As a tech teacher, I feel that I should have a good handle on what technology innovations and social media outlets are available. Whether I choose to use them or not, is another story. As I was doing research for this week’s blog post and activity, I felt the need to dig deeply into Twitter to meet the most connected educators in the field with experience of flipping their classrooms. Using Twitter is relatively new to me. Each summer, I find

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myself following professionals in conjunction with any EDIM courses I might be taking at the time. For some reason, this summer is different. It is not just about following individuals, but connecting with them. And for some reason, I am really struggling with how to use Twitter effectively as a tool to connect with others. I find them. I follow them. Then, I search their Twitter feed thinking the topic I am searching will be the only thing they have tweeted about. This is not the case, Jon Bergmann tweets about his book, Flipped 3.0, but not about his experience. He comments about having a conversation and has to go. He comments about an “interesting topic tonight.” Maybe he is a bad example. I go back to #FlipClass. Elizabeth Foose may be a better example. I check her Twitter feed and see that she is having a conversation about using Twitter during a lesson and having problems with it at the beginning of a school year. These are just two examples today of the types of walls I run into when I have been using Twitter in apparently the wrong way to get information. If you have had success, please share. What exactly is your process for effectively using Twitter to search and make valuable connections centered around a particular topic? So far, I have walked away from this tool even more so this week with the solidified belief that Twitter is a place to lose much time just following rabbit trails.

 

This week provided some valuable moments as I searched for new content to learn and share with others. I think because the topic is not new to me, I did not find it to be as

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interesting, but I still learned a few things along the way. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to connect with other educators who are currently flipping their elementary classroom. I found two such teachers.  Catlin Tucker gives three solid reasons for flipping the elementary classroom. She mentions that teachers are able to circulate among their students and support them individually throughout the lessons and students are in control of the pacing of their learning. I strongly agree with these two reasons and would add, from my own experience, that classroom management is much easier with a flipped classroom. Her third point is where I have not been using the flipped classroom model appropriately in the past. She mentions that students can still apply the information in class with their peers. This is where my learning took place this week about a flipped classroom. While the model looks a bit different for each teacher who has flipped their classrooms, traditionally, the video consumption takes place outside of class. Class time is then devoted to deeper learning and social interaction among students. My “ah ha” moment happened this week when I realized the instructing, the modeling, and the directions are given via video content. Students most likely consume at home or outside of class. This makes sense. However, this model does not seem to be the best fit for elementary students. Therefore, I searched Twitter again to find more specific examples of an elementary class flip. A. Bollinger is from a Lighthouse school in Baltimore County. I could really see her being a

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connection I make when I begin flipping the classroom in the fall. She uses video in the class to give directions for independent activities and models how to complete assignments. This is perfect for first graders who often need the direction repeated multiple times. While she did not specifically mention using an interactive board as the learning station, it would make perfect sense to have the video posted for students to refer to over and over throughout center time or a workshop period. One of the tools she used to create her video instruction was Screencast-o-matic. I downloaded the tool and tried it. It worked pretty well.

 

A second resource I found was a video clip of a flipped second grade classroom. In this classroom, students are doing most of the heavy lifting. They watch a video clip and then go to the teacher table to discuss content. This allows students to get content first before interacting with it. Eventually, the teacher could begin to train students how to interact with each other. The deeper thinking and interacting could certainly happen at a second grade level.

 

Upfront training and sharing of expectations with students is paramount in a flipped classroom. One blog post did an outstanding job outlining different examples of how to

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incorporate flipping in an elementary classroom depending upon teacher comfort level and available technology. In the past, I have followed the flip station model outlined in her blog post. Each student had the video content in front of them. They traveled through the lesson and activities at their own pace. My downfall in the past was not taking this learning to the next level. I truly believe that students would have benefited in my classroom if they had then taken their learning and had the opportunity to discuss the video content with peers. Within my content area of technology, I still struggle a bit with what this looks like because a lot of the content I am teaching in technology is at a procedural level. I have not run into a lot of elementary computer teachers who are trying to get their students to have deeper conversations about how to save a file, or how to submit an assignment. While I think the idea of flipping a classroom is terrific, I realize I still have a lot to learn.

 

I do not want to invest a lot of money into tools for a screencast at this point. In the past, I have either set up a video camera and videoed myself in front of a computer screen, or I used the recording features found in SMART Notebook or Promethean’s interactive software called ActivInspire.  Both were adequate tools since in the past my students would view the video content via either of these platforms found on the student computers in the lab. For this assignment, I wanted to try out some new tools.

 

I used Screencast-O-Matic as mentioned above. In addition, Screencastify seemed like a pretty simple tool to use as well. I wanted to try them both to see what would be a better fit for my needs in the computer lab this fall. Both seemed to offer many of the same

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features. I chose Screencast-O-Matic. I looked at some previous assignments that I had given students this past school year and decided to create several video clips showing how to access, complete, and submit an assignment in Google Classroom. This particular assignment was not used in class, due to the complexity of the online skills required from second graders at the beginning of the school year. Later in the year, they quickly acquire these skills. Here is the working product:

 

Step 1:

How to Log into Google Classroom

Step 2:

How to Locate Your Typing Speed

Step 3:

How to Create a Sheet and Submit Assignment

 

As I reflect on this creation process, I have to say, it is a relatively simple process. However, as many of the educators I connected with this week have commented, there is an large amount of up-front work that needs to be done in order for the pacing to go smoothly. But if your content is relatively stable, the videos can be used over and over again. I do think there is a difference between the video content that Alison uses in her classroom to prepare for a phonics project and a science teacher who is taping multiple lectures. Alison is preparing her videos perhaps a few days or a week before being used which may/may not be used over and over again due to the reading program that a district uses from one year to the next. A middle or high school teacher, however, may get extended use from his/her video prep as students use the content semester after semester, year after year. This brings me to a second point of learning this week, and that is the importance of teaching note taking. Jackie Myers mentions one potential downfall of a flipped classroom is not setting the stage or pre-teaching students how to properly view video content. It occurred to me this morning as I hurried home from the gym while the house was still quiet and everyone was sleeping, that home environment also affects concentration and one’s ability to view video content effectively. If as an adult, there are multiple hours during the day when work just does not get done due to craziness and distractions, what might some students go through? When the teacher assigns a video to be watched at home, sometimes this might not be the best place for a child to fully concentrate on its content. This still does not outweigh the benefits clearly outlined in blog posts and articles I found this week.

 

I have walked away from this unit realizing the value of flipped classrooms, but more importantly, a way for me to improve my practice by having content viewed prior to class. My struggle will continue to be generating the type of deep questions for reflection to bring my students to a higher level of learning.

Works Cited

Doubet, A. (n.d.). TheCreative Educator.com. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from Flipping the Elementary Classroom: http://www.thecreativeeducator.com/2015/articles/In-Class-Flip

Harding, E. (2014, April 10). YouTube.com. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from Classroom Innovation Spotlight: Second-grade Faux Flipped Classroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RoXuBa9RHk

Myers, J. (n.d.). Gaggle.net. Retrieved July 17, 2018, from The Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make When Flipping Their Classrooms: https://www.gaggle.net/speaks/the-biggest-mistakes-teachers-make-when-flipping-their-classrooms/

Ramirez, M. (2017, May 30). MarthaRamirez.com. Retrieved July 17, 2018, from What’s an in-class flip?: http://martharamirez.com.co/blog/whats-an-in-class-flip/

Tucker, C. (2016, July 4). @Catlin_Tucker. Retrieved July 17, 2018, from 3 Arguments in Favor of the In-class Flip: https://catlintucker.com/2016/07/try-the-in-class-flip/

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