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Thomas Groves
Lecturer

The Flipped Classroom teaching Photography

The flipped classroom seems to be a hot topic lately. I wanted to see if any others out there have started using this for teaching photography. What are you experiences? How has this helped? What issues have you face along the way? I teach many levels of photography but am most interested in this concept for my intro to digital photography course. 

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Terrence Banks

Posted on 5/30/16 5:06:20 AM Permalink

Hi Thomas, I have according to many flipped my classroom using the gameon WordPress plugin. This would be my 5th year doing it.

Some things that I do:

  • I turned the class into a company, students are my employees. They get paid for every job that they do. Some are scenario/ problem based. Some are just training exercises. They rent out all of my equipment until they have enough money to buy it from me, at which point they don't have to pay me. They pay rent every week as well since I am letting them use my studio space.
  • I create video tutorials, that show several things: Instructions to jobs, step by step tutorials in photoshop.
  • I do live demos (groups of 10 students) as well as point them to useful video tutorials on Youtube and Lynda.com. I stay away from whole class demos

How I want students to learn in my class:

  • The teacher is not the only source of information.
  • Students are to be self-directed learners in my classroom. (I help them, to the point when they don't need my help anymore)
  • Students are presented with lots of choices.
  • I give them required jobs (Stuff that is crucial for them to learn, elements of composition etc )then they choose from a list premade jobs (That I want them to learn, but they choose which one they want to work on).
  • Collaborative, they are always shooting each other and helping each other with their jobs.

Gameon Plugin and how I use it:

There are tons of ways I use it to help manage my class: I use it to manage behavior, effort, jobs completed, track skill progress, track completed jobs, reward students, discipline students, showcase student work, restrict student access, grant access and a bunch of other ways.

Student Blogs:

  • All of my students make their own websites (Photo 1, Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • They update them each week and document their work.

Pros to this model:

I'd say 90% of my students have a positive experience each year. I know this from the student poll/survey I give every year in order to gauge student engagement and interest.

Here is some student feedback from this year. Pros first then Cons..

Question: What do you like best about this class and/or teacher? (Poll is totally anonymous)

  • You should keep playing the music because it would be a boring class. And also you should ask students if the know how to do the job so you would help them. But other than that i really like this classroom and the teacher. It seems fun until you actually have to do work. I'm kidding.
  • Learning new techniques with the cameras
  • That we are recognized for our hard work and that we always have something to work on so that we can keep learning more about photography and photoshop
  • I really liked the freedom to choose whatever job I wanted to do. I liked that there was no specific order.
  • I like how we got to get out of the class room and take photos and we were able to get some time to do everything right but one thing i didn't like was when i accepted the job and then i decided to do a different one because it was taking to long i discarded it and undo it and the time was still going and then when i went back to the job i ran out of time when i didn't know it was still going.That was the only problem but i love this class it helped me learn and be more creative and you helped so much thank you, u taught us allot and helped us express are character in photography. I cant wait to return next year, Yup have to deal with me another year hahaha thank you
  • That my progress and learning are within my control and I'm guided, not forced to get better.
  • I like that we do our own thing at our own pace and all the jobs we do it has the same central idea but everyone's images are so different from one another.
  • I liked the fact that we had a lot of jobs to do from the beginning of the year. I liked that we had Mr. Banks help us with some of the jobs that we had to do. I like how we can take our own pictures, and go outside and do them. It was a fun class.
  • I liked how hands-on this class was rather than it being too informational. It helped me understand how to do things on my own and it helped me become a more independent student. I also like the amount of freedom in this class because it makes us more responsible for our own work and how it affects our grades.
  • I like that its like a real life kind of class. Like the rent and finding things on our own
  • I like that you got along with us and helped us become better in photography and you made sure that we learned how to take and edit our pictures.
  • I like that everyone is friendly and is willing to help another person if needed
  • What I like about this class is the fact that we control what we want to do and how we do it.
  • What i like best from this class is that it shows me how to do things on my own it shows how to Photoshop and do things i never knew i would be able to do. I learned so much from cameras to how lighting and pictures are supposed to be and i loved learning this and i thank you Mr. Banks for that you have showed me and all the opportunity i had this year like the McCarthy art Competition & taking us to Brooks institute thank you for making my year a better year:)
  • you should continue the money system because it makes kids work and actually try to work or they wont have enough money to buy rent.
  • That it's hands on. We need practice we get it, and for the computer we do a lot on our own and that makes us be more independent on our jobs.
  • How Friday we have free days

I have tons more but now to the cons. I let my students know they need to be honest with the things they did not like in order to help me grow as well as make the class better next year.

Here are some Cons.

I taught 5 Photo 1 classes and 1 Photo 2 classes. My classes were either at capacity 42 students or really close. My class size went like this P1 30, P2 37, P3 36, P4 42, P6 28 (advanced), Period 7 30.

  • Very few critiques - With my number of students and my setup we did not do very many whole class critiques (That will change next year). Everything was one on one and only if they asked for a critique.
  • Grading every single image was daunting and time-consuming.
  • Going through student blogs. I went through every blog, every week to verify what they were doing and to see their work.
  • How to grade assignments if everyone is doing something different. (I put in a job each week to keep them accountable) See what they did graded it then making a note of which job they turned in. They needed to complete 6 Q1, 8 Q2, 10 Q3 and 12 Q4. I increased the amount of jobs they needed to complete each quarter.

Student Cons on survey:

Question: What did not like about this class and/or teacher, and what would you change? (Poll is totally anonymous)

  • I wish he would be more interactive with the students and clarified things more. (I thought I was, but it looks like I forgot one student)
  • More demos to the whole class.
  • He gave us more choices on the jobs that we could do. Also just require the required jobs to be decreased by a little.
  • I wish he help out a little more than he does
  • I dont think there can be anything else that the teacher can do differently.
  • more practice with photoshop, we did practice in the beginning of the year but towards the end i forgot
  • i think that he should have gave us a little bit more tutorials.
  • honestly nothing this class is perfect just the way it is
  • gives more demonstrations
  • more group activites
  • Perhaps a greater emphasis on outdoor photography would be very beneficial, as well as more trips for the class as a whole to increase inspiration.
  • Less jobs
  • maybe one on one demos instead of a big group.
  • I wish you would have had more portrait photography tutorials and jobs.
  • He dont need to do anything differently he done as much as he can and helped us in so many ways in learning and was very inspiring to us.
  • Give students a day where they can make up their own assignment and turn it in. It be would required that they turn something in, but they would have complete control over what it is.
  • I feel like the class would be better if we have more job selections because, yes, there is a wide variety, but I think it would be cool to have more so that students are able to come up with more unique ideas rather than something too repetitive.
  • Not so much photoshop, that was the most annoying part of photo.
  • Hands on lectures.
  • I wish they would add more Photoshop jobs


The majority of the Cons was change nothing

Jessi Franko

Posted on 7/7/18 4:23:56 PM Permalink

This is so helpful! Thank you!​

Elias Ortega

Posted on 11/18/15 5:10:43 PM Permalink

I am interested in hearing/learning about this as well. Although I do not teach photography, I am gearing up to teach a Visual Sociology Seminar in Fall 2016.