Saturday, September 14, 2013

Here We Go! It's Flip or Flop Time.

A couple of years ago I started hearing about the concept of a flipped classroom. I wanted to work toward finding ways to make this concept possible in my classroom but knew I had to take steps toward it before throwing myself into it. I started by trying to shorten my physics lessons to give students more class time to problem solve, etc along with giving them access to the lesson notes online (pre-lesson notes with blanks and then posting the completed ones after the fact) - and before you ask, no, this did not lead to students skipping class but it did allow ones who missed class for specific reasons to stay caught up. I then moved this idea to using a protected class management site (in my board we currently use Angel) so that I could easily organize what I was posting, send students messages, etc. This process allowed me to get more comfortable with the course/teaching (I am currently in my 5th year of teaching) and to integrate more technology into my class without overwhelming myself.

Now I have taken the plunge and am "flipping" my Grade 11 Physics and Grade 12 Advanced Functions (math) classes. As a first time "flipper" I am making use of other people's (public) YouTube videos in addition to making my own so that I am not spending all of my time creating video lessons. I spent a couple of weeks in the summer looking through a couple of specific YouTube channels to find some lessons that I liked (i.e. followed formats that I would use, taught in a similar way, etc) and making note of which lessons I would have to create my own for (or would use investigations, labs, etc instead of direct instruction for).

I will blog on some more of the specifics of my new classroom in the near future (I just wanted to introduce how my technology integration has been/is a work in progress). If you have any parts of it that you would like to read about, let me know by commenting, etc (I am more likely to blog when someone else gives me an idea anyway). For now I would like to comment on something related to these ideas that I have mentioned in the past. I still very much believe that students are not getting the instruction related to technology that they need - I feel that many of us are assuming that children are so comfortable with technology that we are not teaching them (leaving students that aren't naturally inclined toward it behind).

Early on this semester I wanted to try Socrative (emails you a report in excel format), so I created a "quiz" (that was actually a survey) so that I could collect data on student technology use. 16 of my Grade 11s participated and 18 of my Grade 12s and the results were as follows:
- Most have reliable internet access at home (5 of the Gr 12s said "sometimes")
- Most usually or always have a personal electronic device (PED) available in class (6 said rarely or never)
- The majority that have access to a device is a Smartphone or iTouch (small screen - important to know, not effective for creation but fine for viewing with good eyesight)
- The majority of those devices are Apple products
- About half of my Gr 11s (fewer Gr 12s) would prefer to read on a device than from a paper book
- They admit to having a variety of learning styles, but the majority choose "doing" as their main source of learning (fits right into the flipped class idea)
- 7 of the students admitted to finding technology difficult and rarely convenient OR just plain scary

I felt that these results left me with some food for thought and have reminded me how important it is to make sure students are aware that there are options (i.e. it is possible for me to give them copies of electronic lesson plans on a USB, if needed I could download the videos and put them on a USB or DVD if needed, etc). A couple of them are taking me up on the first of those possible ideas and will make the flipped classroom less stressful for them as they will not have to stress over the use of Angel as much. They are also getting used to the fact that the "teacher computer" at the front of the room is available for use during class (since I am up helping people out most of the time) and they have learned that I am fairly knowledgeable in helping them figure out how to get their PEDs on the wifi and opening various files. Which has led me to wonder if there are not teachers and other students who have not been able to get past these difficulties - these problems could easily create barriers to using all sorts of technologies in the classroom.

Anyway, I have digressed a bit - the ultimate purpose of this post was to reflect on the technology use in the classroom (specifically as it relates to the flipped classroom) and how it affects students. And in the end, this week has led me to think that in order for more of us to teach students how to use the technology more of us need to be comfortable using it on our own (this part of the revelation also brought to you in part by the sentiments expressed by colleagues in their new school board blogs) and perhaps I can offer my services with some "drop in times" to ask questions about devices on the wifi and various apps and websites that I am familiar with.

Fellow teachers - would you take advantage of someone offering this idea? If not, why not (i.e. what is stopping you or what else do you need in order to want to)? If yes, what kinds of things would you want to come to ask about? (I would like to compile a list of ideas/suggestions for those that might not have their own initial idea).

Please comment or sent me a Tweet @TchngPassion

No comments:

Post a Comment