Saturday, March 17, 2012

"I'm sick of the videos"

Have you heard your students say this?

I had a conversation with one of my students this week and that was one of his comments.  I tried to probe and ask why so I could get some more context and reasons behind it to find out WHY he was "sick of the videos".  Here is what he said:

1) It's every night
2) It's the same thing over and over again

I asked him to think of his previous math classes and describe what his homework was like in those classes.  In "Traditional" classes, the same thing could be said about practice problems from the textbook in math class

1) It's every night
2) It's the same thing over and over again

Some of my students really seem to struggle with that.  They feel that because the videos are new and different, they have an even bigger right to complain about it.  If I taught traditionally and gave them 30 minutes of practice problems to do every night, I really don't think I would hear complaints even though it would still be every night and "the same" thing over and over again.

I am trying to help my students see more and more how they can use the Flipped Classroom to take charge of their learning and manage their time.  I want them to see that:

1) It doesn't have to be EVERY night.  I give them the list of videos for the week (usually 3-5 a week).  They can watch them whenever they want.  I have several students who have already watched half of next week's videos. I give them daily goals of where they need to be, but they have to have all the videos watched and WSQ's done by the end of the week.  Many students just choose to do one video a night and thus, yes, it is EVERY NIGHT.  But it doesn't have to be.
2) The videos are there to provide support and instruction.  There are some videos that are "mandatory", but usually those are only the introduction to a unit.  If you can complete the problems on your own, just use the videos to see what problems are "assigned" and then check your answers at the end of the videos to make sure you are doing it right.  If you can figure it out on your own, you don't HAVE to watch the videos.  Just make sure you are doing it right :)
[edit thanks to Michelle R below]
3) They can learn in other ways besides the videos.  They can use the textbook, other online resources via Google, YouTube, etc to make sense of the content.  When I find good resources that aren't created by me, I share them.  However, the students can look for those resources themselves as well.  They can take full ownership.

Do you hear similar complaints from your students?
How do you respond?

*This post stems from one conversation with one student.  However, I am sure it applies to other students as well, so I do want to think through it and come up with possible solutions.


  1. Crystal, I think your reflections above (in response to your student's question) are spot on!

    One of the major benefits of the flipped classroom is the autonomy it allows students into how and when they learn. The videos do not "have" to be every night, as you explained above. As in any course, there is a certain quantity and depth of curriculum which must be taught and learned; often the time required for this extends beyond our 45 minutes together every day. BUT, with the flipped classroom, students can plan and pace their out-of-class learning in a way that works for them and their schedule. Right now, we have at least 3-6 students missing class every day for some extracurricular event (the joys of the spring semester at a small high school!). With online learning resources and instructional videos, students are able to plan ahead and work this learning into their weeks in ways that were previously impossible. This has been a huge benefit of implementing the "flip".

    If your student is struggling with this "monotony", maybe suggest that they re-work their own schedule -- why not double-up on videos one night, so you won't have any to watch the next? Or, suggest a change in delivery -- "Maybe one night you should watch the video and the next night you could read through textbook instruction/examples or google the topic online?" I think it is important to "shift the monkey" back to the student in this case -- the flipped classroom allows for this freedom of time and learning method...if a student will take advantage of this!

    Another discussion that I've had with my classes centers around how the "flip" allows our class time to be much richer, deeper, and less monotonous. In my eyes, this is the real value of the flip. Because we are shifting the direct content delivery out of the classroom (through instructional videos), we are opening up our class time for more explorations, projects, applications, and discussions of the content -- CLASS is different every day! So, while the "homework" piece of this may feel monotonous for some students, I wouldn't trade that for the rich learning time we gain in class because of the flip.

    Just some thoughts from a rookie flipper. :)

    Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Hi Michelle! Thanks for your comment. I am so with you on your comments. I don't think our students are really used to most of the things we are asking of them right now, but hopefully they will come around.

      I like your suggestion of having the students turn to the textbook or google (or even YouTube) to find the content. All I require of my students is that the sample problems that are covered in the videos are completed, whether they have to watch me do them, they do them by themselves, or they find another way to do them (own research). I don't think most of them have thought outside the box at this point, so I will use some of your suggestions this next week.

      In terms of your class time, what sort of explorations and application projects have you done in your math classes? I am still struggling to find more "non-monotonous" activities to do in my classroom besides the discussion (which can be different every day by nature), practicing the material, and now making some videos. I have some hands-on activity practice, but not much else.

      Thanks for your thoughts :) I'm still a rookie, too, so all the learning we can do together is helpful for all of us!

  2. Hi Crystal,

    I think one of the best features of your flip class is that it allows students to get ahead. You are absolutely right that "it doesn't have to be even night". The student has the power to change what he/she doesn't like about it but hasn't done so yet.

    Great job, keep it up!


    1. Hi Scott,
      You're right... I think I may have to keep reminding students that the pace of their class is in their own hands.
      I'm still thinking this is going to be easier in September starting fresh with a whole new school year and not doing so many changes in the middle of the year :)

      We'll keep pressing on!

      It's great to read how your first week is going as well :) Keep it up!

  3. Hi Crystal,

    I was hearing something similar from a few of my students, I too pointed out that it doesn't have to be *every* night. One observation I noticed though was that the students that were complaining the most about how "boring" it was watching videos, were also the ones not consistently doing it. For these students I sent home a text book (I don't really use the book with my classes) and gave them a "reading schedule" with section reviews that they could complete in lieu of watching the videos. Needless to say when faced again with "traditional" homework they chose the videos. Any time students encounter something new, they feel more at liberty to complain, I think continuing to present the flip in an enthusiastic and positive way will stop the negativity from turning into a lack of productivity. I too feel that flipping right from September will solve many of these problems.


    1. Hi Elizabeth - I completely agree with your quote "Any time student encounter something new, they feel more liberty to complain". That is exactly what I am seeing with some of my students. I just need to keep staying positive and reinforcing the positive results and aspects of the change and they will come around eventually :) I am VERY excited as well to see how it goes STARTING like this in September :)

      May the flipping continue! :)



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