Working with the Internal Flipped Classroom

In middle and high school, I remember saying how much school was while I had play stations from Kindergarten through second grade. Of course, standards changed, and students in all grades work in different types of stations. Elementary teacher, Erin Klein, has found a solution for teachers who want to use the flipped classroom even if their students lack Internet access in her article “How to Set Up Digital Workstations.”

Klein analyzes, summarizes, and describes the technology and strategies she uses in her flipped classroom workstations. Since she does not want to push students’ parents to let their children borrow technology, or some students may not have any access, Klein says she uses “internal flipping” in which students spend fifteen minutes in one workstation before rotating to the next (para. 2). Students watch a fifteen minute lesson made by Klein on educreations with her handwriting on the Whiteboard or work in small groups. According to Klein, she cannot add time to class, but she can divide time between teaching and facilitating small groups with the work stations.

With the internal flipping concept, Klein uses more than one gadget. Students listened to tape recorders that are in “perfect condition” before switching to a different station with Livescribe (para. 10, 11). This tool lets you record a lecture and write important notes. When you tap on the special paper, the Livescribe recorder will jump to that particular point. (The College of Education ITC has Livescribes if you would like to experiment.) It is a great tool for students who struggle with memory barriers. Students may not remember a teacher’s exact words, and the Livescribe helps them to remember through hearing or tapping on a note.

Klein’s article is a significant example for teachers at any level because she still incorporates flipped learning through workstations. This can be done at the middle and high school level while also using different technology, new or old. Students can watch or listen to a lecture on a recorder or iPad. In another station, the teacher facilitates group learning. In a third workstation, a group experiments with a project. Students in the last section work individually, and they can still ask the teacher questions while they work in a small group. This model keeps with the fifteen minute flipped segment and still allows for personalized help from the teacher.

I also like Klein’s model because she incorporates collaboration early in students’ education. She prepares them for a future of peer review. If more classes practice internal flipping, it might strengthen peer review because students learn how to interact with each other using a variety of technology. Klein encourages collaboration even more in her iPad section. She uses a Max HandStand for the iPad. It holds the iPad and it will turn. Students can easily see the screen at the same time without worrying about breaking it because it is secure in the Max HandStand (Klein para. 14). In this instance, students work together sharing content.

Klein’s article is worth reading because she provides a lot of examples, strategies, and content she uses with her elementary classes. Her workstations’ ideas are adaptable for middle, high school, and even college. I would use them in a hybrid or class in which students learn about how to interact with each other and technology. The most significant aspect of Klein’s article is that she provides a potential solution for teachers worried about students’ access to technology or teachers who have limited resources.

Bibliography

Klein, Erin. “How to Set Up Digital Workstations.” Scholastic. Scholastic, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 July 2014.

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Flipped Classrooms: Just a Fad?

Research Post

In my weekly research posts, I have presented different perspectives of the flipped classrooms. It is the subject of my annotated bibliography due at the end of the semester. When investigating an educational tool, questions are asked about if a model works for everyone. In previous weeks, I have presented some problems with flipped classrooms, including students with limited access and flipping for students with disabilities. Research professors, Nancy Lape, Rachel Levy, and Darryl Young; at Harvey Mudd College in California are doing the research over three years. Two articles about their research, beginning with Emily Atteberry’s “Harvey Mudd Professors’ Research suggests ‘flipped classrooms’ Might Not be worth the Hassle” and the follow-up “Can Flipped Classrooms Help Students Learn?,” cover what the professors have found since December 2013.

The professors make it clear they’re not researching flipped classrooms to learn whether they are good or bad. Lape, Levy, and Young – through their three-year $199,544 grant from the National Science Foundation – want to know if there is any advantage and academic improvements in using flipped classrooms (Atteberry para. 5). They want to know if the flipped, or inverted classrooms, are a fad or a tool that will stick around in education.

When discussing flipped classrooms, it is important to know the weaknesses – just like any tool – so you know whether it works for your classroom or find ways to improve the tool. According to Atteberry, the professors have done preliminary research finding students either “love or hated the new model” and some teachers and students thought the flipped classroom added more work (para. 11). These students feel like they have to set aside more time at home to watch videos. Teachers believe they must spend extra time creating content for videos and then come up with enough hands on, in class activities.

