Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flipped Presentation on Flipped Classrooms

My principal asked me if I would do a presentation on flipped classrooms for our school do you say no?

But, I teach full time and I am taking two graduate classes so I didn't really want to add another day to my week when I wasn't going to be home with my wife and her daughters so...I flipped the presentation on flipped classrooms. Here's the video.

Flipped Example of Making Connections

I've been working on flipping my classes this school year and I have been trying to teach my students the importance of making connections when it comes to history. I let them know that no event takes place in a vacuum and that there are many things that connect to and influence any given historical event.

As an example for them I connected Blink 182 to the Roman Empire in a  video that takes about four minutes. Annoyingly, my brain made that connection instantly; even I have a hard time keeping up.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Education Foundational Stance

This is a response I posted for the C&I 576 Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Design course I am taking. It's always good to go back and reflect on where you stand and what you stand for.

"Ornstein, Pajak, and Ornstein (2011) detail four educational philosophies: Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism, and Reconstructionism, which they refer to as the major educational philosophies that have influenced curriculum in America (p. 5). When I reflect on my ideals of teaching, my goals as a teacher, and my teaching methods I see that I clearly fall into the contemporary category and identify with aspects of both Progressivism and Reconstructionism.

Under the umbrella of Progressivism I employ ideas of promoting democratic ideals, that knowledge leads to growth and should be part of a life long process, that the teacher should act as a guide, or even a co-learner, and that the best learning is project based, inter-disciplinary, and relates to students’ lives (p. 6).  From Reconstructionism I strongly believe in the need to reconstruct society and that education should be part of that process (as opposed to a way to keep the status quo). Again, this is best done through projects that are relevant to the students and that support the ideas of equality of education (p. 6).

I like the idea of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development between independent and guided problem solving (Gredler, 1997, pp. 256-7). In order to find out what students can do on their own and what they can do with guidance requires formative assessment to discover the range of skills that each class of students and each individual student’s range of skills. This involves the use of much more than simply tests to get to know students’ abilities, it requires questioning of prior knowledge, both within and outside of my content area, and getting to know the students as individuals.

To accomplish the educational ideals or goals listed above, and getting to know students and their backgrounds, is much like calls made by González, Moll and Amanti (2005) and by Bergmann and Sams (2012). The idea of getting to know the student strengths and weaknesses to help differentiate instruction and to become a better guide for my students is one reason that I am implementing the flipped classroom model championed by Bermann and Sams in my classes this year. For years I had already employed my Universal Reading Questions to find out what my students find interesting, what they did not understand or wanted to know more about and to challenge them to make connections. My goal is to maximize class time for projects, discussions, and assistance to provide more authentic learning for my students and to help them understand the contexts and connections the content in my classes (history) has to their lives, the outside world, and the future."

Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class Every day. Eugene, OR:ISTE

González , N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. New York: Routledge.

Gredler, M. E. (1997). Learning and instruction: Theory into practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Nieto, S., & McDonough, K. (2011). “Placing equity front and center” revisited. In A. F. Ball & C. A. Tyson (Eds.), Studying diversity in teacher education (pp. 329-337). New York: American Educational Research Association by Rowman & Littlefield.

Ornstein, A. C., Pajak, E. F., & Ornstein, S. B. (2010). Contemporary issues in
curriculum (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Pulley, P. (2012). Universal reading questions. Available from:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reflection 2 for C&I 579 Summer 2012

What attitudes, skills, and concepts have you gained from participating in the course so far?
            Well, here we are coming up on the end of this “boot camp” and it has been a wild ride so where does one begin to sum it all up? As I have mentioned several times, I have felt overwhelmed by the vast amount of digital tools, ideas, and information coming in via the course content, blogs, Twitter, and other classmates. I am beginning to adjust my way of looking at this and to find ways of sorting through the volume to read only the most relevant. I just started using iGoogle based on the presentation I watched for the third discussion and it really seems to help now that I have gotten it set up and organized. Of course, the next day Google sends out an announcement stating that they are dropping iGoogle and it will be gone November 2013, at least I will have time to research an new dashboard.

            Skill wise, I finally got caught up enough to try out Camtasia for my final project (presentation?) and so far it seems super easy—of course I’ve been editing video for over a decade—I like what it can do in terms of trimming, uploading and placing the picture-in-picture (PIP). I am looking forward to using it and my new microphone to start recording some video lectures as early as next week. For quick recordings away from my laptop I found Screencast-o-matic very easy and Screenr seems to be similar. I will also be playing with a new app for my iPad called Explain Everything to help when I have a substitute in my classroom.

What have you learned in the course that you will not forget tomorrow?
            New concepts I have gotten from the class center around the Flipped Classroom model. I have been looking into the idea since C&I 407 last summer and had decided to try it next year especially since we are getting laptops for all the students. Of course, I am interested in seeing the impact the laptops will have, and I hope staff will get training to use them in innovative ways so that they are not “domesticated” to old routines (Rowan & Bigum, 2012). As Cummings, Brown & Sayers (2007) note, “for technology to change education, “has much more to do with pedagogy than with the technology itself” (p. 91). Given the lack of input the had on the process, I hope there is buy-in from them and that the professional development we get will be of the type needed, content specific and long-term (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009, p. 395). 

