A Third Iteration of the Flipped Classroom?

In my book, Flipping Your English Class To Reach All Learners, I dedicate a chapter to the different models of Flipped Learning in practice.  I identified First Iteration and Second Iteration models and the development of each model.

First Iteration

  • Traditional Flip (sometimes called Flipped 101) – front loading the video with problem solving in class.
  • Writing Workshop Flip – front loading a mini-lesson video with writing projects in class.

Second Iteration

  • Flip Mastery – front loading content along with mastery assessment for advancement.
  • Explore-Flip-Apply – placing video in the learning cycle after an initial activity and application/assessment after practice.
  • Peer Instruction – using video or digital elements to initiate peer instruction.

At FlipCon14 this summer, I was introduced to the work of Tom Driscoll, Tim Downing, and Corey Papastathis.  These educators are using methods of gamification in the classroom and combining them with Flip Mastery.  For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll call this model Gamified Flip Mastery.  They are using programs like 3dGameLab to add gaming elements into the structure of their classrooms.  I was so intrigued by this model that I am in the process of developing quests for my staff to use as Professional Development (another post on that will come soon).

This new model has a great deal of potential to allow teachers a way to gamify their classroom in a more efficient way than trying to self-track all the details.  I believe this model deserves serious consideration when discussing the different flipped models.

In my book, I speculated what might be possible in the third iteration of Flipped Classrooms, but didn’t define what would constitute moving into that third iteration.  Since this model takes a Second Iteration Flip (Flip Mastery) and adds significantly to it, I would think that puts it in contention as the first Third Iteration Flip.

Does being a Third Iteration Flip make it better than a Second Iteration Flip?  Absolutely not.   However, as someone who has invested a great deal of my professional work over the past few years training, researching and developing the Flipped Learning models, I love seeing the models continue to grow.

What do you think? Is Gamified Flip Mastery the first Third Iteration model of the Flipped Classroom? What other models have you seen that might enter the Third Iteration discussion?

The streets of Brazil in our classrooms

Like many people these days, a great deal of my day is spent watching World Cup soccer and reading news on the lineup changes and injuries to the different national teams.  During the coverage this weekend, I saw a great story on a Brazilian street artist that was painting a progressive mural representing the daily happenings of this World Cup (unfortunately I can’t find a link to the story to add here).  I thought, “What  a neat idea.  Kind of like blogging.”

As I was searching for the story, I found many other stories about these beautiful street murals all around the country designed to show the culture and beauty of Brazil to the world.  Some are also meant as political protest, others depict historical events, and many capture the current team and national pride.  There is even a Google Street View collection of this art.

This got me thinking about our classrooms and school buildings.  As I visit other schools and talk to other teachers, all too often I see the same bland designs with the same teacher-supply-store posters on the walls.  I’m in the process of moving to a new school and when I announced it to my students, one of the first questions I got was, “Do you have to paint over the walls?”  The painted walls in my classroom had come to reflect the culture and a sense of pride in my students that transcended me.

Screenshot 2014-06-17 at 2.25.07 PM
Second Year of the Mural

Each summer for the past 4 years, I welcomed in some of my incoming 8th graders for 3 or 4 days of painting.  The first year was the toughest and I learned a lot of lessons on how to make it easier.  I started with simple Wordles projected on the walls and then gradually added more difficult art as the years went on.  Each year, I met with the students and brainstormed some ideas they wanted to add and I let them personalize it every year in some aspect so they could call it their own.  I was running out of wall space and the teacher that inherited my room has very little space to continue unless she gets creative.

Screenshot 2014-06-17 at 2.25.52 PM
First Year of the Mural

Many teachers visiting my classroom tell me they wouldn’t be allowed to paint their room like mine.  That saddens me.  Our classrooms should reflect our culture.  Our schools should do the same.  Schools with extensive murals (regularly updated or added to murals) reflect back on the students, staff, and community.  And, I’m not just talking about the mascot painted on the wall outside the gym.  Principals and teachers should invest their students in the project and personalize it.  Much like the street murals in Brazil, they should represent a school pride to everyone that enters your doors.

Screenshot 2014-06-17 at 2.24.50 PM
Third Year Mural on top, Fourth Year Mural on bottom


Lessons Learned from the First Year of the Chromebook Newscast

I announced to my students yesterday that I would not be returning to my current school next year and one of the very first questions that came up was, “What is going to happen to TigerCast?”  TigerCast is our Chromebook Newscast that I started this school year. I was happy that they were invested so much in the broadcast that they wanted to see it continue.  It made me realize that it is a good time to reflect on what the students and I learned over the year to improve the final product.

Here is the final TigerCast edition.  It is 21 minutes long.  The kids got a little carried away with the “Good Bye” theme even though they didn’t know it might have been their last TigerCast ever (no teacher has stepped up to do it next year at this point).

Chromebooks Only?

