Blended Learning is when you take face-to-face (f2f) learning AND online learning and merge them together in some way to, hopefully, get the best of both worlds! This “new” craze is also called the flipped classroom. When I first started teaching in 2009, I all too often fell prey to utilizing the computer as a reward to getting work done or good behaviors. Eventually, I bumped up the usage of the internet for figuring out bus routes or recipes to make on Friday’s (students do the research with teacher led instruction). Now with this concept of flipping my classroom and asking students to learn at home, watch a short “lecture” or “how to” video, I can utilize classroom minutes in order to practice with them the skills that were taught at home on the internet!!! I can have more time to generalize the skills that I was spending hours on in the classroom, now in the community. In the book, How People Learn, the authors state, “New developments in the science of learning also emphasize the importance of helping people take control of their own learning… These practices have been shown to increase the degree to which students transfer their learning to new settings and events” (2000, 12). Best practice for students with moderate to severe disabilities is to teach/learn a skill in a controlled environment then go out into the real world and practice the same skills there, this is known as generalization or as the authors put it, transfer.
I have been slowly adding new videos to my catalog of classroom lessons to send home for students to watch on their own time and come to class prepared to do work, what would normally be homework, in the classroom. This has allowed me to differentiate my classroom even better than I was doing it before. It has also allowed for the students to have more time cooking, creating in the kitchen, traveling in the community and learning the public bus system and going out and learning how money is used in the real world. In Finkel’s article Flipping the script in K-12, he mentions that Special Educators are major supporters of flipping the classroom as teachers are differentiating their lessons better, students can watch on their own time and stop or slow down video to understand concepts being taught. I am in full agreeance with this. If it wasn’t for flopping my classroom I would not be able to have as much individual time with each of my students, go out in the community as often and give students the time they need to transfer skills to the real world.
Following is a short tutorial I made using Camtasia. This video shows students how to use Google Maps to get from our school to Walmart, we go every week to do our grocery shopping there. In the past it took my students 1-2 years to get the hang of using Google Maps and to be able to transfer the skills learned. When I introduced the flipped video and gave videos like this for homework every week, most students picked up using Google Maps to go to Walmart within 6 months and they also were transferring the skills learned here to get to other locations in their community. One student taught herself how to get to her mother’s work on Saturdays so that she could eat lunch with her. FUN!
What kind of lessons are your flippin’ out on? Share them below. Post your YouTube Channel so that I can follow you. I’m currently working on getting my videos from one YouTube Channel to another channel. But you can follow me and see what else I post, MsSansing215.
Donovan, S., Bransford, J., & Pellegrino, J. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368
Finkel, E. (2012). Flipping the script in K-12. District Administration. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/flipping-script-k12