What is a flipped classroom?

Do flipped classrooms make a difference for students? Researchers at Harvey Mudd College say that there is not much difference in student achievement between a f2f and flipped classroom model. Photo courtesy of Kathleen McKim.

 

One significant idea teachers must consider when they create content is whether any of students have IEPs. How can a teacher differentiate instruction for students with different barriers in a flipped classroom? In another article, I mentioned creating captions in videos for students with hearing impairments. For students with short attention spans, teachers repeat important points or keywords in their videos.

However, teachers still have more work to do when it comes to putting together content for online. In a survey, Attebery wrote teachers reported “80 percent of their students have improve attitudes toward flipped classrooms and that standardized test scores were up 67 percent” (para. 18). But, teachers need to know how to work with flipped classrooms. They need to understand not only how to create content, but what to do during class time.

For example, seventh grade math teachers at Banks Trail Middle School attended a conference and learned about flipped classrooms. Their students worked together in groups on problems. The teachers became facilitators in place of lecturers.

However, Lape, Levy, and Young write in their article “Can Flipped Classrooms Help Students Learn?” that a lot of flipped classrooms’ success depends on teachers’ knowledge and how they use it. When I’m learning about flipped classrooms, I have not considered the classroom time beyond group learning. Lape, Levy, and Young found that not every course and its teacher is meant to use flipped classrooms. According to them, an instructor should teach a course that is interactive, and the professor should be a good teacher (para. 8). Courses, such as business in which students are applying knowledge to real life concepts, are beneficial for flipped classrooms. A course such as philosophy is more difficult when it comes to finding hands on activities for class time.

To some extent, Lape, Levy, and Young are right. Some courses present a challenge because teachers find difficulty in creating enough hands on activities. At the same time, I think, as a Language Arts teacher, there are plenty of ways to make the flipped classroom and class time interactive. One weakness I found in the study is that the professors are specifically looking at traditional courses such as Science and Math. They are less focused on arts and English courses. A lot depends on a teacher’s training with flipped classrooms, but I also believe one solution is to form a team of teachers and learn about flipped classrooms together before implementing them.

Bibliography

Atteberry, Emily. “Harvey Mudd Professors’ Research Suggests ‘flipped’ Classes Might  Not Be worth the Hassle.” USA Today. Gannett, 05 Dec. 2013. Web. 20 July 2014.


          Lape, Nancy, Rachel Levy, and Darryl Young. “Can Flipped Classrooms Help Students               
Learn?” Slate. Arizona State University, 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 July 2014.

Great Article Detailing What You Need to Know about Flipped Classrooms

Some students in WRIT 510 at Winthrop are researching Flipped Classrooms. We research the topic out of interest, for future use, or for the annotated bibliography. Whether an article is published in 2014 or in 2012, new tools, perspectives, and information continually become available for all teachers and professors. Educause Learning Institute’s “7 Things You Should Know About … Flipped Classrooms” presents in seven steps how flipped classrooms grow, succeed, the free tools to use, and students’ positive and negative perspectives.

Educause opens its 2012 article with an excellent example. The student, Kyle, attends a class learning about food gardens. He watches flipped classroom lectures with quizzes from which he receives immediate feedback (Educause 1). In class, he collaborates with a team of students to “repurpose an area the size of an urban backyard into a visually appealing garden that is also a functional food source” (1). While the students cannot always meet to discuss problems that could occur in fruits, they use Google Docs to collaborate (Educause 1). On one hand, Kyle and his group display what Scott Warnock discusses in chapter 13 of Teaching Writing Online about collaboration online. While the group works together during f2f time, they also work together through discussion with an online tool.

Educause explains how flipped classrooms work at the university level. Professors embrace flipped classroom because their class time focuses on hands on learning and students’ questions and discussions (Educause 1-2). For example, a Penn State professor uses flipped classroom lectures for up to 1,300 students and class time for discussion. If there is hands on learning, the professor receives help from student assistants (2). Although he teaches large classes, the Penn State professor attempts to make his class feel smaller by allowing class time for discussion and activities. He recognizes students learn by doing.

