Monday, August 20, 2012

#flipclass chat

So I've known about the #flipclass chat for a while, but have been too overwhelmed to jump in. After a few weeks of lurking, I finally joined tonight. Wow. I didn't even contribute much, maybe five tweets at most, and yet I found the conversations stimulating, invigorating, and reenergizing as I come into the homestretch of Summer.

As I'm heading into my first full year flip, and reflect on my 1/2 year flip this past Spring, I realize the one thing that was more valuable to me than any resource in my classroom....the resources out there...out in cyber space...the people out there...out in cyber space.

I came across the idea of a flipped class by accident. I was looking for ways to integrate technology into my classroom, and happened upon an article about it. Which led me to another article....and another...and another....and all of a sudden it was 4am and I couldn't sleep because I knew I had stumbled on to something amazing.

Next came the blogs, teachers, from all corners of the country...all corners of the globe....sharing how they were incorporating the flip. Disseminating information, sharing resources, all for the betterment of the students. Twitter and the #flipclass chat is yet another extension of this.

I think this is what I have come to love about the flip class more than anything else- the community of educators it has put me in touch with. People that I would never have the pleasure to interact with in my daily life otherwise, have become my mentors, my collaborators, my teachers, and my global colleagues.

Teachers get a lot of bad press these days. We're lazy. We only work until the bell rings. We only care about raises and money. We're not in it for the kids, we're in it for the paycheck. How dare we call ourselves "professionals." The attacks go on and on.

I would challenge people that hold those beliefs to do a simple search of "flipped class" on Google. Check out some blogs. Lurk on Monday nights for the #flipcclass chat. What they will see is enthusiastic and engaged professionals who are connecting with others purely to share ideas and help better their students' experiences in their classrooms.

They are not prompted to do this from a boss, or by a contract. This is not part of what they get paid to do. This reaching out to others, this evolving and learning as a global community, is done purely in the name of education and doing what's best for the kids.

In history class I often talk about "grass roots" movements. We discuss the role they have played from the dawn of time forward, and how a few individuals really can incite change. We discuss how their agendas vary from awareness to policy change. To me the flipped class truly is a grass roots movement. Creating an awareness that the institution needs changing, and providing a pragmatic way to do it. Its not about the videos, its not about the newest "trend" in education. Its about doing right by the kids, and creating a classroom that inspires learning, and prepares them for the world we live in. Its about changing the way we teach, and the way we as teachers learn. Its about rethinking our craft and recreating ourselves as needed.

You don't have to flip your class to do this, great teachers do it every day with no flip involved. If you do want to flip though....if you do think this might just be the thing you were looking for...the thing that keeps you up until 4am too excited to sleep...with too many ideas floating through your head...

...join the conversation. Mondays 8pm EST  #flipclass.

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