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Flipping Your School's Professional Development

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dp-training-ronda-moncada-600.jpgGuest post by Swaroop Raju, co-founder of PlayPosit.

A few years ago, flipped instruction was a concept touted by only the most adventurous of educators. Now the movement has taken off and is an integral part of thousands of classrooms all over the world.

According to research from online course provider Sophia Learning and the Flipped Learning Network, the number of teachers who have flipped a lesson has grown from 48 percent in 2012 to 78 percent in 2015. Moreover, Google trend reports (see graph below) analyzing the quantity of searches for the term "flipped classroom" highlight the growth in interest in this movement in the last five years.

The same graphic shows a relatively constant quantity of searches for the term since 2013, counteracting criticism that the flipped classroom is a fad destined to fade away.

As a counterpart to growth in the practice of teachers flipping their classrooms with students, flipped instruction has recently become a common practice for school leaders providing differentiated learning pathways for educators at their school. Flipped professional deveopment is being used to highlight strategies to administer state testing, manage classroom behavior, incorporate the newest learning management system, and much more. 

Flipped Professional Development at Hudson Middle School

I chatted with Misty Mitchell, a media and educational technology specialist at Hudson Middle School in the Hudson Independent School District in Lufkin, Texas to find out how that school is flipping professional development. 

She reported that before flipping, professional development didn't connect with teachers. During their conference period, teachers were required to come in and sit for an hour, passively listening to the instructor go through a PowerPoint presentation. As Misty points out, "If you are only using lecture-style teaching, it doesn't matter whether you are teaching students or the most experienced teachers, it is simply not effective."

During traditional, lecture-style professional development, attendees may lose focus, and get frustrated. The professional development instructor has no way to track who understands the content or tailor the presentation to the needs of their audience. 

Cristina Peterson, the counselor who oversees the administration of state tests at Hudson Middle, decided to flip her professional development. The transition was simple. She took the same professional development lecture she was delivering live, except now she ran a screen recording application (like Screencast-O-Matic) in the background while talking through her PowerPoint slides. She embedded questions into the recording using PlayPosit. The end result is an accountable video lesson, informing instructors of requirements for the state assessment writing samples. 

After viewing the video lecture at home, teachers had a live session with Cristina. Since she already had data on viewing behavior and which concepts were the most challenging, the live sessions were focused on only the additional training needed. Teachers appreciated the time saved and were more engaged because of this personalized instruction.

For teachers with no experience with flipping, this is a great introduction to the practice. Some were inspired to introduce the method into their own classrooms. 

At Hudson Middle, flipping has evolved from a strategy to more deeply engage students, to a strategy adopted by nearly all stakeholders within the school.

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For more information, visit @playposit on Twitter.

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