Free Tool from a Harvard Professor? What!

While the article features many great components, the primary reason I chose the article is to share this tool. According to Educause, a physics professor has created a site called Learning Catalytics granting teachers “free interactive software enabling students to discuss, apply, and get feedback from what they hear in lecture” (2). While exploring the website, you can take a tour. On the site’s pricing page, you will see an instructor’s account is free.

If, like me, you’re wondering how to incorporate quizzes into a flipped classroom lesson making it more interactive, also check out Quizlet. Many professors and teachers use this as a way to give students instant feedback. Both Quizlet and Learning Catalytics provide options for professors in learning to make flipped classrooms participatory for students.

What Students Say …


 

According to Educause, some students like flipped classrooms because they participate more in f2f class. Students may also watch parts of the lecture again, and have time to “reflect” on what the professor is saying (Educause 2). Educause also presents a point that I had not considered. ESL students benefit from flipped classroom lectures because they can listen to the lecture more than once. Educause also states that a flipped classroom lesson is more beneficial when it includes captions “for those with hearing impairments” (2). While I wrote last week about how flipped classrooms could benefit students with disabilities, there are so many aspects about which we do not consider. What about students with hearing impairments? Just as a classroom teacher is responsible for differentiating instruction in f2f classes, he or she needs to do the same in a hybrid or flipped classroom.

At the university level, students sometimes perceive flipped classrooms as negative. According to Educause, some students wonder what they’re paying for if their professors’ lectures are available to everyone on the web (2). I think one way to counter this argument is to remember many universities have CMS on which professors upload their flipped classrooms. That way students do not feel cheapened by professors sharing their flipped classrooms with everyone on the Internet.

Bibliography

Educause Learning Institute. “7 Things You Should Know About … Flipped Classrooms.” Educause. 2012. Web. 13 July 2014.

New Flipped Tools for Students with Disabilities and Limited Access to Technology

“Tools we would have historically called ‘assistive technology’ are now available on iTunes.” ~ Patricia Wright

When considering flipped classrooms, there are a few functions or items not clarified.  How can flipped classrooms offer differentiated instruction for students with disabilities such as a speech impairment? What can flipped classroom teachers do with students who lack technological resources at home? Whether considering students with disabilities or students with limited or not access to technology at home, Bridget McCrea shows great apps on the iPad and how a teacher uses flipped classroom instruction for students with limited access to technology in her article “Flipping the Classroom for Students with Special Needs”.

  • Students with Speech Impairments

    In what ways can students with a speech impairment, some of whom are unable to speak, respond to a teacher’s flipped classroom lesson? These students may take an online course or hybrid course. In the Cornwall-Lebanon School District, students with speech impairments use a DynaVox at school, but not when collaborating listening or responding to a teacher’s flipped classroom lesson.


Courtesy of Turning Point Technology. DynaVox has been an assistive technology tool used by some schools for students with speech disorders. One is available in Withers’ ITC.

Unlike DynaVox, which students do not take home, Proloquo2 is an app on the iPad, which allows students to respond to teachers and classmates in an online environment. McCrea writes if a flipped classroom has an interactive part, the student can respond using his or her iPad. The lesson and the app work on the same device.

This is another form of writing. Since the student’s vocal communication is limited, he or she can textually express him or herself using Proloquo2 or a similar app. The app works better than the DynaVox I’ve seen in the ITC because it will change verb tense according to a noun or sentence. Students have more control over what they want to say.

The downside

While not as expensive as a DynaVox, the Proloquo2 is not your average 99 cents app. According to McCrea, the app costs $219.99 (para. 2). Cost is always something online and f2f teachers must consider before jumping on board.

The other disadvantage of an app like Proloquo2 is that not every student has an iPad assigned to him or her by the school district. Not every student has Internet access at home, which limits the involvement of a student with speech impairment.

