Terminal Velocity

This week, my students are about to finish unit 7, thermochemistry. Looking back one year, I was a little bit further ahead (in terms of content) but this same chapter was chapter 6, not chapter 7.

That's a very roundabout way of saying this year, using the flipped model, I've been able to add an entire unit of study just by flipping the class. This blew me away when I realized how much time I had gained.

Then, I began to think about how I was able to move through the content so quickly. Did I add to student misconception because I was so caught up in wanting this flipped model to be "more" successful because I could cover more material? Right now, after using this model for the past year, I would say no. But, thinking about my motivations as I started this model, I'm afraid to say it probably was a major factor in my decision to switch.

As I've learned more about student achievement and how the content isn't as important as teaching the student, I've taken a major step back to think about my motivations. Sure, it would be great if I could move through the material faster, but only if students are performing at a higher level. Have I sacrificed student understanding to reach a specific end? I hope not.

The whole point of this is to say that technology is great and its easy to move through the material quickly because it is available 24/7. But, that does not mean that we should move at the speed of light through the content. Take time for supplemental activities and outside information. Take time for fun activities and keep the students interested in what you're doing.

Don't use technology as a means to reach content's end.

4 thoughts on “Terminal Velocity

  1. A major reason for flipping the class is to recognize that it is biologically senseless to expect every child to learn at the same rate. Some are truly incapable with their current “programming” to be able to learn as part of a herd all moving at the same pace. Others are able to zoom ahead of the pack.

    I don’t worry that 100% of my kids don’t complete every iota of the prescribed curriculum. I figure they are better off getting 80% of 80% (64%) as opposed to 60% of 100% (60%).

  2. Marc Seigel says:

    I found that not only was I moving through material faster, but that I was losing some of the fun demos I used to do to break up my lectures. So, I instituted Demo Wednesday. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, my students can’t do labs because the teacher I share a room with needs to perform his. The demo day gives the students something to look forward to and helps bring back some of the purely fun things chemistry teachers are known for.

  3. Sam Pierce says:

    I’m just beginning to consider how to move toward a flip…which is difficult considering less than 25% of my students have internet access. However, the model is so promising. If students walked into the classroom already possessing the background knowledge necessary to engage in higher level thinking and exploring, class could look like: demos, labs, self-driven inquiry, tying content into global issues, etc. So, thanks for sharing your stuff…it’s got me engaging in my own higher-level imagining. Cheers

  4. […] Vodcasting;¬†YouTube: Learning for Mastery; The Flipped Class Network; Flipping the Classroom; and¬†Terminal Velocity. This entry was posted in #flipclass and tagged #edchat, #flipclass, Connecticut, flipped […]

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