Ideas and resources for you to determine the accessability to the internet and technology of your students.

  1. Offer Extra Credit
    Give students an online assignment that can be done for extra points.
    Students often are motivated by doing extra credit assignments that will improve their grade (seeminngly) without having to do much work. It would be very easy to have students do something at home like tweet, send you an email, or even edit a google doc all from their home work space. By doing this, they are unknowingly sending you the signal that the have access to your resources.
  2. Ask Them
    When in doubt, ask students what their access is.
    There are all sorts of ways to ask students if they have technology access at home. But keep in mind that this is as sensitive issue and can only get more sensitive as time passes. Many teachers live a life where access is a given. Many students live a life where access is not a given. Having students raise their hand in class is not a good idea because it can embarrass or shame students that lack access. A better way is to a private poll, a google form, a question on a test, or some other way that students can feel safe to share the status of their tech access.
  3. Check your SIS
    Many times, student information systems have what you need.
    Teachers can think of their SIS merely as digital grade books, but often times these online storehouses hold many neat tools for getting to know students better. One of these tools is a home email address for parents and/or children. While not always an indicator of access at home, if there is an email address listed, you know that there is a way for that person to check their email.


Why Do You Need To Know?

That said...

Access can be an issue for a student or two, or occassionly, to a large group.  There are ways around it that are straight forward.  I have included some resources below to get around technology or access problems.

Also, I think it is important that once you make up your mind to flip that you see where the potential problems may lie.  The more you know, the better prepared you'll be to handle issues.

In the end, it is important that you handle access issues so that you don't shame or embarrass those without access.  There may be some issues that you will have with access, but that should never influence how you flip your classroom.

In Flipping, Why is Accessibility a "Thing?"

I'll be blunt.  Accessibility is not a "thing."  It's not some huge hurdle that has to be overcome.  It is not an issue that should keep you up at night if you are serious about flipping.  

BUT... it is the number one (by far!) reason that I hear teachers give themselves for not flipping their classrooms.  I get frustrated, even at my own co-workers, that this is an excuse not to flip.  

I get it though.  Yes, there are some students that don't have access to the appropriate technology.  Yes, there are students who won't know how to navigate the internet effectively or appropriately.  Those instances are becoming fewer and fewer as internet and computers are almost ubiquitous in schools, and therefore becoming more and more accessible to students in those schools.

If access is your chosen issue, then you are never going to flip.  Much like the couple that says they will have children when they can afford it.  They will never have enough money.  And in the reluctant teacher's mind, not enough students will ever have access.  

If you want to flip, flip despite of your perceived access issues. 

Video Resources
  1. The Flipped Class: Overcoming Common Hurdles
    In this video, Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams discuss common problems that stakeholders have with flipped learning. Access is addressed a few times in the video.