Monday, October 10, 2011

Flipping: Fad or Function?

Joanne Jacobs talks about flipping. So does Education Next:
Flipping instruction — typically, students watch a video at home and work through problems at school — is going mainstream, writes Education Sector’s Bill Tucker in Education Next.
I'm not convinced that this is the answer for everyone. I think, like SBG or Portfolios, this is a method that will work well with certain classes and certain teachers in certain situations.

As long as you can boil your whole lecture down to a five minute video tweet, it's great.  Is that really the goal in a math class? How well does it work in a class that discusses the new material for more than 5 minutes a day? This seems better for learning programming, where a tiny idea must be put into place with debugging and tweaking needed all the way through.

The right stuff: One of the gushing reports is from an AP Calculus teacher who claims that she is done with the AP Calculus curriculum a month early because of it.  While I am a bit skeptical of that claim, it is possible because she's dealing with the best, brightest and most responsible group of students in the entire school.  They probably have a great deal of time and a lot of parental support, computer access and other advantages.
What kind of time is needed?

Flipping began at the college level. I think it is a better fit there because of the tremendous amount of time required on the students' part -- time the college student has and the high school student typically doesn't.

I am not convinced that my ninth grade students (or frankly any of my students) can get to this video learning each night, after practice, for each of their six or seven classes, fighting their older brother for computer time. Even if they can manage the time, are students capable of absorbing new information and methods from six different classes, at 9pm?

The problem, of course, is that it will scale badly down at the highschool level, yet the educrats and deformers will leap on this bandwagon with both feet tied behind their backs.

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