Once students have studied the flipped learning resources (AKA Pre-learning) put online (prior to class), should they do anything with their new knowledge before coming to class?
Many educators have opinions about the value of this. In addition, enforcing this adds another level of tracking for the teacher. Tough one. My original thoughts were ‘If I’m going to make the effort to put these resources online, I want to know that my students have viewed/listened to them and thus, they will need to prove to me that they have seen the resources.’
For about 6 months, I set the pre-learners up for students and required them to perform comprehension tasks on each. I asked targeted questions or had them explore other parts that fitted the rules taught in the resources. To be honest, it was painstaking to track, mark and value. In addition, the amount of students actually viewing the resources was low – about 10%.
I decided that students needed more motivation to view the resources. In Numeracy, we implemented a new system of learning that allowed students who had previously viewed the pre-learners to complete the week’s assessment early and then have the opportunity to choose a PBL to work on independently whilst everyone else worked in more structured and explicit teaching of the concepts. What was interesting is that many students, although having viewed the resources prior to class, chose not to complete the assessment early (ie. They felt that they didn’t understand the concept well enough and required more explicit instruction); a mature response, I feel.
Although this increased the pre-learner viewing for Numeracy, I still didn’t feel that I was getting enough out of the pre-learning. It didn’t link enough to face-to-face learning. We needed less but we also needed more.
Ditty Time…. One of the most valuable learning situations from Uni (and incidentally, one of the only lessons I remember) was in my first year. My Literacy lecturer asked us to write 2 questions for every reading we were required to read. At the time, I thought ‘I have no idea how to even ask a question about this stuff‘. But, gradually, I found my way and also the value in training my mind to explore further into what was being presented.
Eventually, I decided to abolish the comprehension and task activities linked to the pre-learners. Instead, I asked more of my students… and less. After each resource, I asked them all to do one thing: Write 3 questions that you (or someone else) might have after viewing this resource and submit them on your Edmodo assignment. Essentially, I required more thought from the students and less product. Naturally, the protests that all educators expect occurred – I don’t have any questions, etc. Nevertheless, we have persisted and found that the amount of students participating in pre-learning has increased by over 100%.
It was that simple.
Next entry, I’ll write about how we use those pre-learning questions in class effectively.