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Flipping a Science Classroom

Why flipping a science class can be hard & some tips to achieve it incrementally.

Joel Hutson

on 17 January 2015

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Transcript of Flipping a Science Classroom

by Joel David Hutson
Flipping a Science Class




Takeaway Message:

Flipping a content-heavy science course is possible,
especially if it's done incrementally. Do not be afraid
of the technology (a major reason instructors are reluctant to flip a class); if you can use a smart phone, you can flip your class. Any amount of flipping that you do can increase student success!

In the olden days . . .
higher learning consisted of
lectures & rote memorization
versus . . . apprenticships
learning by "doing"
Which method is better? This???
from Real Genius; brightwalldarkroom.tumblr.com
or This??
collect sample . . .
pulverize, thoroughly . . .
culture in different media
data show that hands-on
learning works best,
hands down
Ideally, "Flipping" a classroom stresses some type
of increased activity in the classroom, while
decreasing lecture time.
But are science classes easily flipped?
Science is "hard" because it's content driven
lengthy course objectives make it difficult
to flip
science instructors may feel intense pressure
to lecture nonstop
- there are many reasons why students may dislike science classes, which are related to why it may be difficult to
flip a science course
and, you may have lots of lab space & materials,
but are you given the time to focus on
inquiry-based learning?
by incrementally flipping your classroom lectures
with activities, you can increasingly utilize the time
that you're given to lecture, to work & interact
with your students more instead
- You can assess student progress &
understanding more often;
- you learn more about your students
and their needs;
- more engagement in learning;
- more time to review & reinforce;
- class may become more interesting
for both students & instructor

- You may have to work harder &
become more emotionally invested
in your students' welfare!
but I've heard rumors that science teachers
aren't as socially inept as students think. . .
So how can you take a content-heavy, time-
limited course & flip it?

Answer: start slowly & learn what technologies
are available to move your lectures outside the classroom
Step 1: Incrementally start recording your lectures with
a Skype-capable laptop or smartphone equipped with camera & microphone, as well as video-recording software available from your institution;

e.g., Camtasia Relay

or freely available online;

e.g., youtube.com or Screencast-O-matic.com
Another downside: students with learning
disabilities (or physical disabilities) may
struggle, or simply not be able to utilize
online lectures without help or an instructor
on hand (e.g., is captioning available?).
Step 2: start small; make small (15-30 minute) topic lectures & label them accurately so that students can
go watch what they need to. A good way to start is to
record one of your in-class lectures.

Tip: Do not incorporate class-specific information (e.g., dates) so that you can re-use videos for other classes.
Step 3: Begin posting the urls of these videos where
students can access them, & assign them as homework.

Tip: Some instructors record laboratory lectures before class lectures first, i.e., flipping a lab may be easier than flipping a lecture, freeing up even more time for activities.
Step 4: Assign homework, or give quizzes in class testing
them on whether they actually watched the material. These can be incentive-based & easy.

Tip: Insert quizzable, easy to remember tidbits into lecture videos for them to search for, such as whether they will be tested on certain information or not.
Step 5: As part of their homework or quiz, have
students list or provide concerns or questions
that they have that you can review.

Tip: Review the primary objective or main idea
of each lecture video anyway for reinforcement
before you assess them; e.g., review topics as you
go over their answers. It's like lecturing, but shorter
& more to the point. An observer wouldn't even be
able to tell that you weren't lecturing unless they
were waiting for you to go into minutiae.
Step 1: Incrementally incorporate the labs, case studies,
or even just your normal busy work more into your classes, but with more involvement on your part.

You'll soon find that you're focusing more on interaction, engagement & reinforcement than lecturing endlessly.

Tip: Try & incorporate group work into your class activities, for a lab-like atmosphere.
Step 2: Slowly begin incorporating as many hands-on
activities as you can into your class time. Textbook websites are full of free, easily assembled or downloaded activities & case studies.

Tip: Try & turn one class at a time into a lab, which is what the point of flipping a science class is; more inquiry-based learning. Obviously this strategy will depend upon safety & ease of materials.
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