written by Yahna Kawa’a (TCC 2017 guest blogger)
A worthwhile session for teachers and parents of elementary through high school students, administrators anyone interested in technology-facilitated learning in the 21st century classroom, Kristel de Leon’s research project is proof that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. This enthusiastic public school teacher observed that her fifth grade students consistently struggled with one particular math concept: multiplying fractions. Think back to your fifth grade class. Do you remember learning how to multiply fractions? If the words numerator and denominator sound familiar, good for you!! But, if you’re like me, then math class was kind of a blur. Had my math teacher incorporated innovative teaching practices like the one described in this session, perhaps I would have developed a fondness for the subject. Kristel’s action research project described how she “flipped” her classroom and evaluated how interactive video instruction impacted attention and learning of fraction multiplication. Using videos that she located or created herself using play posit, Kristel turned passive video instruction into a responsive learning environment for her students. The flipped classroom (FC) model is a relatively new practice. Traditional teacher centered instruction (e.g., lecture) is flipped so that instead of passive listening in the classroom, students view pre-recorded video lectures for homework then the following day participate in classroom activities linked to the video instruction. Students spend time working collaboratively to solve a problem related to the content in the video lecture at school while the teacher observes and facilitates the learning and discussion. In an FC model classroom teachers are no longer the sage on the stage, but instead serve as the guide on the side.
Kristel highlights some of the features of the FC model including, student feedback, data to drive instruction and creating a collaborative problem solving environment. “Students found the new form of learning entertaining and the embedded questions helped to keep their attention, provided positive reinforcement making them more accountable for their learning.” Kristel revealed how difficult it was to “release responsibility to my students and let them teach and learn from each other”. She said that it was more valuable though to give them wait time, because they came up with strategies that were different. It is important to “praise the process not the end product”. Her students learned valuable skills through the FC model including, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. “Letting go of the reins giving students more freedom to practice these skills” was so important. Kristel intends to share her video lessons with her colleagues and plans to apply the model to her language arts lessons in the future. Kristel de Leon is a Master’s student in the Department of Learning Design and Technology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and is a 5th grade teacher on Maui. She is passionate about her subject matter and dedicated to helping her students learn and succeed by incorporating innovative practices into her math classes.