The original concept was since we went 1:1 Chromebooks was to use on Chromebooks for the newscast.  While we could have continued doing that, the kids got more interested in doing what are known as packages which are independent pre-recorded stories that air during the newscast.  We could use WeVideo to edit which was awesome, because we were still using Chromebooks, but the video was difficult to record.  So, we began using a Kodak PlaySport video camera to record and then the kids would immediately pull the video off the memory card into their WeVideo account.  They would then edit the video when convenient and share the final video to me using Google Drive.  I would then import them all into my WeVideo account (I paid for the monthly premium account in order to have enough storage and output space for the weekly show).  After we recorded the show using Google Hangouts, I imported that into WeVideo, spliced in the packages and output the video to YouTube.  Some students chose to shoot video with their iPhone or iPad and edit in iMovie because that was easier for them.  They still shared their edited package through Google Drive.

Google Hangouts

The first week we started placing the video packages into the show, I tried to play them live from YouTube during the Hangout.  The was too much delay and timing issues for that to be effective and I had to go in and edit out a lot of dead time.  I tried using the YouTube editor, but found it limiting for precise editing and thus the jump to WeVideo.

We really didn’t need to continue to record using Hangouts, but the kids had the process down well so there was no reason to interfere.  I think they also enjoyed the “live news show” feel of Hangouts.  We talked about doing an actual live episode toward the end of the year, but never gained the technical proficiency.  The great thing about using Chromebooks and Hangouts is that if someone’s Chromebook wasn’t charged or was not usable for some reason, they could just borrow someone else’s and have the same device and “programs” available to them.

We also had a student do a series called “The Un-newsworthy News” where he used Google Slides to create a presentation that he would advance through as he recorded the audio live.  Although he could have done a screen share to show the slides, for whatever reason, he decided to point two chromebooks at each other using the camera on one to record the screen on the other.  He worked really hard on his presentation and scripts, which was unusual for him, so I let him continue to do it the way he wanted because it kept him motivated. I felt having him motivated to produce a good package was more important than forcing him to use a better technical process.

Know Your Audience

We really hit our stride in late January/early February.  We spent the first part of the year doing “news” stories that were boring to the audience and even to the reporter doing the story. The students were complaining that other classes didn’t want to watch the show and some teachers weren’t even showing it. The kids motivation and reliability was waning and a couple of students quit the show because they lacked the interest to continue.  With a smaller, more dedicated group, we had a long discussion about what makes a show interesting to watch.  Coincidentally, my Article of the Week for my classes was a video by Kevin Allocca called “Why Videos Go Viral”. The students made a lot of connections between that video and their show and realized they need to take the audience into consideration. The biggest take away was that they needed to give the audience something unexpected. So, the students went back to the drawing board so to speak and started to brain storm stories that were unexpected and fun.  That was the biggest thing the students learned all year.  Once they made that simple change, the show got more lively, more interesting, and more talked about in the community.

Here is the first episode after the change:

There was now buzz around the show and in their own way, their shows went viral in the school community.  Some of the students that had quit previously were now asking to come back, other kids were asking to join, and students were demanding their teachers show it every week.

Smaller is better

We originally had too many people sign up to be on the show, so we divided into two teams.  The teams alternated weeks. What seemed like a good way to keep students motivated by not overworking them turned into a hindrance.  Some students were forget week-to-week if it was their week to broadcast.  With two weeks in between episodes, students would forget the mistakes they made previously and end up repeating them.  Once our team got smaller, we decided to go to weekly.  We adjusted our meeting schedule and allowed students to work more autonomously on their own time.  For us, smaller became better.

It was an eventful year in learning how to make an effective Chromebook Newscast.  As mentioned before, I will not be returning to my current school to continue TigerCast, but the students are really hoping to keep it going. The strides me made in one year make me excited to see where they might take it next. In my new role, I will most likely bring an iteration of TigerCast with me and see where a new group of students will take it.

Student Created First Person Narrative Videos Using Google Glass

I have my students create many different variety of media. Quite often, my students produce videos.  I wanted to get my Google Glass into the hands of students more, so we recently did an assignment writing and producing First Person Narrative videos.

The assignment required them to write a short 2-3 minute story considering point-of-view as a narrative technique.  Students then recorded the video using Google Glass and edited using WeVideo.  Google Glass’s new manual auto backup option sped up the process because I was able to download the students’ video and share it to their Google Drive much quicker.

As an introduction, I showed them some recent Kohl’s commericals that utilized this technique and we discussed the story telling elements of the commercial.

Overall, the results were good.  Given the end of the school year is fast approaching, we didn’t have time to spend a lot of time in the editing stages.  Many students said they thought their script ideas were good, but didn’t execute the production as well as they would have liked.  Students have never had the opportunity to shoot video using a device like Google Glass and have never written stories focusing on first person POV as a storytelling element.  On the technical side, one thing many didn’t account for was the different audio levels of the characters and the students didn’t know how to fix that in editing. In the future, I’d love to have more time and give students the opportunity to re-shoot and re-edit their video after they practice.

