Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flip class schmip class

Is it important what I call it? Yes and no.

Yes because....

I want people to try it out! Keeping it simple and catchy makes that more likely. And even more importantly, it doesn't sound like that much of a change from what the average teacher is doing, which also means they're more likely to try it out.

Example: I remember when we got smart boards into the last school I was at, I immediately loved them so much, and I wanted everyone else to experience the transformation that I was enjoying. But I knew I couldn't be all Marcia Brady with "Hey everybody! This will make you change everything about the way you teach! It's fun!" Yeah. No.

Instead, I told them, "Listen, you can keep teaching the same way as you always have, don't worry. You can still write on the board, and get your students to copy down what you are writing on the board, that's great, just try it on this thing instead!"  And I would casually gesture toward the stylus....like Maleficent drawing Aurora to the poisonous spindle....

Knowing, of course, that it would only be a matter of time before they would come under the spell of being able to do new things:

  • "Oh! Cool! I can move things around on the board after I've written them. Hmmm...classifying activity maybe?"
  • "Wow! I can put things up on the board before class and then during class just click through them, rather than spend valuable class time writing on the board, thus giving me more time to teach...."
  • ....and eventually "Sweet! I can show websites, movies, and write on those suckers too....."

The BIG transformation happened once they tried something a LITTLE different from their usual.

So I guess the name is important because it's not as intimidating as Project Based Learning, Mastery, Inquiry -this, Constructivist-that, etc....

No because....

It's not about the flip! It's so not about the flip. It's more like inside/outside: I used to gaze through the window of a store that I really wanted to get into, and all I was missing was a key. Then I found a key. And it's not about the key, it's about what's in the store!

And I know that I have a long way to go - I KNOW I am still delivering content, I KNOW my students are still depending on me too much, I KNOW it's not just about videos, I KNOW!!!! But like the smart board, the true power of the flip reveals itself slowly, and in different ways to different people.

So let's keep luring them in with something catchy and simple, and watch the spell take hold!


  1. What a wonderful analogy. Your spell is intoxicating.
    It's always best to start where people are. Just as we want students to discover, teachers have to discover. Keep casting that spell.

  2. Thanks, Susan, I guess that's what it comes down to. Whatever works on us is bound to work on our students!