A Flipping Long Post.

As part of our Internet unit in Pop Culture last week, we spent a day talking about flipped classrooms.

I started with a short survey about my students’ learning styles. First up, 2nd hour:

I asked for some explanation about how technology has made their learning better. Most of the responses focused on how easier it was to find information. I also asked in the survey if they knew what a flipped classroom was. Out of 28 in my 2nd hour, only 2 knew. 
So we watched a TED talk from Salman Khan and discussed advantages and disadvantages of a flipped classroom:
Notice this class’s list of disadvantages are nearly triple their list of advantages. Also, scroll up and look at their learning styles: 2/3 prefer rather traditional ways of learning.
Now, a peek at 6th hour’s data:
And their pro/con list of a flipped classroom:
I don’t know that any of this data is particularly significant (though I found it quite interesting that my 6th hour–mostly kinesthetic learners–listed more advantages to a flipped classroom than my 2nd hour).
But in both conversations, most of the students were quite skeptical that a flipped model would be at all effective without a complete cultural shift district-wide.

I was also quite impressed with their sensitivity to families without access. And when I shared a summary of this article with them, they declared that expecting families to hang out at McDonald’s to do homework was not acceptable, either. 
So I put this out there not as any solution, but as informal data from 50 students who, for the most part, don’t think flipped classrooms are a reasonable expectation. 
I have my own fears and misconceptions about flipped classrooms–after all, I taught English for several years and if students won’t read to be prepared for discussion, I’m not convinced watching a video will be much better. 
I also think that as students experience self-directed learning at a younger age, by the time they get to the high school level, they will come to expect it. Because right now, when I give students freedom to learn as they wish, their fear is palpable.
In my 5th hour Journalism class this Friday, students will teach an element of media press law they’ve been studying for 5 weeks. Last Friday (their last classroom work day), I had to remind them that they could not be afraid of the freedom I was giving them. They were so concerned with doing the project “right,” that they forgot to just learn
So we’ll see how Friday goes, but I’m really more interested in what my classroom will look like in five short years, when the 6th graders in my district who are currently part of the iPad Academy arrive in my classroom. I have a feeling my classroom will look quite different than it does now. 

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