Thursday, December 20, 2012

Flipped Learning & Democratic Education: The Complete Report

I recently completed the Flipped Learning & Democratic Education research study as part of the integrative project (think "thesis") for my MA program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  If interested, here is a link to the complete study:

Flipped Learning & Democratic Education (Complete Study)

Here are some highlights from the research:

Democratic Elements of Flipped Learning
  • Personalization Through Differentiation, Asynchronous Pacing, & Student Choice
  • Social Interaction & Student Expression
  • Active & Experiential Learning Experiences
  • Equitable Access to Instruction 
  • Promotion of Student Initiative & Ownership of Learning
  • Development of Critical Thinking & Collaborative Problem Solving
Results From Student & Educator Survey
  • 78% of students have more frequent and positive interactions with their teacher.
  • 79% of students have more frequent and positive interactions with peers in class.
  • 80% of students have greater access to course materials and instruction.
  • 79% of students have a greater opportunity to work at their own pace.
  • 69% of students are more likely to have choice regarding what learning tasks they engage in.
  • 76% of students have more choice regarding how they demonstrate their learning.
  • 66% of students are more likely to engage in collaborative decision-making.
  • 70% of students are more likely to engage in critical thinking and problem solving.
  • 68% of students report that their teacher is more likely to take into account their strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
  • 83% of students report that their learning is more active and experiential.
  • 96% of teachers report that positive interactions with their students have increased.
  • 84%  of teachers report that interactions between student and student have increased.
  • 96% of teachers report that instruction has become more differentiated and personalized. 

      Brief Conclusion

      The flipped model, along with a supportive school environment that values 21st century skills, student inquiry, and effective leveraging of new technologies, has considerable potential and promise of improving and democratizing education in a profound way. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Two Views of Flipped-Mastery in Action

I recently came across the following video by Karl Lindren-Streicher (@kls4711) on his excellent blog which provides a look inside his flipped-mastery social studies class.   I recently posted a video of my own flipped-mastery course, so it was great to see what a fellow educator's class looked like from the inside.

Below is Karl's time-lapse video, which is followed by the one I created a few weeks ago.  You will notice some commonalities between the two, students are active and engaged!  We did not record "our best lecture," but instead captured students engaged in various learning tasks.  You will also notice that Karl is able to spend a considerable amount of the class time talking with students and helping them individually as they work through their assignments.  This is one of, if not the most, important advantage of flipped learning practices.

A Day in a Flipped History Class (by Karl Lindren-Streicher)

Flipped Mastery in Social Studies (by Tom Driscoll

Monday, December 3, 2012

Survey Results Are In: Flipped Learning & Democratic Education

The "Flipped Learning & Democratic Education" survey is complete and I am in the final revision stages of the research.  Until I post the completed study (hopefully in the next week or two), here are the results from both the student and educator surveys.  In all, they were completed by 203 students and 26 educators from across the nation. 

Student Survey Results 

Instructions provided to students on the live form:

“Responses below are based upon your experience in this course when compared to others.” 

Educator Survey Results

Educators Profiles

Instructions provided to educators on the live form:

“Since incorporating principles of flipped learning…”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flipped Learning & the Digital Divide

If you have been researching flipped learning, then you have probably come across an assertion that goes something like this...

"Flipping the class may be great for some, but due to the digital divide, this model penalizes those students who lack access to modern technology." 

I understand this point of view.  Yes, in many communities, there is a stark digital divide.  Some students have access to high-powered computers and smart phones with incredibly fast and reliable internet access.  Some simply do not.  

But I counter with this question:  "Do we then penalize those students who do have access to modern technology by refusing to change?  Is teaching like we did a half-century ago really preparing our students for today's world?"

This issue is, of course, not related solely to flipped learning, but all other approaches that leverage modern technologies. 

For brevity's sake, here are a few points to consider:
  1. Unleash your students' potential.  If students have the best technology available to them, let them leverage it the best way they (and you) know how.
  2. Incorporate technology into your class time wisely and efficiently.  For those students who lack access, your class can be at least one space where they can learn about and effectively use modern technology.
  3. Provide opportunities outside of traditional class time for students without access to use school resources.
And what if your school lacks the resources needed for students during or outside of class time? (An unfortunate reality for many of us.)

