Archive | September 2012

Flipped Classroom :: Class #5

Wednesday’s class went remarkably well. While I worked really hard to get the online portion of this classroom up and ready, I was still a little concerned about the outcome since I had little to no actual lecture with the students. With that in mind I decided to do a little activity with the students.

I gave the students the following instructions:

I need to see that you understand the concepts we’ve discussed in class thus far. As a group, use Excel and whatever resources available to you to show me:

  • Absolute References vs. Relative References
  • Basic Formatting
  • =sum()
  • =average()
  • =min()
  • =max()

After giving these instructions I had several students look at me and say “What are we supposed to do?” To which I replied, “I don’t know, I guess you guys better figure it out.

Immediately the students started talking amongst themselves and had even pulled all of the rolling chairs up to the front of the room. After some discussion one of the students jumped up from the circle and went to the board.

In no time flat these students were showing me everything they had learned so far in this course. I couldn’t have been more excited. With very little instruction and some group conversation these students were able to work together to demonstrate the concepts that they had learned in this flipped classroom environment. Now admittedly, as cool as I thought the concept of the flipped classroom was, I was nervous about how well this method was working. All I can say is that without a doubt the flipped classroom method is working. The students loved the activity and seem to really love the concept of the flipped classroom.

I’d be interested in hearing if anyone else has any experienced they’d like to share on the flipped classroom and how it has worked for them. I suspect that this wouldn’t work real well for some classes but would work wonders for the more hands-on courses.

You can see a short video of the students interactions here.

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Flipped Classroom, Wk.4

So the students seem really content with the way class is going. I even had a student tell me today that if he wasn’t doing the “blue sections in the book” he wouldn’t have a clue about the homework. This is exactly what I had hoped would happen! I’ve found after having taught this class for several years that the students do not complete the chapter projects, which is really where they get the learning, practice, skill, and knowledge necessary to complete the homework assignments. Since the classroom is now flipped, the students use the classtime to complete these sections, where I’m available to answer questions and assist them.

I’ve graded all of the homework assignments thus far and everyone seems to be doing quite well! The proof will likely come after this next chapter homework and tests are complete. Chapter 2 is much more difficult than the first.

The only problems thus far is with students who don’t have access to a computer at home and have to watch the videos here on campus. This shouldn’t be a problem since computers are available in the library, but there is evidently some issues possibly going on there.

I feel like I’m not really doing a whole lot during classtime, but then I did do a lot of work before the semester started.

So far, so good….

My Experience with the Flipped Classroom :: Class#3

Today is the 3rd class meeting of my flipped spreadsheets course.

The class time is broken into a few parts, taken up primarily by self-work time where the students can complete the chapter projects (not homework) during class time. Before the students can begin working though, I have them spend several minutes asking questions about the chapter and what they read, the videos they watched, etc. I then have the students break into small groups where they discuss the videos, chapter, etc.

This morning I threw in an extra segment during the class time where I asked the students opinions and perceptions as to the class layout and how things were going so far. The students all seemed particularly happy with the way it was layed out and how we were spending our class time. One student announced that they like classes more “hands-on” and as I asked for clarification they noted that this particular class format was more “hands-on” in her opinion because she was able to spend the class time working on stuff and asking questions. “I really enjoy working this way,” she said.

I have one student who does not have technology at home so she uses the campus library to complete her assignments and watch the embedded videos. She did report a little problem with being able to view the videos in the library. I plan to email the librarians and see if we can get a resolution on this before too long.

So I use up approximately 20 minutes of the one hour and forty-five minutes that we have with question/answer time. I then pull up soma.fm and play some Groove Salad think music for them as they work. They also seem to really enjoy this.

So far so good for the flipped classroom. I’ll be grading homework this weekend so we’ll see what the results are following that.

My Experience with the Flipped Classroom :: The Plan & Reasoning Behind It

So this semester, I decided to flip my classroom. The idea of the flipped classroom has always been a great interest of mine. If you need some clarification on what exactly the flipped classroom is, check out this video.

I teach Spreadsheets I, which is the basics of spreadsheets and is often followed by a level 2 course. I thought this the perfect course for flipping. I often struggled to get the students to actually complete the practice assignments in the course, so making that the task for class time seemed a perfect opportunity for me to sorta force their hand at completing the practice assignments. 

To start, I completed redesigned my Blackboard course shell. I filled each two week blcok with videos on topics that covered what should be known for that chapter (8 chapters, 16 weeks). Each two week section included a quiz, practice projects through the semester to be completed during class time, up to four homework assignemtns, and every two chapters, a test.

Where it gets interesting is what we do during class time. While I feel like it looks like I’m not going anything… a lot of my work was done preparing the class. Now my job is as a facilitator rather than the traditional instructor. I walk around and help students individually when they struggle with particular concepts. I do however, stress that I do not assist with homework. While I am not strict about them not completing homework during class time, I assure them that I will not help with it, and encourage them to complete it outside of class.

The class is entirely built. We meet once a week. Stay tuned for an account of my experiences with the flipped classroom…