Shuffling the Deck (slide)

Anonymous 8 Comments

I've decided to take an idea from my friend Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) and share a slide with you from a recent presentation.

This week I've been preparing to host some educators for the flipped classroom open house. It's always fun to share my journey as an educator and learner.  One thing that's always important to me is to share with folks that flipping the classroom is a lot more than just doing videos at home and homework at school. Which lead me to creating this slide for my opening presentation.

If we are going to innovate our classrooms then we have to do a lot more than just shuffle the cards around. Shuffling the cards just allows us to say we are doing something different without actually doing something different. 

Instead of shuffling, we must decide what cards we are willing to trade in for another. This is the thing I hate about playing cards. I'm always second guessing my decision on what cards to trade in for new ones. However, I know that if I don't trade in any cards, I have no hope of winning. Yes, there is risk involved and yes it doesn't always work out, but just shuffling the cards doesn't change anything.

Here are seven things we should consider trading in when flipping our classrooms.

1. How we define learning.
2. The roles of the teacher/students.
3. The best use of face-to-face time.
4. Assessment/Grades
5. Content Delivery
6. The design of our learning space.
7. Homework

When people reach out to me about the flipped classroom I know it's because they feel like what they are doing isn't working. The worse thing I can do for them is just tell them to shuffle the cards. 


  1. Love the way you've presented this here. All of those things have changed for me as I've flipped, and it's a helpful frame to see it through that lens. It drives me crazy that there's been so many articles on flipping lately that still refuse to see it as anything other than "lecture on video at home, worksheets as practice in class" - that is in NO way a reflection of what happens in my classroom.

    I appreciate the metaphor too. There are a lot of people writing about how to shuffle the cards, and we can do SO. MUCH. BETTER.

    1. Cheryl,

      Thanks for the comment on the post. It's so important that we continue to share out what we are doing in our classrooms. We had a great discussion today at my flipped open house. So much fun to spend time with educators who are ready for change!

  2. Hi Brett,
    I really connect with your analogy here. As I prepare to do some flipping I want to make sure that I am not just shuffling the cards. Thanks for the post.

    1. Hello Blaise,

      Thank you for your comment. One thing I will say about my flip journey is that it started off as a shuffle and then moved beyond that. Sometimes we have to start off by shuffling our deck so we know for sure we have exhausted our current resources before trading things in.

      Hope you had a great weekend!

  3. I love the image, Pal -- but more importantly, I love the analogy!

    The notion of shuffling the deck is cool -- but so is the connection between the risks you take and the worry you feel when you turn in cards.

    Most importantly, by using analogies in your presentation, you're modeling a higher-order thinking strategy that we should ALL want to see more of in classrooms!


    1. Thanks Bill for your comment! I'm glad you dug the analogy. One thing I thought about later, and spoke to it in the comment above your comment, is the fact that sometimes we have to start off by shuffling the deck to make sure we're using our resources properly. I thought about a time when I was player poker with my friends and I missed out on a winning hand because I didn't pay attention to what I had in my hand. Change can be a good thing but we shouldn't change for the sake of change.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment and I hope you had a great weekend!

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