You must do everything in your power to remedy the issue.  Lack of student access to educational technology is a disturbing problem that persists across the nation.  We hear all the time about the US dropping in world rankings and how we need to improve, yet we fail to invest in our school districts to bring them into the 21st century.  In regards to this, here are a few things I think all of us can do.
  1. If there is a technology (or related) committee in your district, consider joining.  You can become a leader who helps shape and implement the necessary changes.
  2. Form a coalition of those who share your sentiments and have a vested interest in educating the community. They can be students, teachers, parents, administrators, or other community members.  
  3. Voice your concerns to your school leaders, the school committee or others who have the power to make the necessary changes.
  4. Utlilze third party resources through grants or fundraising (ex., DonorsChoose).
In short, the digital divide is not an excuse to do nothing.  For students who have access, unleash their potential.  For those who don't, provide as many opportunities as possible for them to use technology at your school.  If your school lacks the necessary resources, do your best to help get them.

Yes, I know, easier said than done.  Everyone's situation is different, and I don't claim to know how to address yours specifically.  I do know, however, that this is one of, if not the, most important educational issues of our time and that each of us should do our best to provide the best modern education possible for our students.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Look Inside a Flipped-Mastery Social Studies Class

One of the comments I heard from educators after presenting at least week's Flipped Learning Conference in Hartford was that they understood the concept, but could not picture how it would actually work in their classrooms.  I have had similar questions posed to me in the past via Twitter and in comments on this blog, so I decided to take some video of last Friday's world history class and put together a brief compilation.

Below is a look at a typical day in our flipped-mastery world history course.  There are three basic components of each class:
  • Warmup (warmup activity, debrief/discussion/modeling, progress monitoring, goal setting)
  • Unit Work Session (students work on mastering learning objectives)
  • Reflection (students reflect on their accomplishments for the day)

Take a look and tell me what you think!  Please post any comments or questions below, or contact me directly on Twitter  @Mr_Driscoll or

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Flipped Learning for the Humanities

I was honored to present and serve as a panelist at today's Flipped Learning Workshop in Hartford, CT.  Jon Bergmann opened with a great keynote presentation and the audience questions during the panel discussion were incredibly thoughtful.  We even had a student panel of 8th graders discuss their flipped learning experiences with us after lunch.  Those who participated in my afternoon breakout session brought up several interesting and relevant points, as well as suggestions for effectively incorporating flipped learning into humanities courses.  The day closed with a productive "edcamp" style session on the implementation of flipped-mastery. Overall, it was a very successful event that I was proud to be a part of!

Below is the google presentation that I used to outline today's breakout session.
*Formatting only seems to work correctly when viewed in full screen (lower menu bar button w/ 4 arrows).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flipped Learning & Democratic Education Research Study

As some readers may know, I am currently working on research as part of a graduate program through Teachers College of Columbia.  I have recently narrowed my focus to the following research question:

Does flipped learning help democratize education? 

True, this is a loaded question and can be interpreted in numerous ways.  For now, however, I have developed two surveys (one for educators, one for students) that will help shed light on this issue.

If you are an educator that incorporates aspects of flipped learning and would like to participate in the research, please complete the survey below.  Many educators have already completed the brief online survey, and for that I thank you mightily!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flipped-History Hangout #3

Below is the archive of our discussion on 10/24/12.

Participants: Karl Lindgren-Streicher (@kls4711), David Fouch (@davidfouch), and Tom Driscoll (@Mr_Driscoll).  

  • Flipped Learning Open House (How did it go?  How should we conduct the next one?)
  • Group Collaboration & Flipped Learning
  • Self-Pacing Strategies

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flipped Learning Open Houses Thursday 10/18

On Thursday, October 18th, three contributors to Flipped-History will be hosting Flipped Learning Open Houses.  As described by the Flipped Learning Network...

 "Experienced educators in Flipped Classrooms across the globe will open their doors to allow interested educators and students to see how Flipped Learning works and what happens when learning is turned on its head. Flipped Class Open Houses are intended to shed light on this approach to learning and encourage other teachers and administrators to give Flipped Learning a try in their own schools/districts."  

Up until recently, the flipped class approach has been adopted mostly by math and science educators.  This is your chance to observe the flipped learning models implemented in social studies classrooms!  Here is some brief information regarding the three flipped-history educators opening up their classrooms on October 18th. (More information can be found on the official site.) 

Tom Driscoll (Putnam, CT)
World History / 10th Grade
Putnam High School
152 Woodstock Ave., Putnam, CT 860 963-6905

Classroom Visits From 8:15-10:00, Q & A until 11.

Stop by the front office to check in, they will be expecting "flipped class" visitors. Proceed to room 45 for classroom visits and the Q & A session. 