Here are the videos.  Let me know what you think in the comments:

Roommate Gone Wrong:

Find Your Courage:

Saving Agent:

The Elevator Ride:

The Big Day:

The Friend:

Google Glass in the Classroom: Who is Dave Stoller?

The famed IU Sample Gates #throughglass

Yesterday, I had the honor of being a panelist in a session called “Integrating Technology into the Curriculum” at the Indiana University School of Education’s Exemplary Teaching Conference in Bloomington, Ind.  One question I was asked during the panel was how I see Glass being used in the classroom.  I talked briefly about how I use it to have students make First Person Narrative Videos, how teachers use Google Hangouts to record in-class labs, and how teachers of Special Needs students use live Hangouts to coach students through real-world situations.


One conversation I had several times throughout the day was what happens when students start bringing Glass into the classroom. Sure, we can ban them like many teachers ban cell phones.  But, we can’t ban devices forever.  And, if the student has the prescription lens version of Glass and needs their Glass to see, what then?  The concern comes because Glass has the ability to do a Google search on the screen.  As with many devices that are already in our classrooms, if we’re teaching information that can be easily Googled, we should be teaching something else.  If every student has access to that information even more accessible than the proverbial “at their fingertips”, we need to be teaching what to do with that information. We know we should be teaching higher order thinking skills, but tools like Google Glass and other wearable technologies (i.e. Smartwatches) make that all the more critical.

Speaking of the access to information, one app that I love using with Glass is the Field Trip app.  While walking around the campus, using GPS data, Field Trip notified me sites and historical information.  I learned about Andrew Wylie, Hoagy Carmichael, Dave Stoller, and even an obscure reference to Mack C. Benn Jr.

When I pass a point of interest, Glass chimes and an image pops up telling me the notable information and the source:


If I want to learn more, I just touch the slider at my temple or say “OK Glass” and the first option is “Read More”.  I can also select “Read aloud”, “Share” (using my Google+ contacts), “Get Directions”, or “Explore” (which tells me about more nearby points of interest), “Favorite” (to add to my favorite list), and “Snooze” (to stop the notifications temporarily).

The “Read More” option shows me this:


I’ll admit, I was entertained way too much by all the “Breaking Away” points of interest on or near campus.  If you attended IU or spent extended time in Indiana, you’ve probably seen or know of the movie and had a chuckle with me.  If not, well, you can find it on Netflix and watch the entire movie, or here is what I see when I search for it on Glass:

Yes, that is a young Dennis Quaid

If you’re still wondering who Dave Stoller is, he’s the main character of “Breaking Away”. The IU School of Education put on a great event and I met some great pre-service teachers that I’m sure will make an impact when they get in the classroom.

What do you think our classrooms will look like when wearable technologies begin finding their way in?

Initial thoughts on #FETC #Throughglass

This past week, I attended FETC in Orlando.  That would be the Florida Educational Technology Conference.  An event with 8000+ attendees from around the world. This was my first opportunity to wear Glass all day in an environment where most people knew what they were.  They were certainly popular.  Overall, I saw probably 20 or so others wearing Glass.  Probably the highest concentration of Glass wearers in one place this week outside of Mountain View. At one point, there were 6 of us at the Google booth at the same time.


Many people I talked to had heard of Glass, but had not seen them in person. I worked the Google booth for about 4 hours on Thursday to answer questions about Google products. Even though the brand new Chromebooks were lined up behind me, I had a line all day waiting to speak with me individually in order to try on Glass. Other vendors even came over and asked for a chance to wear them.

Even on the last day, I while sitting in the final keynote, a man asked if he could take my picture wearing Glass. I asked if he wanted to try them on and he got all giddy like a kid at Christmas and said, “I wanted to ask, but didn’t know how.” That was a common theme among a lot of people I talked with.  They didn’t know the etiquette involved in asking to wear others’ Glass. Some people were brave enough to ask, others waited until someone else was trying them on before they asked, and others waited until I offered. I understand witnessing Glass in the wild is rare at this point, so I don’t mind people asking.  I got them to understand how they would be used in the classroom and I have no problem talking about them with others. I even had one woman approach me and say very flirtatiously, “Nice Glass!”

I am constantly hearing great uses for Glass.  One that really jumped out was a teacher from Canada.  He doesn’t have Glass yet, but his idea for them was brilliant.  He is a job coach for special needs students, but has too many students under his supervision to go out in the field with many of them. His idea was to send the students out with Glass and do a live Hangout with him. Then he can see what they see and give them direction or instruction right then.

I intend to post more photos later this week as I get more time to sort through them.

Overall, Glass aside, I was impressed with FETC.  I got some great ideas for future projects, the attendees to my session were responsive and receptive, and the set up was easily navigable.   I was a little disappointed to have to pay $3.25 for a bottled soft drink and $15/day to park, but that isn’t the conferences fault. FETC will definitely by on my list for future conferences.

If you were there, what were your thoughts? Did you get the opportunity to try on someone’s Glass?


My Observations on Flipping and Google Glass

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