Thursday 18 April 2013

How I came to find myself building a website..

Flipped learning @CanMathsDepartm

In KS4 we've been trying out flipped learning with varied success! As the Monday 11th March blog: 'Improving my written feedback' pointed out, sometimes it's even difficult to get staff to 'do their homework' and watch the video clip.

As one of the guilty ones I've been looking for a way to get my classes onboard with it.
At KS4 we've been using Fronter (a VLE) to upload small video clips on to. Students are set a clip on the relevant topic for their flipped homework. They're expected to watch the clip and try out the practice questions.
Sounds easy right?
The first problem is getting students to remember their login details, find the relevant clip and make sure it plays on their computer. Some teachers (CMm & ASm) have had admirable success with getting their classes over this hurdle, however in my opinion it's still not possible to see what the students can really do on their own outside of lessons because the practice questions shown in the clips are swiftly followed by model answers.
I've been trying to think my way round this problem with CMm and we came up with a couple of solutions that I'll discuss now.
Firstly we could upload the PDFs of practice questions that go along with each clip but crucially don't give the answers away. This definitely solves one of the issues as it actually allows students to show what they can do independently. I've been giving out hard copies of the practice questions for students over the last few weeks alongside taking a register (see pic. below) of who has been given the homework and who's handed it back in. The result: homework handed in has shot up dramatically!

I still have problems with students saying they can't login or the sounds not working on the clip. Fortunately, CMm and I had a timely visit to King Solomon Academy recently to see Bruno Reddy (@MrReddyMaths & and what he's been doing with his version of flipped learning called 'time shifted learning'.
This is where the building my own website idea comes in.
Bruno's stripped the process down and tailored it to bring out the best in his mixed ability classes. Through creating his own website he said he was able to cut out the login process for students completely. He then created and uploaded clips organised by week and topic. Students watch the clips that use his style, preferred methods and key language. After they've watched the clip they answer the questions below that Bruno's embedded in the page using a simple Google Docs form. When a student hits  'submit form' their results are collated in a Google Spreadsheet and emailed to Bruno along with a time stamp saying when they did the work. This can then be kept as a record  and used to inform planning and identify areas that the teacher needs to go over in class with individuals/groups.
The results so far have been really encouraging. The obvious drawback is the time involved in making material for the website and maintaining it. I've got over the first hurdle already though which was to bite the bullet and actually have a go at building my first ever website (feedback and any technical issues spotted welcome!).
What's next?
This half term I'm going to develop and share the website with my classes and department. I'll let you know how we get on!

Ed Salton

                                         Homework record sheet: 

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