Funny story. I flipped a lesson this week. Or at least I’m in the process of flipping a lesson. I’m not sure which. My students have the link and they need to view the video by Friday and prepare some work. In any case, there’s a video.
So how did I get here? There are a few things going on. First up, I am feeling inspired by my wife who is doing a project on the impact on the flipped classroom on HSC revision, and has just completed her first lesson. She in turn was inspired by Polly Dunning and her use of this model in class, especially after seeing some the videos she created for her HSC group.
I’m in a situation now where my students have about three more weeks left in class (accelerated Year 11 who have yearly exams in the final weeks of term) before their HSC English exams, and they need to get through a lot of content quickly (read: much quicker than they would in a normal lesson). So I decided to try my hand at this approach in order to:
- Get through a lot of content quickly;
- Give my students a bit more control over their learning (or at least when they do their learning as long as it happens before Friday);
- Have a go at something different pedagogically (first time the word pedagogy has made it to my blog, I think!).
BUT THAT’S NOT THE FUNNY BIT!
Anyway I figured the best way to go about this was to put the content into a PowerPoint presentation and talk over it. I’m not really a fan of PowerPoints, but they are a necessary evil, and I only use them sparingly. The process of putting the presentation together took about three hours, though it probably would have been quicker had I procrastinated less.
Basically what I did was look at the 2012 HSC essay question for Belonging and look at how it could be applied to Romulus, My Father. I modelled a paragraph and looked at things like thesis development, integration of quotes, etc. Aside from actually putting the presentation together (SO BORING!!!), writing the paragraph was probably the most time consuming bit.
Eventually I got to the recording stage. Now I’m not as dedicated as some, so I didn’t write any notes. I figured I was confident enough with the content and the skills I wanted to teach, so I would kinda wing my actual lecture using the presentation as a guide. So a cup of tea, a quiet room and 40 minutes later, I had recorded a pretty good lecture on Belonging. It was just like teaching. Terrible jokes, hand gestures, references to my cat. The works.
Except for one thing.
When I played my 40 minute video back, there was no sound. Because I forgot to turn the microphone on. Because the last time I did a screen capture, I didn’t want any noise.
Which means I spent 40 minutes talking, quite literally, to myself.
At this point I had a pretty serious decision to make: Throw in the towel and just use the presentation as the basis of a normal (and boring death-by-PowerPoint lesson) OR do it again.
I opted for the second one, because as much as it was really annoying, I’m not one to give up that easily. I also managed to cut about ten minutes of talking out of the lecture, and was much more aware of what was coming up and what I wanted to say.
If you’re keen, have a listen. I like the first couple of minutes before I even start on the topic, though I think it’s worth skipping to a few random points in the video. I think I did a pretty good job, and hopefully my students will agree. I suppose I should talk about this again after Friday’s class.