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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reflections on a Semester of the Flipped Classroom

I have now spent an entire semester teaching my Math 20-1 students using the Flipped Classroom Model. I have learned a lot using this model. Some of it good and some of it not so good. This post is going to outline the good, the bad and the ugly. I distributed an end of semester evaluation this week and had my students reflect on their semester in the flipped classroom as well.

The Good:
1. I now have every lesson in the course in video format.
2. About half of my class really likes the Flipped Classroom model. If I was to guess, these were the students that are doing well in the course.
3. The Flipped Model allowed students to progress at their own pace. Some sped through the video lesson. Some watched it twice.
4. The Flipped Model allowed me to spend a lot of time with those students that were struggling.
5. The Flipped Model transformed me from a lecturer into a facilitator.
6. I had lots of students and teachers in many different locations use my videos to supplement their learning and they thanked me for it.

The Bad and Ugly:
1. About half of my class did not like learning under the Flipped Model. One student said, "I don't learn this way!". Interesting comment. I need to reflect on it.
2. I feel like I have lost or have not been able to use a number of good teaching practices I have employed in the past.
3. The facilitation part of my role was mostly just answering questions that the students could not solve.
4. Almost everyday in my classroom felt the same. Not nearly as much variety as in the past.
5. A couple of students dropped the class because of the Flipped Model.

I realize that this is only one semester of implementing the Flipped Model. However, I am really thinking hard about whether or not this model is worth continuing. It definitely needs revising.

The following questions are running through my head:
1. If half of my students do not like the Flipped Model is this model meeting ALL of the students needs?
2. If my students continue with the Flipped model in their next Math class will they adapt to it more?
3. If I stop using the Flipped model am I doing so to the detriment of the students that say this model works for them?
4. Could I run a hybrid flipped and non-flipped model in the same classroom?

So, as I reflect back on an entire semester of using the Flipped Model, I have lots to consider. In the coming weeks I will decide if I will continue with the Flipped model or not. Right now it is 50-50. Your feedback might help me make my decision.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

LEGO - My New Hobby

In June 2010 myself and Jared Nichol had the privilege of attending ISTE in Denver, Colorado. While at ISTE we took a shopping trip to a mall and hit the LEGO store. I had never been to a LEGO store before but it was amazing. LEGO has come a long way since I was a kid back in the 70's. After the visit to the LEGO store, I thought I would look into purchasing a few kits for myself and start a LEGO collection. Well, 2010 came and went and I still had not bought any LEGO.

In the Fall of 2011 I was looking at the curriculum for the Workplace and Apprenticeship Math course (Math 20-3) here in Alberta. Lots of curriculum outcomes on scale factor, 2D and 3D diagrams etc.. While reading the curricular outcomes I thought that LEGO would be a good tool to use with my students in learning these curricular outcomes. That triggered the idea that I wanted to start my own LEGO collection.

So, I said to my wife this fall, "I want some LEGO for Christmas!!!" She looked at me kind of funny but after I explained the multitude of kits available she kind of understood my request. I asked for Star Wars LEGO for Christmas.

Christmas 2011 has come and gone and I DID NOT receive any LEGO. I was kind of upset. I asked my wife why I did not receive any LEGO for Christmas. She explained that when she went in search of Star Wars LEGO she found kits from $20 - $300. She had no idea what I would want. She instructed me to, "Go out and buy whatever LEGO you like." She did not want to buy something I would not like so she felt it was best if I bought my own.

This past week we headed to Edmonton and Red Deer for some post Christmas shopping and to visit my brother-in-law. While in Red Deer, I hit the Toys R Us store and headed straight for the LEGO section. When I started looking at the Star Wars LEGO I was having trouble deciding what my first purchase should be. Most of the Star Wars LEGO I liked was over $100. I thought that might be a bit pricy for my first purchase. So, I started looking at the rest of the LEGO. I discovered a number of Transformers LEGO kits and they were on sale for $35 each. I was sold. I would make my first LEGO collection Transformers. There were 6 different kits that I saw and I decided to buy Megatron for my first kit. Why? My oldest daughter's name is Megan and her nickname at school is Megatron.

I have spent a few hours working on the Megatron kit and here is the Megatron Truck!!!

I will keep the truck around for a week or two. Then I have to tear it apart to build the actual Megatron Transformer character. Stay tuned for more posts about my LEGO collection. I have a birthday coming up in January and hope to receive another Transformers LEGO kit to add to my collection.