Mr. Hand references flip teaching at minute 1:07! Watch the clip below and see for yourself:
I was honored to discuss flip teaching as a guest on EduNationCast episode #10:
Whether you are implementing some form of flip instruction, using an online assessment system such as ALEKS, or requiring your students to engage with one of a myriad of activities outside of the traditional classroom space, negotiating the issue of equal access is always a concern. Keeping in mind the intention of this website, I am a firm believer that flip instruction, regardless of model, is not a silver bullet, or even a form of pedagogy. Rather, “flip” is a means of harnessing technology to more appropriately allocate activities that are better suited for exploration outside of the classroom, WITHIN the context of an inquiry cycle.
I have always preached the following: “It is not a silver bullet, if your students don’t have access, then try something else. If your students do, then harness that option appropriately”. However, the more I speak to others about technology in the classroom, I become even more perplexed by the access reality. Some argue that access is no longer an issue, others feel that requiring students to engage in online activities outside of the classroom creates an unequal playing field, while many passionately claim that we are handicapping our students by not empowering them with the ability to seek out the tools necessary to engage in the 21st century learning activities. Click here to access data regarding internet access provided by Pew Internet.
This past week I was honored to work with a friend who is a 9th grade algebra teacher at a school just south of San Francisco. He is interested in the Explore-Flip-Apply model, however, given the dynamics of his school, and diversity of his students, he was weary about assigning homework that required access to the internet. Rather than simply guess and go for it, we worked together to develop a simple plan to more intentionally address any access issues in his class. The goal was to create a survey that would encourage a very honest response regarding access rather than couch our question in the context of a homework assignment plan, etc. Below are the steps we took:
Step 1: We created a google form with the following two questions. Students answered form form the library computers.
1. Can you update your Facebook status from home or from a mobile device (e.g., laptop, phone, iPad, etc.)?
2. If you answered “No” to the question above, you did so because...a) you don’t have personal internet access b) you don’t use Facebook.
Step 2: We analyzed the data.
72% answered “Yes” to the Facebook status question. It was assumed that these students can access the internet individually, outside of the classroom.
15% answered “No” because they do not use Facebook, however said they could access the internet for other activities. It was assumed that these students can access the internet individually, outside of the classroom.
13% answered “No” because they did not have access at home.
Step 4: On the following day, we met with each student who fell within the 13% (4 students) and asked for their feedback on the following options:
Option 1: Come to class 15 minutes early on the day an internet based assignment (usually instructional screencast) is due, and view it on one of four classroom computes.
(This teacher purchased 4 laptops from eBay for fairly cheap and also offers up his own personal laptop during this time).
Option 2: Research hours of the school’s library/Internt access and that of their local library. Use locations to complete internet based assignment.
Option 3: Ask a family member, neighbor, or friend whom you see often if you can use their internet for ~ 30 minutes/week
(In a traditional Explore-Flip-Apply model, the students are only viewing ~ 2 vids a week, and each is ~ 8 minutes. We added on an extra 15 minutes to give the student time to fill out the associated form used for reflection and tracking of the video).
Option 4: Come up with your own plan for accessing the internet.
Students were given a few days to figure out their strategy, while we confirmed that the other 87% had access. The 4 students were told that if they could not figure out a feasible strategy, that we would work with them individually to figure something out. Two out of the 4 students decided that coming into class early on days where lectures were due would work for them. Anecdotally, when my students choose this option, I find that their investment in the following problem solving sessions is greater. Most likely due in part to the close proximity between viewing a video of basic content, and direct application of that content. Another student decided to use the school library, and the final student, given her schedule, found none of the options suitable. For her, the instructor loaned out an old department laptop with wireless capabilities, and worked out a plan with her and her mother where she would visit a local coffee shop that provided wireless access near her home a few times a week.
All in all, the process was very simple. However, rather than simply assuming all students had access as I have done in the past, helping a colleague through this process shed light onto the realities of the access issue for this particular class. Additionally, we learned that negotiating the access issue, with a little creativity, can be a very feasible process. Obviously how the percentages break down is a function of the school community, student demographics, etc. Perhaps this post can shed light into a simple way of negotiating student access in your class. Subjectively, I could just sense that the students appreciated the intentional way we worked WITH them, rather than simply assume that they are “digital natives” and all have access.
