Is your inability to be creative to get kids access that limited?

Ouch! Did he just ask me that?  I respond with, Uhm…well…ahhh…oh look a cat!

So I recently posted about the flipped classroom, which is a new twist on the traditional classroom model. The post was more a response to something I read than a downplaying of the flipped classroom (although I may have been flipant in presenting the buzzword “flipped classroom” while wearing flip-flops). I subsequently received a comment that was longer than my post. Not fair. That’s like breaking the pinata at someone else’s birthday party 😦

In all seriousness though the comment was quite lengthy with some very good points and I just figured I’d post it to share Scott Meech’s perspective because he defends the concept well (a concept I am not at all against…my post was a pros and cons look at video lessons). Thanks Scott for your comment. I have made it a post in and of itself to present your side more openly than a comment would

So, click for more to read his response in its entirety Continue reading “Is your inability to be creative to get kids access that limited?”

Want to learn more? Trade in your teacher for an LCD!

The Flipped Classroom – Can videos teach our children?

flip camera used in flipped classrooms
get it? Its a video camera, called the Flip...genius 🙂

When reading an article by Liz Dwyer about “Why youtube videos will never replace teachers” I learned about a new concept…the flipped classroom. Awesome, a new buzz word to fling around the water cooler to impress my fellow educators.

Apparently some people who got together to coin this new buzzword  excuse to write books and get funding are now promoting flipped classrooms. Wherein information is disseminated at home…


  • Student goes home
  • Fires up or VideoLessonsonDemand.whatever
  • Watches video
  • Goes to school…completes his or her exercises and practice as schoolwork instead of homework with teacher supervision and peer support

Get it…its flipped you see! Brilliant!
Chalk one up for technology!

Don’t you love buzz words…you create a new buzz word, write a book and go on a lecture circuit to sell more books and workshops. BRILLIANT. But I digress.

Dwyer seems to have been responding to a video  about Khan Academy  where the founder discusses the merits of his organization and the concept of video lessons. Video below:

I like Khan Academy! It actually frickin’ RAWKS! Lessons on demand, presented with visuals that you can watch as many times as you need from wherever you need – Perfect.

Despite the Khan Academy promo video being very, uhm, promotional, Sal Khan never states that there is any intention to replace teachers. On the contrary, the video ends by stating that a teacher is no longer a source for scripted lectures (link to facebook/prof article) but is a source of knowledge, experience, mentorship and humanity.

Here is my answer

Bad teachers, or no teachers, CAN definitely be replaced by a video! Read, a well made video designed to teach a concept and not simply inform. Khan Academy videos do just that. But like Sal Khan himself said, the teacher will remain a source of humanity that no system or video can replace. Good teachers know not to lecture and have a variety of strategies to engage students and allow for discovery-based learning to occur. Jerrid Kruse makes this point, a very good point. But he seems to be downplaying the benefit of Khan Academy as a great resource and tool. Videos will not replace a good teacher…but in absence of your rare great Socratic teachers, you need a good resource to help them succeed.

PROS of a flipped classroom
•    Scaling up teaching talent. If Teacher A rocks at teaching Photosynthesis in his own way, why does every other teacher have to re-invent the wheel?
•    Videos at home, are not as static as text books…the narrator can show expressions and enthusiasm for the content, make eye contact with the viewer, stress certain points and use intonation for great impact.
•    Videos can be edited, cleaned and refined. Videos don’t get colds or sore throats, they don’t have a lingering mortgage payment, etc
•    Students get the information and then practice in school where peer and teacher support is available
•    Excellent as a weekend task or for prepping students for a new project so focus in class can be on production rather than absorption

CONS of a flipped classroom
▪    Sandy has 6 classes. Each class has a video to watch. We have now assigned Sandy an extra 60-120 minutes of screen time above and beyond the time she spends on Facebook and Farmville and watching 90210…I mean OC…crap, I mean…oh hell I don’t even know what they are watching today. I no longer have cable
▪    Practice and skill acquisition, reflection and problem solving are all skills learned by doing work at home
▪    Less reading time. In a world of SMS, BBM (not for long) and LOL, any reading, even if from a text book will benefit a student
▪    Not all kids have the ability to watch videos online for whatever reason. No PC, archaic PC, no Internet, poor internet, etc.

Long story short, using videos to instruct students makes sense in many contexts. I use it in tech classes to teach Photoshop. Students can watch and work at their own pace. Pause when they need and fast forward when they already know that skill. They work on tasks while I walk around guiding them. I also use it to prep students for a project or task that we will be working on in class. They can watch a tutorial at home and be ready to work in class.

Some tutorials I make myself because I feel I can do it better than what is out there. I do it once and I have it all semester. It is a tutorial students can turn back to when they get stuck. Sometimes though I will use a pre-made tutorial by someone who is an expert. I encourage you to get into video tutorials whether you are showing it in class for 10 minutes or assigning it as homework.