Colorado teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams were some of the first educators I learned about who are leveraging the power of podcasting, screencasting, and video sharing to “flip” the traditional model of lecture in class and homework at home which predominates in many schools today. In his article “Think Tank: Flip-thinking – the new buzz word sweeping the US” last month for the UK Telegraph, Dan Pink coined the term “the Fisch Flip” for this model: “Lectures at night, homework during the day,” detailing Colorado educator Karl Fisch‘s use of this model. Karl received a spike in blog traffic last month as a result of this mainstream press coverage. These are all superb developments, because EVERY educator as well as student should understand the power of “the Fisch Flip.”
Today I had the opportunity to spend time visiting with teachers and students at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, Michigan. One highlight of my day was the following five minutes of sharing by Holland Christian Schools’ chemistry teacher Dale Eizenga. Dale explained how access to a variety of technology resources has enabled him to flip the traditional in-class lecture and at-home assignment model of learning. Using software and websites, Dale records many lessons for students and makes those screencast videos available online and via the school’s podcast channel.
Several things are notable here. First, Dale didn’t read about Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, or Karl Fisch, online or in print. He stumbled upon this instructional model when his school provided all teachers and students with a robust digital learning environment. That not only includes access to laptops (for everyone in grades 6-12) but also an online learning management system (Moodle,) robust digital curriculum resources, school-supported options for sharing videos online, AND certified educators supporting technology integration. There are a lot of ingredients to this situation, and that’s critical to understand.
Secondly, Dale addresses in the video how some students struggle with this SHIFT to a “lecture at home on video” model. Dale still shares some lectures in class with students. He mixes it up. Dale explains this model forces students to “own their learning” in ways they may not have needed to in a traditional lecture-in-class setting. Dale relates this as “more of a college model,” where students are responsible for THEIR OWN learning. Dale explains his instructional role as one where he surrounds students with learning resources, and then assists students as they access / utilize those resources. When students aren’t “getting it,” he’s able to talk with them to find out if they’ve watched the podcast video which applies to the current topic or skill, and find out what students need specifically to master new content.
Dale primarily uses Skitch and Screencast-O-Matic to create online resources for his students. Instead of uploading screencasts to Moodle, which has file size limits on the server, he is utilizing Podcast Producer (an Apple server product) to upload videos into a podcast channel to which students can “subscribe” using iTunes on their laptops. This has made the screencasts much easier for students to find, download and use as needed.
One thing Dale mentioned after I stopped recording this video was that he’s found students benefit not just from seeing HIM work through sample problems, but also from seeing their peers work through sample problems– especially when they get “stuck,” and he’s there to help them work through to an answer. Those sticking points are often common for students, and it can be great to see how students work through those issues– and that helps others do the same thing. Darren Kuropatwa‘s use of scribe blog posts, explained in detail on the three part podcast series shared by November Learning, came to mind as Dale was discussing how technology can help fill these “gaps” in student understanding.
Have teachers in your school tried the Fisch Flip? The Bergmann / Sams Flip? The Eizenga Flip? It’s less important teachers know the “name” of this model: It’s more important we all understand how it is POSSIBLE and how it can be transformative for student learning. Is it easier or harder to teach when you flip traditional lecture and homework routines? I’m betting it’s harder initially in terms of preparation and work. In the long run, however, it sounds like many educators are finding it more effective and more rewarding. This is an important model to not only understand but also TRY personally. Kahn Academy founder Salman Kahn is demonstrating this vividly with over 1800 free videos now available on his site. While Salman is not a classroom teacher, Jonathan, Aaron, Karl and Dale ARE. The critical question is not, “Is this easier for me as a teacher,” but rather “Can this be more effective for student learning?” That answer appears to be a resounding YES.
Share the “lecture homework flip model” with other teachers you know, and challenge yourself as well as them to give it a try. Join and encourage other educators to join the Teacher Vodcasting Network. Don’t have a 1:1 laptop setting for your students or robust, “just in time” technology support to assist you? Have your administrator give me a call. I’ll be glad to come over and give your school board members a pep talk about why empowering educators to facilitate student learning with these kinds of blended models is essential in the classrooms of the 21st century.
See the following for more on this topic:
- My January 2006 post, “The Synchronous Non-interactive Fallacy,” addressed this challenge as well as opportunity of making classtime much more interactive thanks to video sharing options and other blended learning technologies.
- My January 2009 post, “Making homework into classwork with mastery learning” includes a video and more information specific to this model as Jonathan and Aaron are sharing it.
- My September 2009 post, “Interactive technology access does not guarantee good teaching and learning” shares why SMU Dean Jose Bowen encourages faculty to “teach naked.” (make in-class learning more interactive, and end power-pointlessness)
Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."
On this day..
- Introducing Your Next Educational Conference Speaker! - 2011
- Facial Recognition in Software Programs and Online - 2010
- Is the E-Rate Program in the United States broken? - 2009
- Saturday morning in a 1 to 1 household - 2008
- Chris Lehmann on School Change at Ignite Philly - 2008
- More thinking about mobile, field recording for podcasts - 2007
- They're not digital natives or immigrants - 2006
- Amazing Web 2.0 tools - 2005
- InterWrite SchoolPad - 2005
- OS 10.4 autologin for wireless - 2005