Click here for Example 1 which outlines the process in more detail.
Day 1: Explore
Topic: Effusion and Diffusion.
Task: To compare the effusion rates of helium gas and nitrogen gas.
Materials: Three balloons, measuring tape, helium tank, your breadth (for nitrogen gas…yes, I know, this is a HUGE REACH, but whatever, it was fun..), scotch tape, a thumbtack, and a stopwatch.
Procedure: We use a guided inquiry approach during exploration days. Whenever appropriate, I try to put the procedure development process in the hands of the students. In this lab, I gave students 15 minutes to brainstorm a procedure of their own. Students had many different procedures, but after pulling their hair for 15 minutes, the majority of groups developed a process that looked something like this:
1. Fill one balloon with nitrogen gas.
2. Fill the other balloon with helium gas to the same volume using tape to measure diameter.
3. Blow the third balloon up to ~ 2/3 the size of the other two balloons. Use this balloon as the “reference”.
4. Secure a piece of tape in nitrogen filled balloon.
5. Insert thumbtack into tape.
6. Remove tape and record time (sec) it takes for balloon to deflate to size of reference balloon.
7. Repeat for nitrogen.
8. Estimate rate by taking the reciprocal of the time.
See images of process below:
Data Analysis: Students then entered data into a class chart where effusion rates were gather across groups, a class mean was taken and percent error data was calculated. See images below:
Model: Students worked in groups to analyze the data and create a model. The group mean diffusion rate was ~ 2.6! Students ultimately, with a bit of prodding :), realized that the this was approximately the square root of 7 (how many times larger the molar mass of nitrogen is than helium). Students recorded this data and conclusion in their notebooks and were assigned a lecture on effusion and diffusion for homework (the flip).
Night 1: Flip (Instructional Video)
For homework, students were assigned an instructional screencast video that addressed their observations from the laboratory, formally defined effusion and diffusion, presented the equation for Graham’s Law, and solved a few example problems. Students reflected on the video via a google form embedded below, where they provided a 5 sentence summary of the video and entered in answer to the second worked example (video ended abruptly in the middle of the second example). Below is a quick snippet of the video:
Below is a screenshot of the google form used for reflection:
Day 2: Apply
Goal: To apply knowledge of Graham’s Law.
Task 1: Work individually and collaboratively to practice released AP Chemistry problems related to Graham’s Law of Effusion-Diffusion.
Task 2: Use new assimilated knowledge of Graham’s Law to verify the equation with respect to diffusion, rather than simply effusion (See Day 1).
Materials: Clear plastic straw, two cue-tips, ammonia, toilet boil clear (source of hydrogen chloride), ruler.
Procedure: We again guided inquiry approach, however, because students have already explored this concept and have viewed and instructional screencast, the goal is to verify, rather than develop, Graham’s Law.
1. Simultaneously place ammonia and toilet bowl cleaner soaked cue-tips in both ends of a clear plastic straw.
2. Work together on practice problems while waiting.
3. Measure distance from top of cue-tip to cloudy ring in straw (location where ammonia and hydrogen chloride gas meet).
4. Calculate rate (distance/time) for each gas.
5. Determine value of rNH3/rHCl and share data.
6. Evaluate class mean and calculate percent error.
See images of process below:
Night 2: Prepare for Quiz
Day 3: Quiz and new cycle begins
To prepare for our upcoming exam on gases, students worked in groups to make instructional videos using screenchomp. Below are the steps I used to facilitate the process:
Step 1: Each group designed and solved one problem on a blank sheet of paper. I did not allow the use of any materials, textbooks, etc.
Step 2: Groups recorded their solution using screenchomp according to the below rules:
Step 3: Groups shared link with google form on class website. Spreadsheet that collects links was embedded on website using iFrame gadget. Click here to watch chomps.
Step 4: Students watched chomps for homework (the flip). Quiz questions the following day were be randomly chosen from the chomps.