  • Solutions for Students with Limited or No Access

One of the most significant reasons for reading McCrea’s article is because she helps teachers considering flipped classrooms to think about non-traditional students. Non-traditional student incorporates kids with disabilities, exceptional, or from low economic backgrounds. How can flipped classroom lessons benefit all students? She uses the example of National Teacher’s Academy. According to McCrea, 90 percent of the school’s students are “eligible for free or reduced lunch – and as such, [do not] always have access to technology outside of school …” (para. 7). Teacher, Melissa Hausser, uses flipped classroom lessons, but she adapts them for her students.

In order to facilitate students’ working, she uses a center method. Since there are not iPads for every student, a larger group of students watch a lesson in class on the iPad while Hausser works with a group of five (McCrea para. 8). I had not thought of ways of using flipped classroom lessons in class, but Hausser’s example provides a hybrid example which may work for students with limited access to computers at home. I think using flipped lessons in class may also help students with disabilities because the teacher will work with them in a small group. By using a center method, the flipped lesson in class may also help students feel like they’re receiving one-on-one attention. That is reinforced when students move into a small group to work with the teacher. The students receive one-on-one attention from the teacher in an online forum, and then during small group instruction. This may help students feel more comfortable with the teacher’s role in technology.

  • Assistive Technology to Apps: Closing Thoughts

Assistive technology has been used in the classroom for everything from remedial reading to DynaVox. While helpful, assistive technology is also expensive. For example, McCrea writes that a DynaVox costs $6,000 (para. 2). Gasp, what? While low tech assistive technology is inexpensive, other items like DynaVox will leave moths in a school’s purse. As McCrea also discusses, other assistive technology migrates to apps and online program.

For example, my bosses  wanted my student to use a math computer program from a ten year old CD. None of the newer laptops would accept this CD. Educational programs, like the program provided on the CD, are now apps or they are provided through online sites like IXL.

What educators, like Hausser, will find out involves including flipped classroom lessons for students without technology at home.

Bibliography

McCrea, Bridget. “Flipping the Classroom for Special Needs Students.” The Journal. The Journal, 30 June 2014. Web. 07 July 2014.

High School Teacher Confesses Fears, Finds Solutions


Research Post, Week 4

High school teacher, Stephanie Imig, who teaches at Connections Academy in Oregon, writes an insightful, introspective essay about doubts and successes of teaching writing online. “Innovative Writing Instruction: Writing Rewired: Teaching Writing in an Online Setting” by Imig and Valerie Kolich feeling alone online. (You access the article by clicking on the last hyperlink. Sign in with your last name and Winthrop id number. Once you’re signed in, you will see the article.)

I chose “Innovative Writing Instruction” for this week’s research post because Imig admits fears teachers have when they are new to online teaching. I enjoyed discovering how Imig uses differentiated instruction solutions in her online classroom. As an English teacher, Imig admits she was –and remains uncertain – of the online environment. It is not a replacement for “brick-and-mortar classrooms” (Imig and Kinloch 81). She uses synchronous and asynchronous instruction making students more comfortable in the online classroom through exploring and understanding process of writing.

According to Imig and Kinloch, a weakness in the curriculum Imig taught in 2010 is that students were expected to read guides and click on links that led students through the writing process (81). Students felt lost, and they were satisfied with a C (Imig and Kinloch 81). After reading Scott Warnock’s suggestions in Teaching Writing Online about online class organization, the teacher should be involved as an active facilitator, and have links organized in a way students can find them. However, Imig discovers differentiated ways to teach students.

  • Constructive Comments. After Imig’s students had experienced frustration at the beginning of the curriculum – wandering through links and guides – Imig’s commentary on their posts provides student guidance with which students do not feel aimless. More importantly, Imig suggests that it is important to write commentary with the next writing assignment planned (81). This allows the teacher and the student to plan for the future.

I wanted them to consider my comments and engage in reflective inquiry, but this was as successful as assuming more testing would raise student achievement” (Imig and Kinlock 81).

To demonstrate a plan for writing in the future, the student learns the teacher is not thinking from week to week. The teacher considers the student’s future in the course, which may help the student feel important.

