So what changed?
I am in my seventh year of teaching in a 1:1 environment with laptops. The movement toward using tablets such as iPads has been very interesting for me to watch. Last year I had a tablet for personal use but I did not have tablets for the students. During the year I developed some opinions about the differences between PCs and tablets; opinions I feel strongly about. Up until yesterday I would have engaged you in a vigorous debate defending laptops as a superior device over tablets – but not today.
So what changed?
In my mind today’s lesson was supposed to rock. I had the CPO ramps all set up. New TI-Nspire calculators with motion detectors all charged and ready. Neon Expo markers laid out… Here’s the best part – I even decided I was going to video the lesson as an exemplar.
Bwaahaaahahahahahaha… I must have been crazy.
That’s ok, I know unmeasurable is not a proper word – and there is a reason I used it as the title. I recently ran across a blog titled “UNphotographable.” The owner of the blog had all of his/her camera gear stolen. In response they captured in writing mental images they might have photographed previously. I found it a fascinating exercise – to capture with words something that could not be captured on film. I found myself thinking about my students in a similar way. What stories do we miss by being so focused on grades and standardized test scores?
If you talk to your students, they will tell you how to improve your class. I don’t mean to ask them for advice, just listen to what they have to say. In my first year teaching high school physics and IPC, I have been trying to make my class a student centered environment that maximizes student understanding. I frequently talk to students and try to assess my success or failure in that regard.
In those conversations I have learned two things from my students:
1. They do not like being “talked at”
2. They want to “do stuff”
The flipped model of instruction in a science classroom addresses both of those issues nicely.
This is a frequently asked question among those new to the flipped classroom model. To me the question really becomes, “What happens when a student doesn’t do their work?” I always tell my students three things regarding work outside of class:
1. I will never assign “busy work.”
2. The work I assign will be reasonable.
3. The work is necessary for them to understand the material being studied.
Given those conditions it goes without saying that when I assign homework I expect students to complete the work. Well ok, I hear you – what happens when they don’t do it?