Flipping an Entire School … Temporarily

Using flipped learning to flip an entire high school and junior high for both teachers and students for one period the first three weeks of school.

New changes:

Change in education is constant and this year the high school I work for, and the attached junior high, are going 1:1 with Chromebooks.  Additionally, both are implementing a 25 minute “Focus Period” at the end of the day to address RtI needs and enrichment opportunities for all students. For me this was an opportunity too good to pass up.

Implementing change:

How does a school provide training for both students and, let’s be honest, teachers on how to consistently and productively use Chromebooks and the Google suite of apps? Additionally, how does a school train teachers to effectively utilize a new 25 minute time frame that is not connected to grades or even a specific topic?  The answer to both is scaffold, model, and provide choice all of which fits flipped learning very well.

Here it is:

M-Moore-Google-Map

Click the picture to go to http://bit.ly/blogCBTPLAN to visit a blog specific version of the training in which “Start Here”, “Docs”, “Sheets”, “Final Project” and “Teacher Apple” are accessible.  I have removed some quiz links and disabled the other icons for demonstration purposes and to respect the work of others.

The plan:

The single Google Drawing above is the master training document.  In the fully functional document every icon is a link to a Google Doc component of the training that normally includes a short instructional screen-cast video, a Google Forms quiz the computer grades, and a small mastery task the student completes and submits. Each component offers “Arrowheads” (playing into our mascot) that equal one entry into an incentive drawing for prizes at the end of the three weeks of training.  All leading up to the “Final Project” where students showcase their skills and produce a product with their Chromebooks. Students will complete the training in the 25 minute “Focus Period” at the end of each day when not benchmark testing or completing other beginning of the year tasks.

Scaffold:

Teachers, just as students, come to our classrooms with varied experiences and bases of knowledge.  Teachers need scaffolding and supports as much or more than students.  Although the training could be arranged in a non-linear fashion, we chose to follow a board game style linear arrangement that was a natural progression of skills. Teachers can utilize the same training videos as the students, but the apple in the lower right corner is material just for teachers.  This includes videos specifically for them about the training schedule, classroom expectations during the Focus Period, Arrowhead awarding guidelines, and suggested classroom methods. In the full document the “google” in the top left is a link to a single google doc that compiles all the information and links into one master doc for those teachers who do not wish to click each icon.  Providing supports for both the content and professional expectations it is intended to help put the teacher’s mind at ease and help them know the whats and whys of the process.

Modeling:

As teachers we model behaviors and skills we want students to emulate and this applies to teachers as well.  All materials for teachers and students were created using only the Chromebooks students will be given and this is highlighted throughout the training to demonstrate the capabilities of the Chromebook. The teacher training materials are laid out in the same format as the student training with an instructional video, a quiz, and a mastery task.  Because teachers have more adult learning tendencies we also included a written version of the instructions in addition to the videos in the same way we did for students. A key component of flipped learning is moving instruction to the individual space so students are prepared for deeper learning in the group space. To model this the teachers will receive the training document three weeks before school.  Their training includes an understanding check quiz, and they are given the task of exploring the rest of the training materials to be prepared for the in-service on the first day. When teacher’s arrive the deeper learning is a model focus period where professional expectations and classroom management is modeled and discussed as the focus period is to be student and mastery driven with lots of teacher feedback and that may be different than the style of classroom the teacher is used to.

Choice:

Learning is a choice and so motivating learning means providing choice.  We have been intentional in the training components to include a heavy dose of choice.  We are not tracking video watching but only quiz answers.  Some students will not need the videos to be successful, others will need them.  Each mastery tasks allows a certain amount of freedom of choice or freedom of expression. The final project reflects an agreement between the teacher and the student for how the student will demonstrate their mastery and is only limited by imagination and the teacher ensuring the project is applicable to prove mastery.  Teachers also have some choice.  They will be given professional development credits for completing the teacher training, but will be given more development credits if they complete the student training components. The whole thing is not mandated but teachers likewise will be entered into an incentive drawing.  More importantly teachers have broad freedom to work with students individually to agree upon mastery demonstrations.

How the flip:

As you can see from the descriptions above this training embodies many of the principles and pillars of flipped learning and even treads into flipped mastery territory.  This came about as the administration and a teacher committee moved forward with the Focus Period at the end of the day and teachers were concerned about how it will be structured and managed.  Additionally, the administration decided to roll out 1:1 and was searching for how best to train and implement all stakeholders.  The opportunity I saw was the motivation on the part of administration for consistent and engaging training while teachers wanted guidance and specifics about how to function in an incentive based environment without “grades” for accountability. Working together with the director of technology and curriculum we had a common goal and my experience with flipped learning was the missing piece to solving both problems with integrity and clarity. Because the administration has placed their support behind the method, because parents can see the engaging way this new tool is being rolled out, and because teachers don’t feel they have to make up or teach something with which they are unfamiliar most stakeholders are willing to accept and try flipped learning because they see it meets their needs.  In all learning if the “student” regardless of age or role sees the application and need for something new doors to learning open.

Just the beginning:

So every student and teacher is flipping, but it is only for one period for three weeks.  This is the first entry in a series regarding this project, and I will be writing more about it as it unfolds.  To a degree this is working without a net and we all know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Check out the updates of the successes and failures of this massive flip at matthewtmoore.wordpress.com. I welcome discussion, comment, and dire warnings in the comments, or on twitter @matthew_t_moore. 

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