Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Creating Accountability in Flipped Science Classrooms

Creating Accountability in Flipped Science Classrooms

How do I make the students watch the videos?
The flipped learning model is not a silver bullet and there will still be students who do not do the homework.  There is no magic elixir or special potion that can be used to solve this problem.  There will be problems with the internet.   Mom and Dad will be using the computer.   Viruses will attack.  And of course dogs will eat hard drives. Like anything else when it comes to education it all comes down to who will be held accountable and how will that be accomplished.

The best way to approach accountability in the classroom; is to create a student centered environment where the students have both control and ownership of their learning.  Develop an attitude that learning is a process to be valued not for the grade achieved but for the knowledge gained.  Impress upon students that learning is the one skill that is guaranteed to be part of their life for the rest of their life.

BER Flipped Classroom presenter Corey Papastathis uses the concept of CANT to develop this accountability with his students.   

C - Choice  (videos and assessment)
A - Accountability
N - No Excuses
T - Three Before Me


C – Choice

Provide choices for the students to meet their responsibilities for learning.  Options in the videos they watch, the articles they read or the media used to acquire knowledge. Provide a bank of options for students to utilize and encourage them to explore other options on their own. 



Provide choices in the methods used to demonstrate their understanding of the content and ways the standards have been achieved.  Assessment opportunities should be both formative and summative and demand that students be capable of dealing with higher order thinking.



In providing students with choices, they can take ownership of the process and mean by which they learn.

A – Accountability

Educators must hold students accountable for the information and content delivered outside of class.  Students must produce something that demonstrates their completion of the task.  The danger is when educators fall back on lower order questioning students can simply borrow answers from their peers without actually completing the expected learning process.

Examples could include: developing questions for the next class review of the material, creating or responding to a blog post on the content, presenting further research on the topic, developing a lesson for the class, teaching a peer, what they learned.

Gary Philips of the National School Improvement Project, found in his research on what the brain remembers thirty days after what we have been taught.  His findings demonstrated that we remember 92% of what we have taught someone else.  Peer to peer teaching is the most effective method of solidifying understanding and synthesizing material in long-term memory.



Louis Mangione – “Dynamic Teaching in the Block Schedule”
N – No Excuses

To create an environment of accountability there must be no exceptions to the expectations. Each student must be held accountable. There must be an understanding that each student has a responsibility to themselves and to their classmates to be prepared with the content knowledge necessary for the entire class to succeed.  That is coming unprepared students are not only cheating themselves but they cheat their lab partners and the entire class by not being able to participate fully in the class.

However, educators must provide students with ample opportunities and choice to be successful.  Students must have a variety of media and other sources available to attain the content knowledge.  Options must be available that serve each students needs, whether that be offering time outside of class to view videos before or after school, in the library.  Are videos burned to DVD’s for students to watch through DVD players or zip drives made available for students without internet connections at home.

The No Excuses mantra does not only extend to the students but also to the educator as a teacher facilitator. 


T – Three Before Me

Students must take charge of their own learning by developing the skills necessary to problem solve and move forward when a rough patch comes along.  Therefore the rule must be check three resources for possible solutions before asking the teacher. Students can ask each other, read the text, check their notes, review the media, watch an additional video etc… etc….  Students must build an attitude of self-advocacy, and responsibility for their learning. 



The teacher facilitator must in turn take an authentic role as the “guide on the side”. Do not provide the easy out for the student.  It may be easier to just move them along, but this is a disservice to the process of learning.  It cripples the student as they try to take of their own the process of learning.