  • Workshop. Imig uses whiteboard technology to model for students how to write introductions, proper use of quotes, and writing conclusions. This method is done synchronously while students watching the teacher in real-time. Imig provides students the chance to write, and she gives immediate feedback (82). The workshop on the whiteboard provides another solution to students feeling alone in the online environment. According to Imig and Kinloch, students participate in a communal environment (82). The teaching tool brings a valuable f2f to the online environment by encouraging student participation.

  • ORCA. Scott Warnock writes a lot about asynchronous teaching, such as message boards in Chapter 8 of Teaching Writing Online, but Imig presents an example of a virtual classroom tool. What is the importance of an online virtual classroom? It offers students the chance to participate as they would in an f2f environment, and two, to think about their questions in real-time or consider questions they might ask later.

    Oregon Connections Academy provides teachers ORCA,
    the virtual classroom. If students miss being in a classroom with their classmates, I think the virtual classroom provides live-time opportunities to participate and share. Through this method, students also practice writing on the spot, and provide comments about each other’s writing.

  • Chat Room. The chat room should not be underestimated, according to Imig. It is another communal opportunity for students to interact with the teacher and classmates. Imig makes an important point. She allows students the first few moments to converse casually in the chat room before switching to semi-formal writing (Imig and Kinloch 83). While Imig does not mention it, all students’ interactions are written. They practice casual writing and then switch to semi-formal text, which allows them to recognize the difference what qualifies as writing conversation versus classroom writing.

Imig and Kinloch’s article is a valuable to read because Imig confesses fears of teaching writing online, but she offers a variety of instruction solutions. Differentiated teaching provides students the opportunity to practice their writing in different ways. They participate in chat rooms, virtual classrooms, posts and prompts. Can we, as teachers, use any of these tools? Do any of us have a current CMS with virtual classroom opportunities, or would we need another option? These are questions Imig also asks in the article.

Bibliography

Imig, Stephanie, and Kinloch, Valerie. “Innovative Writing Instruction:

             Writing Rewired: Teaching Writing in an Online Setting.” The

English Journal 99.3 (2010): 81-83. JSTOR. Web. 27 June 2014.

Behind the Whiteboards: Online Teacher Experience (Week 3)

I had to know.

You know?

I really had to know what K-12 online teachers’ experiences were after reading Scott Warnock’s chapters 5 and 6. After reading about organizing material for college distance learners, I needed to know what online teachers had to say about their experiences in K-12 virtual schools. Two articles shed light on the K-12 online teaching experience. Both articles stress that online is not easier, but requires more involvement in writing and communication through emails, discussion boards, whiteboards, and gradebooks.

Virtual Schoolteacher by Karen Faucett in
Educationnext

The narrative article – written by Florida seventh and eighth grade virtual teacher, Karen Faucett – shows even in a math class, students and teachers have to do writing. Faucett mentions she takes time in the morning to write in her gradebook (para. 3). The gradebook writing produces instant communication for parents and students about their progress in the class. Faucett states that she thinks about writing positive feedback first, and then productive feedback (para. 3).

The online gradebook is an essential tool for online K-12 learning, and not one I had thought about until reading Faucett’s article. The gradebook is another tool the teachers use to communicate students’ progress. The gradebook may show a student’s written progress over time. Academically, it provides a record for the student, and the comments are tailored for what the students have accomplished.

Since the article was written in 2011, a few parts of online learning have changed, including the program Elluminate. During the same year, Elluminate changed names when Blackboard bought it. Other audiovisual and whiteboard combination tools are also provided by a virtual school’s CMS or through apps like Google’s Movenote.

Fauccet discusses how she uses the whiteboard tool to show students the steps in a problem using what was Elluminate (para. 6). How is it important for an English and writing teacher? A program combining audiovisual and a whiteboard can help students with grammar lessons. If a student struggles, then the teacher can model it for him or her, and the student can respond verbally or through writing.

What DOES an online teacher do? By Rob Darrow

I wanted to include perspectives from two different articles because I disliked the fact that Fauccet said that she communicates with some students weekly and others monthly (para. 6). To me as a teacher, that is not enough communication with a K-12 student. Some students may work great independently, but I think that weekly communication is essential to keep up the (professional) personalization between teacher and student.

