I teach mostly High School Juniors. I find that the analogies and examples that they relate to the most tend to relate to relationships – parent/child, older sibling/younger sibling, or (most powerful) significant others. For example, One of my favorite examples in US History involves the American Colonists, Salutary Neglect, and how they just want their parents to treat them like adults. Every year I have 2-3 students that move out of their parents house and they laugh like crazy at my punchline which is usually a variation on ‘leave me alone!… (check my wallet) oh, hey, can I come over for dinner’. 

This is a really long set up for the way I explain the Flipped Classroom to my students. In my Flipped experience when students are asked to take notes on recorded material students either spend way to much time taking notes or they don’t complete them at all. There are several reasons for this: 

  1. They try to write down EVERY word said and on screen.
  2. They are distracted by phones, TVs, parents, siblings.
  3. Limited internet access at home.
  4. They start well, but become disengaged as the notes progress. (Because of 1 or 2)

I’ve developed a few game mechanics to compare these issues. First my students are encouraged to use my QWIQR notes. This is intended to increase the speed of the note taking while turning the base ‘knowledge’ activity into a higher order ‘evaluation’ skill. Secondly, I include a narrative throughout my recorded material (my History Underground storyline). Still, even with these engagement tools I found many students complaining about the time it took to complete their notes. After conferencing with several students I realized that they were still stuck in an old understanding of lecture/note-taking. The problem often boiled down to the fact that they were overly concerned with getting EVERYTHING on the page when I was just asking for them to quickly get the big ideas and a general overview. I had to come up with an analogy to explain what I was looking for. Naturally I turned to dating…

The Flipped Classroom recordings are like going on a first date. You might have a little familiarity with the date (maybe you know a bit about the person you are going to dinner with), or it might be totally blind (your BFF hooked you up with this total dreamboat). Either way the first date is a ‘get to know you activity. You are. It going to learn everything you want or need to know about that person in the 2 hours you are together that night. But if you pay attention you will figure out what questions to ask on the second date. You’ll get to know a general idea of the person’s character, interests, and quirks. You also know it would be rude to text you friends or call your mom or put in earbuds while on the date. Most importantly you know that your friends will demand details later.

Flipped Classroom recordings are no different. They are first dates. You will not know everything after a 20 minute video but pay attention and you will get a big picture idea of the topic. You should also realize the earbuds, TV, texting and other distractions would be rude and disrupt the learning. Most important is to get good questions about the material because in class you will get a second and third date with the content and you good friend (the teacher) will eventually ask for details. 

I figure this is a fair analogy. After all I do LOVE history? πŸ€“πŸ˜πŸ˜‰