Why I am Flipping My Classroom

I have decided to flip my Technology for Teachers TEDU 480 course this next semester. Why? Is it just to follow the trend, to say I am flipping my class, or to try something new? Honestly, it is none of them. I truly made this decision out of a need to improve the course.

Last semester was my first time teaching the course. The students that take this course are candidates in the teacher education program. I made the assumption (yes, wrong to do!) that my students understood technology well. My first assignment was to create a video blog introducing themselves to the others in the course. I really thought this would be a simple task…but for many it wasn’t. (Rule #1- know your students.) Our course met once a week, in the evening, for almost 2 hours. During this time, I lectured. A couple of weeks into the course, I decided this wasn’t working. Who wants to listen to their teacher talk for hours? I knew I wouldn’t if I were a student. I knew I needed to engage the students more so I incorporated many hands-on learning activities. But it was difficult to complete all I needed to say and still give time to work collaboratively on projects. I needed more time to work with them 1:1 to help them through the technology difficulties. I wanted to move from presenting information to them  to exploring and learning together.

I am excited to start this new semester with a flipped classroom. I am positive that it will help my students by creating a more interactive environment. I am in the process of recording my lectures using my ShowMe app.

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I chose ShowMe because I am familiar with it, it is easy to use, and uploads easily to YouTube. Next, I wanted to find a way to analyze the viewing of the videos by my students. Will they watch the full video? How will they interact with the video? In my last post, I wrote about Zaption, which I still feel is a great option. Although I truly enjoy Zaption, there is a fee – and I want an option that is free. A reader of my blog (thanks aacurran!) posted a comment to try EduCanon, which is similar and free.

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EduCanon does require my students to sign up (for free) in order to view the videos, but I think it is a great option. Students watch the videos, and then I  inserted questions throughout the video that pertain to their understanding of the content. They cannot skip through the video without answering the questions. I can track student progress and proficiency to identify challenging concepts. I will be able to use this information  in my flipped setting to inform my next lesson. I believe students will enjoy it. By focusing on essential content, I have kept the videos to about 10 minutes.

The thing that excites me the most is how much class time this will allow me to have. I will be able to use the extra class time for hands-on learning. We will be able to explore deeper into some technology tools that we were not able to explore last semester. Their frustration level will decrease because I will be there to help them in class.

Finally, I wanted my followers to know about ThingLink’s free educational upgrade available only 2 more days! ALL SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES that invite their teachers to join ThingLink before the end of December will get free access to ThingLink Premium features for the year of 2014 (a value of $250 per teacher account).

All new teacher accounts created before the end of December will get 1-year of free access to ThingLink Premium features including:

• Custom icons
• Image slide show (coming soon)
• Groups for classrooms
• Image analytics
…and more!

Sign up – email #premium to education@thinglink.com or use THIS LINK to sign up. Click the picture below to see some of the educational uses.

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