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Sunday, March 11, 2012

POST # 100 - I'm "Flipping" Out!

Have you ever felt like you were a broken record? That may be an expression that our kids have no idea what it means! Maybe we should say "like an iPod stuck in repeat."

That is how I felt a few months ago. I was becoming very frustrated and felt like I was constantly repeating myself over and over again. I was assigning chapters, but my students weren't really "getting it." I was showing my kids how to do the work and they couldn't connect the dots. I was explaining the same things over and over, but not really helping my kids learn anything more. We were stuck and not moving very far. 

I decided to take the idea of the "Flipped Classroom" and apply it to my situation. In the past, I have mentioned Khan Academy where students watch a lecture at home and complete the work at school. The teacher then turns into a support rather than a broken record!

I took a different approach with my one Accounting course. Each week, I record myself instructing my students how to do a problem through Screencast-o-Matic, which allows you to teach and record what is on your computer screen through a screencast. Everyday, my students come in, put on headphones, and complete the lesson at their own pace. My role then switches to that of a support / guide. I can now actually "teach" my students to use higher-level thinking skills, rather than repeat information. 

My students are performing much better on their tests and assignments, all because they are able to learn at their own pace. We are covering chapters at a faster clip than in the past, because we are able to learn more efficiently and effectively. If my students have a basic question, they can rewind the video. If they have a higher-level thinking question, then I can help them find the answer. This has really worked well with my students, who have appreciated the adjustment. I am still working as hard as I did when lecturing to the class the entire period, because there is more leg-work outside of class. I am constantly checking in with my students during class, which helps me put on a few extra hundred steps on the pedometer!  In all seriousness, I really enjoy this new approach! It has changed my teaching style, allowing me to focus on developing a better understanding of content and higher level thinking skills. 

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