Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flipping Art Education

Flipped instruction is something that has been gaining interest in my district for the last couple of years. Flipped instruction is when you use a combination of online and face-to-face interaction to deliver content. There is a variety of methods to this and rather than re-explain, you can see them here.

One question that comes into play when thinking about Art Education, is how can you flip it? Or maybe better: Why would you want to? Art class is so hands-on, what really can flipping instruction do to benefit instruction in an art room. Here are 3 ways to Flip Art Education:

1. Sub plans: Nothing is worse than trying to prepare Art sub plans. More likely than not, the person coming in to take over has little to no experience using Art materials and the students are probably going to have a hard time figuring out what to do without your guidance. A couple of ways to combat this through the Flip model is recording a video of yourself explaining what needs to happen for the Sub to show students (or if the kids have access to computers, they can watch it at their own pace). That way they can see what you want them to do and the expectation is more clear than a sub trying to decipher your notes. I also tell students to email me when I am out if they hit a snag in a project and I try to talk them through it via email. It makes the students feel in control and me at ease when I am not there.

2. Snow Days: Today was the 5th one in my district. I am not complaining, but it does mean that I have lost a week's worth of instructional time with students. Instead of completely giving up on a lesson or presentation that you were planning to give on a Snow Day, you could create a video recording of it and email it to parents/students to view before returning to class the next day. I try to keep videos like this to ten minutes or less. It never takes the place of me being there in class and not all students will take the time to view it, but it does offer students the opportunity to get prepared for when we return to class the next day. Those students who do view can then take the lead in explaining the process and help others get on track with what we are doing.

3. Differentiate Pacing: What do you do with the student who is always ready to move onto the next assignment? What about students who are gone on vacation or sick? One thing you could offer is the resources for the assignment online. I house all of my projects on our Moodle page and students can check out what we are going to to do next when finishing their current projects. Sometimes I will make videos available that showcase an artist or go through a presentation I or other students have prepared. This allows students to move ahead when they are ready or get caught up if they are behind.

Imagine less time lecturing or presenting about Artists in class and more time for making Art. What might happen when students share their learning with parents by watching those presentations at home? Think of the potential this type of model offers the Art classroom when it is employed effectively. There are many tools you can use to create screen castings or videos. Two I frequent are Camtasia Relay by TechSmith and Quicktime on the Mac.

If you are interested in learning more about this type of instructional model and would like a chance to talk technology with other forward-thinking teachers, check out the upcoming PD at the GRAM this Saturday - it is only $5 for MAEA members. If you have used this type of instruction in your classroom, what are some tips or tricks you can offer others? If you have not, do you think you will? What are some potential issues that you see from using this strategy?