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Week 2

September 5, 2011

We have finished the second week of classes, and my flipped classroom attempt has progressed. Are we making progress? Students do something in every class without me dominating the talk. We work on activities whether from the textbook or from handouts 3 days a week and write on the fourth day. I am not sure how many students watch the videos. Some things come up in the exercises that they should have gotten from watching the video, but the same lack of mastery comes with the lecture method. This way I have been able to move among the students and answer questions as they are working on the exercises. The classes have been very active as students work together or alone as they prefer. I explain an occasional point especially when we review the correct answers for the exercises, and at least at this early date, students ask questions about answers that they don’t understand. This part isn’t greatly different from what I did before except now we only work on the exercises in class without the lecture part.

We did another writing activity in class on Thursday. The activity was borrowed from a post by Carla Arena, Twisting Homework Work. Here is the writing prompt.

Most students share their writing on Google Docs, but some attach their work to messages. The college email is through Google apps, so each student has access to Google docs although there have been a few problems. Not everyone has found a comfort level with Google Docs yet. There have been a few password problems where the student could log into the school account or portal, and they could not get into Google docs. The early writings have allowed us to work on the kinks in the system so students can get comfortable with the system, and I can get better at using it as well.

At this point, I really like how the students engage with the work. Students who have done the work in the textbook can compare answers, but I fear they may get bored waiting for others to do the work, or they may wait and do the work in class, and some pull out their phones to text. I encourage them to use the dictionaries that some have on their phones.

However, I feel a little lost at times since I am not sure whether everything I would normally explain will get covered. Also, it seems a little slower than in the past perhaps because we are doing more writing, or perhaps because I am not marching through the material.

While I worry that this is a fad that I have bought into, it has achieved something I have wanted to achieve for a long time: Less teacher talk, more student engagement.

P.S.
I found another good resource for the flipped class. It is the The Flipped Curriculum. The site has some videos and an infographic which explain the concept of the flipped classroom and give a few ideas for implementation. I also try to follow the #flipclass stream on Twitter.

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