Karl Lindgren-Streicher (San Mateo, CA)
World History / 9th Grade
Hillsdale HIgh School
3115 Del Monte Street  650 558 2699

7:45-9:13 am PT & 10:18-11:46 am PT = class (visit anytime during this section), available for questions etc from 11:46 am-1:55 pm PT

Stop at front office to sign in and get a campus map, will meet for most of the period in the library, not my classroom (classroom = 219)

David Fouch (Grand Rapids, MI)
US History, AP US History, AP Governemnt, AP World History
Forest Hills Northern

3801 Leonard   616-493-8600

Classroom Visits 7:40-9:00am and 11:00am-1:40pm

Park in Guest Parking in the front staff lot and enter through the main office. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flipped History Hangout 9.18.12

Three of us recently met on Google Hangouts to discuss the first few weeks flipping our social studies courses this school year. Karl (@kls4711), David (@davidfouch), and I (@Mr_Driscoll) based our discussion on the following topics:
  • Introducing the Flipped Class Model to Students/Parents
  • Implementing the Flipped Class (Mastery Pacing, Learning Management Systems, etc.) 
  • Student Reactions/Performance
We broadcast it live and opened it up for comments on Twitter.  We were able to address a viewer question  (asked through Twitter) during our chat which was great.  In the future, we will continue to let people know when these will take place and send out the broadcast link as soon as it is live.  If interested in asking any of us questions during the next chat, we would love to hear from you!

Here is the archived chat:


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Engaging Content for the History Flip

***This post was generously contributed by guest blogger Ryan Folmer.***

My old VoiceThread on the French Revolution

For the past several years I have been experimenting with different aspects of the flip model in my social studies classes. I think the key element of the model is to get students activated in the classroom (and throughout instruction) and to move away (as much as possible) from content delivery (something that new resources and technology can do just as well, or better.) I would much rather have my students learn an combination of content and skills through discussions, document analysis, historical investigations, projects and the like. This is really nothing new, John Dewey explored constructivist methods of education more than a century ago. Since that time, social constructivist theories and connectivist theories have expanded Dewey's ideas for the 21st century environment. As a result, the flip model brings together 21st century instruction techniques such as screencasting, social networking, and bring-your-own-technology and combines with with techniques such as project, problem, inquiry and passion-based learning.

Crash Course World History -  The French Revolution

As a result of the flip instruction model, a lot can be done in the history and social studies classroom. I began this process myself by moving to a more inquiry and project-based model in my world history classes and supplementing the content material by moving my traditional lectures to Voicethread for students to view on their own time. This worked pretty well, but I still had issues with students relying on lecture-based content delivery and my issues with overburdening students with homework.

History Teachers - "Revolution in France."

So, I continue to experiment and rethink how I will implement my instruction to best help all of my students. I know that my focus will further be on how authentic history learning can be employed both inside and outside of the classroom. I am particularly interested in reducing the amount of content consumed at home while at the same time making it more interesting. For my world history courses, this means utilizing one of my new favorite resources - Crash Course World History. The (what will soon be a series of 40) videos created by the team here do a great job covering the basics of most of what I want my students to know. I would also supplement this with the musical talents of the History Teachers - History for Music Lovers, a great set of topic specific videos based on recent pop hits.  It all comes back to the idea of teachers being great curators. As a result, I am thinking of reducing my VoiceThread screencasts to general overview of topics at the beginning of a unit, to topics not covered by the resources mentioned above, and for review purposes at the end of the unit. By bringing the other videos into VoiceThread or embedding them in Edmodo, I can still give my students a way to interact and ask questions of me. Plus, I know the creators of the videos listed above monitor their YouTube channels and answer student questions, adding another great interactive resource.

I think there are a lot of possibilites for increasing student engagement both with online content and what is done in the classroom. For more insights on this, read Tom Driscoll's post here.  In a bit of serendipity, we were thinking about similar issues at about the same time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rethinking the Screencast

 Many of us have spent a part of this summer reflecting upon our year and racking our brains to improve in 2012-2013.  Although we all know its not just about the videos, one of the many areas I would like to improve next year is the quality of my screencasts.  I made about 12 during the second semester last year, but after further research of flipping techniques (including Jon and Aaron’s book) and taking a course in hypermedia this summer, I realized that I was making several mistakes.  I will start with these:

  • My screencasts were too long.  Some ran about 20 minutes, a lot to ask regarding the attention span of the “YouTube generation."
  • Each slide contained too much information and too many visuals.  Students (actually any learners), can only process so much as once.  Including 5-8 lines of text, 3-4 visuals, and audio narration put too much strain on what theorists call “cognitive load."
  • The videos were not interactive in any way. They were primarily a digital version of the same passive lecture style that we have all come to accept but deep down despise.

