Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Been One Week...

... since you looked at me." Sorry was a little distracted there with the Barenaked Ladies song in my head. This post is about one week, but not at all what the BNL were singing about. It has been one week since I started flipping my marketing classes, and the results so far? Well a little inconclusive. However, I will say, things look promising.

I started this semester with the idea of 'training' my students. I figured that if they have experienced 10+ years of school one way, than the first couple days in the flipped classroom would be a bit of an adjustment. I proceeded this year with the usual introductions and course outlines, however, instead of taking too much time on that, I used the majority of the first class introducing the students to the flipped class model. I presented to them an informational presentation on the flipped model in the usual way - me standing at the front of the class, and presenting the information to them like a "sage on the stage". I asked them what they thought of learning that way, and received the usual shy responses; "It's okay", "I don't mind", and "We're used to it" were the majority of responses. These responses indicated that my students were fine with the usual model, however, there wasn't any indication that they were enthused by it.
After presenting in the usual sort of way, I then explained that we would run through the new way of doing things in our class. I handed out note taking templates, and explained to them how to take notes while watching videos - key points, details, summary, and then a question that can be used for discussion. I then loaded my introductory video of "How to watch the lecture videos" which explained to them the STORM concept of watching videos (STORM is also our school mascot). You can take a look at the video here. I tried to set the theme, asking them to pretend that school has just ended and they are all sitting at home watching the video. I played the video and walked out of class to listen just outside the door (listening to yourself on video is highly embarrassing!). The students giggled at first, but surprisingly every single one took notes on the video! I came back into class, and reset the theme explaining that they have now all started the next school day, all have come to class and now we would begin the next day's lesson. At this point I explained how we would begin every class.
I arranged the class into 3 groups - Know, Wonder, & Learn. I explained to the students that they would decided which group to join based on their video viewing experience. The 'Know' group would consist of those students who watched the video, felt confident with the material, and completed their notes. In this group, these students would share their summaries, ask each other their discussion questions, participate in a discussion based on those questions, and then answer a question I posed to the whole group. The 'Wonder' group would be those students who watched the video, but did not feel confident in the material. I explained to them that I would be a part of this group, and would be there to answer any questions they might have regarding the material. We would therefore work through their questions to come to an understanding of the concept. The 'Learn' group would therefore be those students who did not watch the video prior to class and therefore needed to. I explained to these students that I was okay with them not watching the video once in a while, but if it became habit, then we would need to have a 'frank' discussion. The whole class seemed to buy into this method of beginning class and seemed to like the idea that they had options.
Once the students were 'trained' on video viewing procedures and the routine to start the class, I then explained that the rest of the period would be all about application. This would be where they would be challenged with a task to complete which had them apply their knowledge of the concept seen on the video. They seemed to also respond positively to this as they liked the idea that class was all about 'doing' now, and not just sitting there listening. I also explained that I would be able to help them much more during class (a real benefit of the model) and act as a tutor during the application if any of them needed it. I then ended the class by providing them the link to watch that night's video.

This procedure was something that I found in my research on others who are 'flipping' their classes. I liked the idea because the routine allows the students to basically run the beginning of class. It also allows me to assess the students learning and keep track of those students who continually struggle with their understanding.

The next day was somewhat positive. Unfortunately the link did not work for one of my classes, and half of the other; however, 99% of my students did try to access the video to watch it. From that standpoint it was very positive. That kind of response is something that I hope continues!

Due to the shortened week that's all the reflection I have. This week will consist of 4 videos that the students will be required to watch. Well see how it goes. Stay tuned!

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