Monday, September 2, 2013


My Biology students watched their first "flipped" video of the year last week.  I have flipped my classes for two years, but this is the first year I've intentionally used the Explore-Flip-Apply model.  We spent the first week of class in the "Explore" phase:  spending time down by our local river observing organisms, taking photos, and asking questions about the observations.  When I felt the students were ready for the "Flip" phase, I stepped through the majority of the first video with them in class.  The video was an 8-minute introduction to food chains and food webs.

I gave the students an outline to help guide their note-taking while watching the video.  Secondly, I described how to access the videos (I use Schoology for my classes), and how to enlarge, pause, and rewind the videos.  Finally, I modeled how they could watch the video and take notes at the same time.  Their homework for the night was to finish the remainder of the video and fill out the "Feedback Form" I had also posted on Schoology.   

On the Feedback Form, one of the things I asked the students to do was rate the video on how it helped their learning on a 1-3 scale (1 = didn't help, 3 = helped a lot).  Finally, the students explained their rating of the video.  The responses to this section were very eye-opening for me, so I thought I needed to share them with my fellow flippers.  I have included any comments that specifically addressed the use of video, both positive and negative.  Also, I left all of the comments exactly as the students wrote them, so please try to ignore the grammar and spelling issues!  (My reflections on the feedback follow all of the comments.)  

  • I don't like it a lot because you have to go online and watch it. 
  • I felt that it was better than being taught in a classroom because there were no distractions. 
  • All I had to do was pay attention. 
  • The video helped a lot. 
  • I got to see some examples and I like that. 
  • Would like to do this more helps me so much. 
  • I chose a 3 because it helped me that I could pause the video when i needed to, I could go at my own pace. 
  • I would like to actually learn in class and listen and have more hands on things not just listening to someone talk. 
  • I chose three because in the video, I'm able to stop and go back. This way I get a better understanding of it. Also, I was able to do this on my own time and take all the time that was needed to finish the task. 
  • It really helped me to understand this video because pictures or examples are usually pretty helpful to me when learning something new or different. 
  • You talked at a perfect speed, and I only had to pause it a couple times. 
  • I enjoyed watching the video because I liked the visual aids in the video. It helped when you drew the lines to show how the food chain works. I also liked how you took everything step by step. 
  • It was easier to understand the concept better. 
  • I found it better than sitting in class and listening because I can pause the videos. 
  • The commentary was easy to understand. 
  • The pictures really helped me understand how everything fit together. 
  • It was very detailed and I could visualize it instead of just hearing it. 
  • it was better than taking notes and we got an under standing on how the food webs flow. 
  • It was easy to work at home by myself and it was easier not to get distracted by friends. 
  • It was very explainable I thought it did well at supporting the information with a great base start to form a good video to learn from. 
  • I feel that these videos are going to make a bigger impact on my learning ability. 
  • I chose a three because it really did help me understand, and it made me feel like I was still in the classroom learning with you. 
  • Also, i am not sure if I like this way of teaching better or the class room teaching because its easier to ask questions that way, but here you can pause, and go back on the video. This makes it easier to write things down i spoke truthfully and honestly. 
  • I could pause the video and write down notes when I needed to resulting in me not missing any of the information given. 
  • It was a big help because thats how i learn best I learned many things and it was very understandable. 
  • i understood it for the most part. I learned alot of things but got lost a few times. the video did help because if i dont understand something i can easily just pause the video and watch it again. But also if i have a question about something i cant ask cause well its a video, but i also can message you and ask. 
  • I really think that the video helped me understand this better. I think it helped because I as able to stop the video when I needed to, and I was able to go back and listen to it a few times to really understand the concept. 
  • Everything was explained well it was easy to follow along and answer questions.

There were only two students who expressed any negative feelings toward watching the video.  This is pretty typical in my experiences with flipping; most students like watching videos (more than I would guess like sitting in a real-time lecture).  As a teacher, you're never going to find a mode of learning that satisfies every student.  I am confident that although not every single one of my students prefers watching videos, they will learn more as a class in this mode.  Also, the concerns that students have regarding getting online to watch videos and asking questions are common "beginning of the year" worries that are quickly put to rest as students get a better idea about how these issues are addressed in the class.  Students learn that there are multiple ways to get at the content and ask questions - it's just in a different manner than they're used to.

Regarding the positive comments, it never fails to amaze me how often I hear students say they like the videos because they can watch them at home where they are "less distracted."  It reminds me how easy it is for students to be thinking about a whole host of other issues, usually social, while in school - despite how "quiet" the classroom might be.  When they watch a video at home, they can find a comfortable, non-threatening environment and really focus on the content.  I had one student last year tell me, "I loved watching your videos!  I just sat down on my couch, put on my headphones, and grabbed a snack to eat while I learned."  I also find that the ability of students to pause, rewind, and re-watch videos is very compelling for them.  I have many students who typically struggle to keep up in typical lecture classes that are so grateful for the chance to consume content at their own pace in Biology class.  It truly reduces their stress-load and gives them the confidence that they can handle this course.  

I don't think I'll include video rating on every one of my feedback forms, but I'm planning on using them every once in a while to continue getting snapshots of how this format is working for students.  Not only does it help me to modify and improve my teaching methods, but it also lets students know that I value their opinions.

1 comment:

  1. I have feedback forms at the end of my mastery learning cycles but hadn't considered having it part of my post-video google form. What a great way to get in the moment feedback. Thanks for the idea.