I spy with my #flipclass eye…Is texting the problem?

Can I be honest? I wrote and passed notes in class my entire high school career. I even collected said notes and displayed them in shoe box with pride.

“Look! This is what I have accomplished!”.

Did this extensive social note writing hinder my education? I would argue that it enhanced my education.

In fact, at times the entire class participated in social note writing, and notes would pass around and be added to throughout class. Now that I think of it, it was an old-fashioned back channel.

Communicating as I learn is how I put pieces of the puzzle together.

As an adult, I now know that with my own learning, communication always leads to engagement. I recognize that unless I am 100% fully mentally engaged, I disengage completely from learning. Talking and writing social notes create the mental intensity that I need to remain fully engaged in the learning process.

This year as I transitioned from being a “stand and deliver” teacher to one where I am more a “guide on the side” in the flipped classroom, I gained time to interact with and observe students in an insightful way. Occasionally when I am feeling nostalgic for the “good old days” I momentarily lapse into my stand and deliver ways. Now with my new #flipclass eyes I see body language that is so loud and clear that it hurts.

When I see it happen, I know: “Yup, I went the wrong way, turn around and find your way back to the heart of the matter.”

Students need to be engaged.

In our flip classroom cell phones/technology are welcome in class.  Students have their cell phones out on their desks at most times and students use their phones for video watching, research, tweeting to class Twitter feed, posting pictures from class to our class Facebook page and…YES texting to other students in and out of class.

So I ask you, is texting really the problem?

When students are moving, talking, laughing, tweeting, writing, sharing the class and the students feel alive. The energy in the room shifts and the light goes on in students eyes; students are engaged in the learning process. 

P.S. I still write notes. But now I call them Tweets or texts and I do not see them as a way to fight boredom. Now I see them as a powerful learning tool.

One thought on “I spy with my #flipclass eye…Is texting the problem?

  1. I fully agree with the mind-shift you describe here. IMHO, the largest challenge to the #FlipClass model is TRUST. How much do we trust our kids? Do we trust them to stay on task? Do we trust them to learn rather than being distracted. Mind you, our Elem principal says that kids who really want to distract themselves find ways to destroy mechanical pencils, or find any excuse to take a walk in the hallway.
    You nailed it with ENGAGED learners. One of our largest tasks as educators is to help our students find the desire to learn…(LINK TO DANIEL PINK’S “DRIVE”). We are in the passion business – helping our students find theirs…(LINK TO SIR KEN ROBINSON’S “THE ELEMENT”).
    Does passion lead to engagement, or does engagement lead to passion…hmm…a question to ponder…to investigate the relationship between passion & engagement.

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