A different take on “The Flipped Classroom”

This article was originally posted by Dale Rogers () in the Livingston Post on May 5, 2013.

On Tuesday March 12, 2013 I spoke to the Michigan State Board of Education at their regular monthly meeting. Below is the text of my presentation.

Good Afternoon. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak today.

Dale RogersI’m Dale Rogers. I am here today representing the Network of Michigan Educators. My association with the network is a result of achieving National Board Certification for Career and Technical Education in 2007. I am currently a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher at Novi High School primarily teaching Pre‐Engineering, Computer‐Aided Design, and Video Game Design.

Some of you may remember one of my fellow network members, Steve Kelly, who spoke to you last year. Steve presented his ideas and success he has had with the concept of “The Flipped Classroom.”

Like Steve, I’m an old guy. I just began my fourth decade as a teacher. Like Steve, I believe that I still have much enthusiasm for teaching and a fire‐in‐the belly drive to continue to fine‐tune my craft to benefit students as much as I can.

As mentioned in the hand‐out, I have a different take on “The Flip”… That is taking “Flip” to the next level not only changes the lecture/homework idea but “flips” a class from being a teacher‐centered class to that of a student‐centered class.

I’ve been using computer‐based video as an instructional tool since 1999. Needless to say, I was a bit envious when I saw a guy featured on 60 Minutes a couple of years ago being hailed for his innovations in using video as an instructional tool. But kudos to Sal Khan and the Kahn Academy for bringing attention to what potential this technology has.

Part of what prompted me to begin creating my own custom video tutorials was the fact that some students aren’t always totally attentive when I give a presentation. Also, I sometimes found myself a bit frustrated when I had given what I believed was a near‐perfect demonstration to a class, only to have a student miss it for one reason or another.

But once I began using my own video tutorials I noticed a significant improvement in the performance of my students. Much of the curriculum in Career and Technical Education courses require demonstrations of skills for various hands‐on tasks. Using video that students can view and review at their own pace really benefits most CTE courses. In addition, visuals from videos such as these benefit students that might otherwise struggle with interpreting technical reading material due to a disability or a language deficiency.

Now some teachers feel threatened by this technology. Perhaps it’s not so much the technology, but the fear of how politicians and “reformers” might abuse this technology to downgrade the value of teachers. In fact whenever I present at MACUL or other conferences I am always posed the question “Aren’t you afraid that you won’t be needed as a teacher?”

Well guess what? I’ve been using video tutorials since 1999 and I’m still teaching.

While the videos provide explanations and examples, once the students begin working on their activities they still need oversight and guidance plus they still have questions. The videos are not always and will never be 100% effective with every student. Some students need more personal interaction than others.

Their work still needs to be evaluated and graded. However, this tool has allowed me to give more individualized attention to students and has helped them to focus on the lesson. Visitors to my classroom usually observe that I’m still a pretty busy guy.

Plus I still strongly believe the timely “withitness” of a teacher, the teachable moments, the personal interactions and the student‐teacher relationship are things that are vital in the education of our young people and cannot be replaced by digital technologies.

To conclude, I feel very fortunate to work in a school district that provides me with the resources and the autonomy to utilize technologies for the benefit of my students. Thanks to the Network of Michigan Educators for selecting me to share my experience and thank you again for allowing me to speak today.