Friday, September 2, 2011

First Week of Flipping

Well, school has started.  It has been an exhausting couple of weeks, as tennis season is in full swing (pun intended).

I decided this year to implement a significant change in my physics classes this year. I have flipped the class, which means that instead of lecturing during the school day and assigning homework for students to do at night, we are doing practice problems and assignments in class and the students are required to watch videos of my lectures at home. The videos are all screencasts that I have made available on Youtube, and also through our class website.

The students seemed very positive about the idea as I explained it to them on the first day, and have hit the ground running with watching them. So far I have checked every day if they watched and took notes on the video, and have had only a few people not watch them on time for the following reasons:
   Slow internet at home -- Solution: he brought in USB Thumb drive and we transferred the videos onto it
   Didn't have time -- Solution: he watched it the next night, and was just a little bit behind in class
   Didn't know I had to watch them -- Actually, this was my fault that I didn't make myself clear in deadlines.  Temporary solution was to watch it in class that day.  I didn't mind doing this because it was the very first time, but I told them this wouldn't happen again.  More permanent solution: posting a video watching calendar or schedule, which I have yet to implement.

The in-class activities are more challenging than I had imagined because the students are answering things faster than I had anticipated.  I'm learning that I will probably have to overplan.  Another difficulty is that students are working at different rates so some are finishing early while others taking longer. I don't have a solution in mind about this yet.


  1. While I can't imagine teaching physics (upper elementary is more my speed) I am very intrigued with how you are flipping your physics class this year. As a teacher of a split level class I think flipping some of the subject areas would save time in class. I wonder how well it would work with 5th and 6th graders.
    One of the first things I thought of when using this style of teaching was how students with no or slow internet connections would be able to watch the videos each night. Having the student use a thumb drive is a great idea. Could you put the videos on DVDs for students without computers? Do you see a student not having a home computer as being a future problem?
    I'm curious as to how your class is going. Have you decided what to do with the students working at different paces?

  2. Jaclyn,

    To answer your questions:
    My students are working primarily at the same pace -- we are on a schedule of when to watch videos, and they do essentially the same assignments on the same days. While having my materials available at any time opens up the possibility of working at your own pace - a strategy often dubbed Mastery Learning -- I am not attempting that this year as that would be too much change too quick for me.

    Second, each of my students has a computer at home, but I had considered making DVD's if needed. I do have two students who don't have high-speed internet, and they have each brought in a flash drive which I copied the mp4 videos on.

    Third, a helpful group of teachers that have all flipped is:

    Finally, my class website, where most of the videos are posted is:


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