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Forays Into the Flipped Classroom

One of the buzzwords in education today is the flipped classroom. I was prompted to try out this model last year when I came down with a stomach bug that prevented me from going to school for four days. We were about to start on a new unit about functions, so if I wanted my students to stay on track with my curriculum and proceed with their labs, I had to find a way to deliver the content to move forward. I sat down with my laptop and found free software to capture the screen. While there are several out there, I chose Camstudio to use. It took me a few tries to coordinate what I wanted to say and what I wanted students to see on the screen. I uploaded the video to my school website and emailed the students the link and instructions on the lab assignment. While it wasn't truly a flipped classroom, the concept was there.

The feedback when I returned to school was positive. Many of the students, mostly females interestingly enough, commented that they really liked that they could pause the video and/or rewind and play back parts of the video when they needed to go over some difficult concept. I had in the past received feedback from my students that I sometimes go too fast when introducing new topics, especially when I am writing code and they are trying to follow along on their computers. Knowing that the flipped classroom approach helped out those students who wanted a slower pace or might take longer to process new information, I was intrigued to try to truly flip my classroom.

Since then I have occasionally used this model, although I admit not completely. I do like to get the immediate feedback from students when presenting a new concept, where they can ask questions and contribute to the coding on the projector. However, flipping the classroom does help some students, and allows for more time in class for students to work on labs and assignments and to receive individual attention. I am curious if other people have tried flipping their Computer Science classroom and what their experiences have been. Please share!

Karen Lang
9-12 Representative
CSTA Board of Directors

Comments

I am also interested in this concept. I recently began a unit on HTML/CSS when I discovered many of my students, but not all, were very familiar with HTML. I am new to teaching, creating curriculum as I go. In an attempt to differentiate my instructions, I went to youtube looking for tutorials. I pulled together a collection of great tutorials, each only 6-13 minutes in length that covered the topics perfectly. I listed the topics and links in a document that I shared with my students. The instructions were to watch a video then experiment with the new bit learned. I gave my students the option to start where they wanted to on the list based on their current level of familiarity with the topics. I used the class time to roam about the room, stopping with each student while they were experimenting with the new skills learned. I really like the 1-on-1 time I can spend with each student.

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