Educator, Speaker, Consultant, and Author
A few years ago I helped a school in Colorado wrestle with questions about flipped learning. In this particular school, a group of 6 teachers who taught the same subject were trying to decide whether it was necessary for each of them to create their own video content, or if they should work together as a team. While they recognized that the students in their individual classes could benefit from each teacher creating unique content, they also realized that in doing so they would produce a lot of redundant material.
Ultimately, these teachers decided to play to their strengths and divide the workload into 3 categories:
- Video production. A few of the teachers were gifted communicators, and they created the video content. Doing so prevented all the teachers from having to learn how to create and edit video content, and how to communicate effectively through this medium.
- Classroom activities. Others were talented at developing in-class materials, and they spent their efforts on creating engaging and meaningful class activities. This approach helped ensure the quality of the materials being used as well as cohesion throughout the department.
- Testing materials. The remaining teachers were masters at developing and analyzing exams, so they wrote and scored tests and reported the data to the department. This alleviated the stress of writing and grading tests and allowed for a more comprehensive look at how the students were doing as a whole. It also provided valuable data that helped validate the exams, which informs future instruction.
The team developed a sense of collegiality that encouraged open dialogue about what was working and what was not. This approach also led students to recognize each of the teachers on the team as “their teacher,” creating a thriving culture of learning that would have otherwise been isolated within the walls of a single classroom.
You don’t have to flip your class alone
If you or your departmental colleagues are hesitant to take the plunge into a flipped classroom because of the intimidating workload, you may want to consider this collaborative approach. Recognize that you do not have to flip your class alone. In fact, it is much easier to work with a partner or on a team. Sharing resources with colleagues helps to bring them along and to cultivate a spirit of collaboration within a department.
To identify a colleague’s skills, ask the following at your next department meeting:
- Who is a good communicator?
- Who is tech-savvy and has experience producing video?
- Who uses amazing labs and demos?
- Who produces great practice and application problems?
- Who writes excellent exams?
- Who loves to crunch data?
Split up the workload, share the responsibility of creation, play to your strengths, and curate as a team. As the saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder” as you develop your flipped class.