This post was contributed by Lynne Greathouse. Read more about her at the bottom of the post.
I attend a professional development breakout session on the flipped classroom that was given by Jon Bergmann in January of 2014. The session was filled with good reasons to flip the classroom and easy ways to complete the process. Mr. Bergmann mentioned that although the method had many advantages for students, there were a few draw backs for teachers. Creation of the instructional videos was time consuming, and teachers needed to find ways to fill the newly available classroom time. It seemed a little overwhelming, but Mr. Bergmann suggested to try it, just in one class, once a week and see how it went. Empowered with Mr. Bergmann’s book, “Flip your classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day,” I made a plan to flip my chemistry classroom for a few lessons. Most students liked it, and some did not. I could see the sound pedagogy behind the method, but I needed time to explore the hardware and software that could improve video creation. Flipping the classroom went on the back burner for a while. When I returned to my teaching position at All Saints High School in Bay City, Michigan the following August, teachers were urged to create more engaging lessons and incorporate more reading and writing in all disciplines. I was beside myself because even though my students and I were working diligently every day, I could not pull them through all of the Michigan High School Content Expectations for chemistry in one year. Adding other activities was not helping me solve that problem. Then it hit me! If I flipped the classroom, I might be able to incorporate more engaging activities, include more reading and writing, and cover more objectives. I was suddenly more serious and energetic about the flipped classroom, and it became the topic of my Master’s thesis.
The central focus of the study was to measure the effect of the flipped classroom on lesson pace. Sub-questions that stemmed from the main focus included the effects of the flipped classroom on achievement, student-teacher interaction, and confidence. The participants in the six-week study were the students in my 3rd and 4th hour chemistry classes. This group included thirty-six 15 and 16 year olds. I used Doceri to create videos. The inexpensive app not only performs as a screen recorder, but can be an interactive whiteboard and remote control for a desktop computer. The lesson pace during the six week period of flipped instruction was compared to the lesson pace which was recorded in lesson plans from two years ago. Student achievement was monitored by comparing second marking period grades to grades at the end of the trial period. Class averages on chapter test before and after flipping were studied to clarify changes in achievement. I collected pre-study and post-study quantitative data on the number of times conversations were held with each student in the classroom setting. Qualitative data was also gathered on the topics of the conversations if they were regarding extra-curricular activities or details of home life. The quantitative and qualitative data were used to measure student-teacher interaction by amount and characteristic to determine changes in student-teacher relationships as a result of the flipped classroom. Students were asked to write a journal entry about their confidence and frustration in chemistry before and after the flipped classroom interval. Students were surveyed anonymously with written open and closed-ended questions about confidence in chemistry and student-teacher interactions previous to the commencement of the trial and following it.
The data was collected, compared and tabulated. The lesson pace to cover content was faster in the flipped environment on average of nearly 30% as seen in figure 1. During the pace determining period, there was addition of the review of biology concepts to prepare students for Northwest Evaluation Association/Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA/MAP) testing. Achievement data was viewed on an individual basis, as well as, the class averages. Fifteen out of 36 students increased the percentage of their marking period grade over the course of the flipped classroom experience. Ten of those students increased the percentage of their grade enough to reflect a change in their letter grade. Grade changes across several letter grades marked great improvement for three students. There was no change in the letter grade for 15 students. A decrease in grades was seen for 11 students, the letter grade of two of these students declined by more than one letter grade. The mean for preflip chapter test class averages was 76.9%; the corresponding mean for postflip class averages was 78.9%. Data shows a 2.0% increase in test scores from preflip to postflip environment. Overall, the class average grades show a slight decrease in achievement, but the test class averages show a slight increase as seen in figures 2 and 3. Results for student-teacher interaction showed an improvement when quantity and quality were considered. When comparing preflip and postflip communications per student per class on non-test days, there was increase from 1.4 to 2.3
communications per student per class period as seen in figure 4. Day 8 was test day. The decrease in number of communications could be due to the increase in confidence of students. When qualitative data is considered the results show that quiet and shy students were more likely to ask for help in the postflip environment and students began to share more personal details about home and extracurricular activities in the final two weeks of the study. Conversation themes revolved mainly around student fears, interactions with parents, and occasionally problem solving advice. Data showed that most students were frustrated with chemistry before the flip was instituted and agreed that flipping the classroom decreased frustration as
shown in figure 5. Sixty-seven percent of students agreed that they were more confident before a test after flipped lessons as seen in figure 6. In the surveys, students wrote that this confidence spilled over in to other school subjects and extra-curricular activities.
In today’s educational system, teachers are accountable to show student growth and meet standards set by the state and Common Core. In order to do this, teachers must use classroom time efficiently. The flipped classroom provided a 30% increase of pace. The creation of the caring environment followed by the soaring confidence was paramount in the flipped classroom. Although chemistry impacts everyday life of all students, only a few of the current chemistry students will choose chemistry as a career. However, the confidence they have gained through the flipped classroom will serve them well in any chosen field.
Lynne Greathouse has lived various places in Michigan all of her life, but she wasn’t always a teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology from Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) and was employed in various laboratory settings in Michigan for over 20 years. When she finally overcame her qualms to speak in front of crowds, she returned to Saginaw Valley to complete her teaching certificate. In 2011 she began her science teaching career at All Saints High School in Bay City, Michigan. Lynne was pleased with her career change and continued her education at SVSU to earn her Master of the Arts in Instructional Technology and E-Learning Degree. Lynne also has had the opportunity to be an Adjunct Professor at SVSU in the Medical Laboratory Science Program. She is the Team Manager for the FIRST Robotics Competition Team at All Saints and enjoys figure stating in her free time. She is grateful to family for all their support of her unique endeavors.