Good start in flipping
Our course started last week with a general info meeting for the students. We provided some information about the course structure and the way we are going to flip the teaching this autumn. Students also answered for a brief questionnaire about their background and expectations for the course. After a brief introduction for the flipped classroom approach, 85% of the students (N = 22) said that they expect to learn more in the flipped classroom way than in the traditional teaching. This was encouraging for us to hear!
One week before the first contact session, the students were provided all weekly materials in their learning platform Canvas - three short videos to watch and reading related to the topic of the week. Making the videos the first time was pretty time consuming, as making the final decision about which programs to use, and I also prepared manuscripts for each slide of the presentation. Even though the videos are short in their duration (from 8–13 mins.), the content is now pretty compactly presented. I used Power Point’s recording option to record my voice, as it allows you to record one slide at the time. So when making mistakes, the slide is easy to rerecord. After this I ran the slide show with sounds on, while screen recording it into a video using Movavi, and later on saving as a MP4-file. Movavi has also recording and editing options, and later on, I hope to be able to look and learn more in depth about the different recording and editing options it has.
I have to admit, that I was a bit nervous to have the first contact session as there were many questions in my mind: would the students be prepared for the session as we expected them to be, how were the videos like for them, how the planned activities would work in the contact session, how my role in the contact session would turn out to be like etc. I had planned three different types of activities for the session, which all required that the students had already watched the videos and done most of their reading. The first activity was about the key concepts. Students got 10 slips of paper, and they needed to solve the question on the slip first trying without the materials (i.e. how much do they remember), and then if no success or refining the answer, with materials provided (slides, reading materials). Students worked in small groups really intensively with the task, asking me some clarifying questions as I stopped by the groups. I also got a feeling, based on their questions, that this type of activity allows the students to go more in depth in the topic and challenge their thinking, if they want to. Differentiation (e.g., in activities) is something I need to think more in the future… The second activity required to apply the new theoretical knowledge. Students planned some brief learning activities for the children related to some given topics (math skills). Each group made their notes (aim, materials and instructions) in Power Point slides, and presented two of the tasks briefly for the whole group. The group’s final product was sent to me, and after compiling the files, shared in Canvas. The third and final activity was trying out an online test, which measures one of the math skills covered in the theme of the week.
After the contact session, the students have one week time to deliver their weekly assignment. At the same time, they will start working with the next week’s theme.
I was positively surprised how well the first contact session went, and how intensively most of the students worked for one and a half hour. “I wish we had flipped classroom also in the other courses”, said one of the students in the end of the session – feedback that makes me to believe even stronger that we are on the right track :)