Here are some of the changes I am making for this year’s screencasts, thanks in part to the new and improved Camtasia Studio 8.

  • Shorter videos that are overviews of one topic. For instance, instead of one 25-30 minute video on Ancient Greece, I am creating three separate 8-10 minute videos.
  • Switching from PowerPoint to Prezi, each slide will only include one line of text and one visual.  There will be more slides overall, but each will have a primary focus regarding content.  I also think this will add better “flow” to the presentation since each slide is only up for about 30-45 seconds.
  • Videos will be interactive using Camtasia 8’s quizzing and hotspot features.  Students will be prompted for their name and email before starting the quiz.  There will then be 5-6 questions embedded at different times in the video, and responses will be sent to me via a spreadsheet.  Not only will the scores be reported, but also the percentage of the video actually being viewed by the student.  Hotspots will be included that will be “clickable” links in the video to online resources relevant to the material covered in the video.

Here is the link to my first video using these methods (and Camtasia Studio 8):  

I’m sure once the school year starts, I will realize that there are 10 other changes I would like to make.  If you feel this way too, that’s ok.  As Jon and Aaron say in their book, its not whether its perfect, its whether its done by Tuesday… That being said, hopefully this will help you consider how to best create your screencast videos regarding student learning in the limited time-frames we have to produce them. 

If you have any comments or questions, as always, please comment below or contact me at the following:

*** IMPORTANT:  If students are viewing the interactive videos (hotspot / quiz) on an iPhone, make sure they download the TechSmith Smartplayer App, otherwise these features will not work correctly. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Research Proposals and Your Insights

 What research do you think would prove valuable regarding the flipped class “ideology” and social studies education?


This fall, I will be conducting research to complete my MA (Computing in Education) at Columbia University (Teachers College).   If you are wondering how a teacher living in RI is doing this, I was part of the first completely online program offered by the college.   In sum, the program is spectacular and I fully recommend others to consider enrolling if looking for an advanced degree in instructional technology or related fields.

My integrative project (think thesis) is going to be based upon the flipped class “ideology” and social studies education.  Here are some of the possible ideas I have floating around in my head:

  • Aligning “flipped methods” with solid research on learning and cognition (with a focus on humanities)
  • Developing  Instructional Design Model(s) for flipping social studies
  • Comparing the types of flipping (traditional, mastery, explore-flip-apply) regarding their utility in social studies education
  • Incorporating PBL (both “Project-Based” and “Problem-Based”) into a flipped environment
  • Designing the physical (and digital) learning spaces in a flipped social studies classroom.

*** This is not meant to be a study that sets a “control” and “experiment” group that compares test scores.  I would rather focus more on theory and design of learning environments.

As you can see, I am a bit all over the map regarding this.   Since I have learned so much from you all on Twitter and through this blog, I am again reaching out to you for input, guidance, wisdom, and inspiration!  

What other topics (or those mentioned above) would you find useful in moving the conversation forward? 

Please comment below or contact me directly, it is greatly appreciated!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer 2012

***This post was generously contributed by guest blogger David Fouch.***

This summer I spent time finishing up graduate classes, relaxing, chasing around a 15 month old (Cooper), and learning a lot about flipping. I was extremely disappointed that I was not able to attend the FlipCon this past June.  It would  have been 3 days of networking and creating relationships with fellow flipclass teachers around the country.  Luckily, my Twitter friend @deliabush came to rescue and let me know about Muskegon ISD bringing in Jon Bergmann for a 2 day flipclass conference.  

The conference was an awesome experience to gain further knowledge from Jon Bergmann and other flipclass teachers from West Michigan.  If anybody ever gets a chance to go and listen to Jon speak you need to take full advantage.  These 2 days left me feeling overwhelmed with the amount information I received. 

Day 1 - Was a lot of review of philosophy and technology.  The philosophy part was not new to me as I have been researching the flipclass method for over a year.  Where I began to feel overwhelmed was he discussion about technology for the flipclass.  I never realized how many different programs you can use to build and create videos for class.  We were introduced to SnagIt, Screencast-0-Matic, Camtaisa Relay, Camtaisa Studio, Sophia, Moodle, Display Recorder, and Notability were all brought to my attention.  All the products are phenomenal and easy to use.  

