The session began with a presentation by Dr. Rose Beal (Theology) on the use of Google Drive. Instead of providing her students with the ubiquitous Power Point as the basis for notes to the class lectures, Beal is now using Google Drive as the framework for her classes. In the files she sets up here, students take notes collaboratively on their laptops, which she and the class can see in real time. In this way she can see what the level of understanding is very immediately and can then address the learning deficiencies quickly. As students see what notes their peers are taking, they can get better ideas about what might be most important. In this way some students act as peer models for the others and help to increase overall understanding of the concepts. In using this technology Beal hopes to move students from being mere "recipients of technology to users and creators of technology" and to insure that, along with learning theories of theology, they are also learning to work collaboratively and will be coming out of the university with what she refers to as the more "enduring skills" needed for the workplaces of the future.
Dr. Nathan Lien (Chemistry) followed up with a description of how he is flipping his chemistry classrooms. Lien puts his lectures into 10-30 minute Tegrity videos and posts them to Blackboard. Students are then charged to watch the videos as their homework. Class time then is spent working out solutions to problems on prepared worksheets. Students are allowed to work in groups or to go it alone if they prefer. To promote this more collaborative and active learning classroom, Lien moved his classes into a venue that enabled easy moving around of the furniture (desks and chairs with wheels) and discovered that students soon became adept at arranging furniture to suit their learning needs. As in Beal's experience with Google Drive, this experiment has resulted in some students stepping up to act as role models and to help others achieve understanding of the concepts. Lien expressed some disappointment in the comparison of test scores between his flipped classroom students and a few previous classes, but thinks that this may be an anomaly and that scores will begin to show improvement in the next few years.
Some good reading on flipping the classroom:
From eCampus News
From the Chronicle of Higher Education
More from the Chronicle
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