            Of the things I have learned from the course that I will not be forgetting, perhaps the most important to me is to plan for options when it comes to technology based education. It will not be enough to record and post my videos, I will also need to have media based versions available for those without Internet access at home or for those who leave their laptop and/or charger at school and can’t access in the regular manner. I hope that by posting downloadable versions, students without access can download them before they leave school so that they have a copy on their laptop. When it comes to communication, I have learned that the generation of students I am teaching (and some of their young parents) want feedback immediately (Tapscott, 2008) so I hope be able to meet those needs through My Big Campus and a new site I found called Remind101. Of course, some will still want emails, phone calls, or even letters home, but being able to reach and involve more parents is the goal. 

How will you apply what you have learned to your teaching and future learning?
            I have plans to implement several technological and new education ideas in my classroom in the future. I will be adopting a flipped classroom model in my social studies classes and possibly my communications classes as well. The flipped classroom, and the 1:1 laptops we will have at our school, will allow me to expand upon the changes I have already made in my teaching through the use of my Universal Reading Questions (URQs). My URQs were already designed to assess students’ prior knowledge and interests, as well has discover misunderstandings and misconceptions. In the past I have provided my students with background and additional knowledge to help make connections not only between events but also to the world today. With the flipped model allowing for more classroom time to engage in higher order thinking and collaborative work, and laptops for the students to research and discovery content with guidance, more of the knowledge they gain will be knowledge that they construct themselves.

            The online tools, blogs, and information networks that I set up during the class will be extraordinarily helpful in continuing to learn and improve my teaching in the future. I will continue to expand and refine the online learning networks that I have set up for the class and use my blogs to reflect upon and analyze the things I will be trying to implement in my classroom. I will also use these as assets when we set up our professional learning teams (PLTs) for professional development in our district next year.

Wish me luck future, and the same to everyone else.
Cummings, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Harris, J. B., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416.
Rowan, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and
student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht,
            Germany: Springer.
Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world. [Kindle
Version].  Available from

Friday, July 6, 2012

Final Project for C&I 579

Just finished recording and posting my final project for my educational technology class so I thought I would share it here as well.

Let me know what you think and wish me luck!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Flipped Classroom Infographic

Thanks to Kristen (C&I 579, Group 3) for mentioning this website in her discussion 4 post. I'm adding it here as a great representation of the Flipped Classroom Model.

You can click on the graphic to go to the Knewton website and see it in a larger format.

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Discussion 4 C&I 579

I thought I would share this discussion post based upon Jackie Gerstein's blog post:

Summary of Basic Points

Jackie Gerstein includes several ideas about the ideas of the flipped classroom including a model for the process, resources for those who might want to try and perhaps most important to me, critiques of some who are trying to “hijack” the idea.

The model she includes of 1) experiences, 2) what, 3) so what, and 4) now what is similar to the ideas of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that includes what, how, and why. She also notes in her slideshow similarities to other models like: the Experiential Learning Cycle, Experiential Learning, 4MAT, and models by Robert Gagne and David Kolb. In her practice she correctly points out that the initial “experiences” help engage students and provide a setting, the “what” becomes the flipped lecture, “so what” would be the old homework (now done in class) but using scaffolding to build to higher levels of understanding. Finally the “now what” is where students demonstrate their understanding.

Compare/Contrast Resources

The UDL resources mirror the ideas that Jackie has outlined in her post, all of which are models to try and move away from the Industrial Revolution model of one-way education to meet and address the needs and learning styles of 21st Century learners. I have see other complaints about Kahn Academy, and while this might be a part of the new education process, it is important to note that it is only a part. Rowan and Bigum (2012) note that technology can help change how education is done IF we allow it to change how we teach rather than “domesticating” it to how we already do things. She brings up and provides links to those who are “attacking” Kahn, but as Gerstein, Utrecht, Bergman, Rowan & Bigum and many others point out, the issue is more one of how Kahn is being presented, for that matter flipped classrooms as well. Both represent tools to use, not universal answers.

What new information, application, and/or issues did you discover?

I already had problems with much of “fervor” over Kahn academy, partially because there is little history, but mostly because of the procedural methods of his videos. (And don’t get me started on the support of the Gates Foundation). My wife is a mathematics professor and believes in cognitively guided instruction where students tackle new problems based on prior knowledge and present their answers. THEN the teacher presents alternatives and provides explanation. This way students gain an understanding of the concepts, not just memorize a procedure. Sadly many students that are “good at math are often good at memorizing procedures, conversely, those who are “bad at math” are really in need of understanding because they don’t memorize procedures well. This same idea is true in my area of social students; far too often it is “learn the facts” without making the connections. What I was happy to see is the number of people saying, wait; Kahn Academy is a tool to AID the teacher, not something that can REPLACE the teacher.

How could you use the flipped classroom approach in your teaching?

This is an idea I have been thinking about since last summer and with our school going to a 1:1 laptop program for all students I plan to implement the flipped model in my classes for next year. I had already gotten away from much lecturing and the presentations I already have can easily be adapted to this model. In my social studies classes I have students read new materials and when they read they have to answer my three Universal Reading Questions (URQs) and those become the basis for most of the discussions in class. (See my URQs post) With the laptops and new individual desks/tables I plan to have students research additional materials for the things they find interesting, and the questions they generate. That way instead of me sharing (telling) facts they can explore and become creators of knowledge and I can help guide them to connections and implication for their world today.


CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author. Retrieved July 3, 2012 from:

Bergman, J. (2012). Flipped learning, Turning learning on its head. Flipped Learning. Retrieved July 3, 2012 from

Rowan, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht, Germany: Springer.

Utecht, J. (2012). Can there really be a revolution in education? The thinking stick. Retrieved July 2, 2012 from