I understand I am not able to use all these products so I made a decision and I am going to use the following resources this school year: Camtasia Studio and Moodle.  These products will give my students the best chance for success in US History and AP US History. I would also recommend everybody to use Camtasia Studio as your source for video creation.  I spent most of the morning using Camtasia Studio 8 and I was able to create videos with half the time compared to version 7 of Camtasia.   

Day 2 - Let the overwhelmed feeling begin.  I have never been to a conference where I walked away with so many resources and ideas.  The morning was spent watching some videos and discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I realized that my videos that I created last year were boring.  I just want to formally apologize to all my students last year in APUSH.  I know I can do better.  I will be making major changes to my videos for this year. I am going to buy a high quality microphone and I am going to create more videos with my colleague Judy.  

The end of last school year I made a decision that I was going to introduce Moodle in my classes in the fall.  The only thing I new about Moodle was it was going to allow students to take online assessments and allow me to go a little more paperless in the classroom.  After seeing Jon give a brief presentation on his Moodle account and how it helped in the flipclass, I am sold on it.  Don't get me wrong it is going to take me a while to get my account set up and working but it will be worth it in the long run.   

In the afternoon I sat at a round table discussion with Jon, Doug Ragan (@dragan39), and Andrew Steinman (@steinman) and we discussed a variety of topics that deal with flipclass.  I was able to ask questions and listen to stories from Jon about issues he dealt with in hist first few years of flipping.  During this time I was able to see their Moodle pages and they helped me build my Moodle page.  Both Doug and Andrew are experts with Moodle and owe them a huge Thank You.  

This was the best conference I have ever attended and looking forward to implement a lot of the things I learned in my classroom this year.  It was great to meet so many people face to face instead of talking to them through Twitter.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Flipped History Hangout 7-12-12

On Thursday, six of us met on a Google+ Hangout to discuss issues related to flipping the social studies class. Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Framing the flipped history class in terms of learning theory / pedagogy.
  • Planning to flip next year - mastery? ‘Flipping 101’? Other?
  • Classroom structures / norms that ensure success in a flipped history class.
  • Explore-Flip-Apply in History.

It was streamed live and archived here (video below). Other than a few technical glitches (including a sound out of nowhere that prematurely ended our discussion), it was a great first hangout for `history flippers! 

Please comment below with any initial thoughts/reactions/questions that you may have related to this discussion, we would love to have your input and keep the conversation going.

We will try to get the word out ahead of time for the next discussion so that those who would like to view/comment live can do so. The next chat is tentatively scheduled for the 2nd or 3rd week in August.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Social Studies Flipped Class Community

First, thank you to everyone who has contributed to the SS Flipclass Community form!  At the time of writing this, we have about 40 educators who have entered contact & website info in the last week alone.  Here is the link:

Social Studies Flipped Class Community

A couple of quick things:

1.  If you are a social studies teacher who is (or at least considering) flipping and have yet to enter your info, please consider doing so.  If you are unsure of how to edit the form, please let me know. 

2.  Contact and connect with the other social studies teachers!  One of the first steps I took was following those who entered info on Twitter.  This is a quick and simple way to build your PLN.    The email addresses are also helpful for those of us who want to discuss things in further depth than 140 characters may allow.   For instance, I have had the opportunity to discuss the Explore-Flip-Apply model with Karl Lindgren-Streicher this past week.  (Great blog posting about the proposed model here.)

3.  Look under the school column to see if any other social studies teachers are flipping in your geographic area.  It would be great to observe other teachers or collaborate in-person if possible.

4. I have added a final column since originally posting the spreadsheet for us to provide links to our screencast videos.  I know that many of us have not had time to develop a library, but for those who have them posted, please share!  Also, do not worry if they are not perfect, no ones are.  It would be helpful for all of us to see the various ways that teachers are using the screencast technology.

5.  If you have a blog, consider creating a "blog roll" of the social studies blogs entered in the spreadsheet.  This would be an easy way to see the reflections of others who are implementing the flipped class approach in ss. 

6. If there is more information that would be helpful that is not currently in the spreadsheet, please let me know.  You could also just add a column since everyone had editing access.

7.  Lastly, spread the word!  Tweet, email, post, etc.  The more people enter the info, the greater chances of engaging in meaningful collaboration. 

I look forward to working with those of you in the flipped social studies community.