Today has been interesting. In a lead up to the International Flipped Class Day, some of my colleagues and I have been working extra-hard to make virtual lessons exciting and engaging. We’ve taken the pledge and we’re sticking to it!
The group of boys who’ve unknowingly become part of my experiments with EdTech, Web 2.0 tools and flipped learning is really becoming more and more comfortable with my new methods and are participating quite enthusiastically – but I have also had moments where ( and I hate to admit it) I have not been in control. Wi-Fi connectivity issues and students without mobile devices continue to pose issues that I have not got down to dealing with as yet.
Fortunately though, the boys have taken over the ‘learning’ bit almost entirely. This afternoon I watched them offer each other really constructive feedback after a very successful voicethread assignment they’ve just completed online. The application and the manner in which they’re drawing contemporary parallels for texts written eons ago is really impressive and suddenly it seems that literature has become *that* much more interesting and relevant to them.
There are times in a lesson where I’ve felt somewhat unnecessary though, I no longer have to stop to explain a piece of prose or dwell on implied meanings that are interwoven into the short stories or poems we’re doing this year. I find myself listening to what is being said and agreeing most of the time – some of them are becoming little subject experts.
A year or two ago, this method of teaching would have made me feel completely out of my zone. Today though, I’m able to see the multiple benefits of turning learning upside down to cater to 21st century students.
I must make a confession here, while the classroom has been less stressful on my energy levels, the preparation for this flipped classroom is much more detailed and intense than the preparation I would have done for a more traditional face-to-face class. There are bound to be issues when you try something new. What matters more is finding ways to get past them. So I find myself making more cups of coffee in the evenings, increasing the sugar content and searching for resources more frantically.
In spite of it all, the outcomes continue to amaze me and unnerve me – in a good way of course. Teachers today are at the brink of monumental change in pedagogy and education and while failure is inevitable sometimes the long-term results will always outweigh everything else!
If you’re a teacher and you haven’t tried it already, turn your children’s learning upside down and try a flipped lesson once in a while. The whole world is going ga-ga by the payback it brings!