Rob Darrow’s blog “What DOES an online teacher do?” focuses on 2011 Online Teacher of the Year, Kristin Kipp. She is a high school English teacher, and she uses synchronous sessions with her students (Darrow para. 2). Kipp writes about her experiences, but what is fascinating is how she presents the perspective of her students. To me, her way of using audiovisual and whiteboards more often make online learning more personal for the students.


Courtesy of Pearson Foundation and Rob Darrow

Kipp mentions that discussion boards allow students more than 45 minutes to respond to a question. Students who are shy may take the time to respond. According to the video above, Kipp says students can think more deeply about what they want to say. This is important because I have been in a classroom where the same six students will answer a question, and other students, who are always quiet, remain quiet. What if those same students are given a chance to thoughtfully respond in an online environment?

For example, a high school student who has Asperger’s Syndrome sees the answers in his head. He may communicate the answers very fast, and spin off on what interests him about the subject. If he is in an online environment, such as responding to a discussion board, he has the chance to think about the question, and answer what it asks through a thoughtfully written response.

In the video, Kipp says that the online structure allows her to differentiate instruction because students are working at different levels in the course. There is not an expectation for all students to read or write the same assignment at the same time.

What I like most about Kipp’s video is how she maintains an online presence through her written responses in email and gradebooks, and also through her video teaching.

 

By Becca Bridges

Bibliography

Darrow, Rob. “What DOES an Online Teacher Do?” California Dreamin’ Blog (2012): WordPress. Web. 23 June 2014.

Fauccet, Karen. Educationnext 11.3 (2011): Educationnext. Web. 22 June 2014.

Can Twitter Expand as a Classroom Tool? (Week 2)

 

You have 140 characters. Think about what you want to say.

Take your time. You’re in front of a camera and about to “go live,” but when those 140 characters are tweeted, you go live in a different way.

In the introductory chapter in Teaching Writing Online, author, Scott Warnock, quotes a Pew report’s finding that many students do not consider their “emails, instant and text messages as writing.” I have read this before, and think that it extends to Facebook, Twitter, and other online environments. How can teachers use Twitter in the classroom? How can teachers show students that the use of Twitter can be used as a writing tool?

U.S. News reports ways in which classrooms use Twitter in “5 Unique Uses of Twitter in the Classroom.” While the research focuses mostly on the collegiate level, the five uses maybe used in secondary and middle school classrooms, also. The study says that the use of one Tweet helps students write concisely. With only 140 characters, students learn how to get to the point.

Using Tweets to make a concise point might work well when a class is reading a book together. Students can discuss the book on Twitter using a hashtag, getting to the point of a chapter, or raising a question. If the student raises a question, it may cause other students to think of a short, to-the-point answer.

While the article conveys some professors’ uncertainty about using Twitter as a tool for class participation, it does not mean that the use of Twitter cannot grow in the classroom. For instance, one professor in the article stated that he only uses Twitter to report last minute changes to the schedule. Instead of being limited to 140 characters, teachers and students can expand by making their message shorter?

What?

Yes, shorter. By making a Tweet, or microblog, shorter, more people can participate in the discussion. It engages a live discussion while at the same time students are thinking about what they want to say and the point of a chapter or poem. Another article by Samantha Miller (50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom) mentions that teachers can track a discussion with a hashtag.

The U.S. News and Miller’s article both mention the importance of role play for students. U.S. News mentions role play in two different ways. One is to create a brand, which helps students practice by creating a Twitter page for a career in which they’re interested.

Another way includes students personifying characters from books on Twitter. According to U.S. News, students not only imitate a character from a book, but they show their “knowledge of the book’s writing style in their tweets.” For example, the article states that students use the writing style found in Twilight when they write their Tweets.

In place of a traditional round circle discussion, students can get into a character, and for the first time, show their knowledge of the writing style. I believe that is significant because when students sit in a circle, they may talk about the writing style. They do not necessarily put their minds into the style of writing. In the Twilight example, students get into characters’ minds more by displaying understanding of how the book is written.

 

By Becca Bridges