-brains-and-black.html

Yes – this is EXACTLY it. I do the factual stuff in class, trying to make every lesson interesting and engaging. We always run out of time to really get into the discussion at the end. Black holes.

Then, they go home and write an exam question based on the topic. That they might still have questions on. And have difficulty with the skills too. Creating a new black hole. Which we don’t have time to fill because we’re pushing through the content.

Suddenly, this seems like the maddest set-up in the world.

So now it all comes together in my head – my black hole has just filled in. Flipping is now not just an interesting idea. It is an opportunity – for better learning, for more confident, more successful learners. For my learners.

What’s their internet access like? A key problem in my earlier thinking about the practicalities of flipping. Suddenly, not so important. The ‘workbook’ will be the main focus of homework with the vids as backup. I could even copy the vids to a disc if needed. They can come in to class ready to dicuss rather than rushing to do it on the way out.

What if they don’t do the prep? They get detention – same old, same old. And frankly, the few in that position will be the few who needed detention for other homeworks anyway so nothing lost there. Looking a bit of a numpty in class discussion might get them to up their game a bit, perhaps?

‘Miss, I find revision really hard.’

Cue usual discussion on revision methods.

‘Miss, I learn best when I listen to you’.

Not the first time I’ve heard that – often, a simple talk through with a kid sorts out a real tangle in their learning.

So what if I record what I tell them in class? They could then watch it back any time they want. Teacher on tap…

And if they need less of this factual scaffolding in class, how much more time would that make for other activities?

Two classes of Y11s this year – hard-working, smart kids. Books and notes are excellent. But when it comes time to revise, they all want the textbook or a revision book. I’d always worked on the principle that they make the notes then revise from their notes but year upon year it is quite clear that they feel more confident with that external, published ‘text’ to lean on.

I could fight it, of course, but for my kids confidence is a big part of story. In that light, withholding the textbook is not a little unhelpful. But so is letting them take a textbook which they will then drown in trying to ‘learn’.

The answer seems to be to stop making ‘revision’ books and start making workbooks – a ‘text’ that they work from and can keep to revise from. It needs to be straight-forward and factual. But that would make it rather dull to use in class.

So why use it in class?

What if I flip – they could do the factual stuff at home, the ‘fun’ higher level thinking in class…

The flipped classroom. Due to the wonders of twitter, something I’ve been aware of for a while but not something I thought would work for my subject, or my kids.

However, over the last few months my thinking has shifted to the point where I think this is experiment is not only useful, it’s necessary.

So this blog will be my record of the experiment – what started it all, what I found out, what the kids think, how it works out in year one. Seemed an appropriate medium for something that started with the net.

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