Friday, April 8, 2011

Keeping track of student progress in the flipped class

Sci math:

Today I decided to give as much class time as possible to letting them get through their work. SO first I spent a few minutes going over questions on yesterday's voicethread, and pointed out a mistake in one of the slides - which was discovered by Juan, and which he commented on right in the voicethread. Virtual nods all around..."oh yeah I thought so too but I wasn't sure". Fabulous. Maybe next time I should plant a mistake or two and tell them to find it. Hmmmmmm......interesting.

Anyway, after that, it was Hammer time. Here's the work you have to get done, kids, have at it!

Then.........chirp...chirp....aaaaaaannnnnnd it's too quiet for me I'm going out of my mind.

Adapting flipping to the online class:

I'm feeling a bit insecure about who's getting what done during our class time, because, as I've mentioned, I can't actually see my students. I have tried a few things to track them:
  •  getting them to private message me twice about where they are - at the beginning and the end of our work time. What's making me insecure is that in between those two times, I get a few questions, from the kids I usually get questions from, which is great, but most of them I don't hear anything from. Worries me. Are they doing nothing? Or worse, are they doing something, getting stuck, moving on, and forgetting about it? And not asking me for help? Not a problem in my keener beaner class though, they are math terminators!
  • I posted at the classblog "What did you do today?" a couple of times, and asked them to reply by telling me everything they've done. Not all did, so that's one more thing I would have to do a checklist of, not only the work, but the post about the work. Don't like that idea.
  • I know I could just get them to hand in EVERYTHING, but, well, geez. I'm just one woman.
Which leads me to this deep thought:

What occurs to me as I ponder this is that making them report on themselves, however I do it, might be something big. It makes me think of the principle that measuring something usually changes how much of that something there is.

For example, in order to watch my fat and salt intake, I keep a log of what I eat, along with the fat and salt totals for the day. I have found over the years that the act of writing down what I eat not only keeps track of what I eat, but it influences what I eat. It makes me behave better, because as much as I love to eat a Big Mac and fries, I hate to write down the horrible numbers that go with them. So I might still eat food that's bad for me, but way less often than I would without the log.

Maybe something like that could happen if they had to write down what they've completed. Because they will not want to have nothing to write. And not just because they know that I will be looking at the log, but also because they know that it will be there tomorrow and the next day for THEM to look at. They could potentially become more motivated to work, to get organized, to take responsibility for their own learning.

And if I can come up with an easy way for them to do this...maybe a googledocs checklist type of thing? I'll have to check that out. I know how to do the online quiz with googledocs, which generated an excel file that showed me, and only me, who answered what for each question. Seems like there must be a way to tweak that into an online checklist.

And hey, that would be useful for anyone, online teacher or not, no?

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