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Excuse Me: I think I'm Having a Revolution

This is a guest post by Carolyn Durley, I have been impressed with her writing.  She has a great deal to add to the discussion about the flipped class.  You can follow her blog by going to:  http://flipperteach.wordpress.com/ or follow her on twitter @okmbio


One year ago I embarked down a path without even so much as a hint on where it was going to take me.

I did know however beyond a shadow of a doubt, that something was “broken”  in my classroom. After 20 years, the tried and true tools in my teacher tool box were no longer working.

Frustratingly, I could not even fully articulate exactly what was broken, it was more just a gut feeling I had. The bottom line however, I was investing an immense amount of energy in maintaining the classroom as I had known it. I was fighting hard to hold on….and loosing. 

I had seen the inspiring, philosophical and viral videos of the week (don’t get me wrong I LOVE those), tasted the flavours of the month and been peppered with all the buzz words; UBD, PBL, Rigor, AFL, Scaffolding, Collaboration, Rubrics, Failure is Not an Option and finally……drum roll please……. 21st Century Learning. I dutifully went to conferences, I listened, I read books, I ran technology club, I did ALL I could to figure it out.

I KNEW the world was changing. I knew it…. but no one, NO ONE, told me how to move from here to there. No one explained how I could SAFELY transition from this traditional content and results driven paradigm of yesterday’s system that had demanded in the first place that I build the skill set I now found myself with.

One year ago, 2 colleagues and I set off to Colorado and attended a Flip Class conference with Aaron Sams and Jon Bergman. This is where my revolution began.

They provided no script, no binder with lesson plan templates and no exact description of a Flip Class. At the time this was very puzzling.

I started making videos, I reworked my old units, I  screencast 90% of my Biology 12 course and loaded them on You Tube.

Now this may not sound like the start of a revolution, so I’ll say it again.

I screencast my course and uploaded to You Tube. I used the skills I already had in my tool box to re-invent myself.

This simple act provided me with an immediate and sturdy bridge to the future. My teacher time was repurposed, my role in the class redefined and my energies were freed from the tyranny of status quo maintenance. I safely transitioned from the “trapped outdated me”, to the “new connected, having a revolution me”. The Flip Class single-handed, disrupted old patterns I was trapped in: I saw my class new again.

 In growing into my role as a Flip Class teacher, I moved squarely back in charge and directly connected to my own learning.  I discovered my voice anew, one that I had started my career with, but had been eroded and diluted over time. My desire and ability to provide the same opportunity for my students grew; I did not need the flavour of the month or scripted lesson to catalyse change. I knew change, I had embraced change I had…changed.

Flip Class did not demand I change, nor did it tell me EXACTLY with excruciating and insulting detail, how I should. Flip Class trusted that with my experience, intuition, support and feedback of my PLN, students and self, figure my classroom out. The Flip Class nudged me gently, like a mother bear to her baby cub, to let go of what I knew to be true and to re-learn what it meant to be a teacher. I discovered that yes, even old dogs can learn new tricks. Flip Class gifted me the time, energy and inspiration to imagine, “no holds barred”: if you could build your class from the bottom up, what would you build?  

One year ago, I embarked on a journey… that lead to a personal revolution.