My method of planning is very much based off a constant iteration process. I’ve been teaching delivering classes for 20 years now in mostly the same location so I have the luxury of those experiences (and contact with colleagues) to pull from.
So I iterate each semester. I use what worked the past semester and throw out (or re-tool) what did not. Each end of semester whether summer or Christmas is a reflecting time for me.
Pick One (or two) Changes
I often make a large change each year and sometimes even each semester. Last January I switched to full-on flipped master (see post here), and this year I made a massive switch to fully open content in the style of a #connectedCourse (see blog post here).
Learn from Others
I am the teacher #facilitatorOfLearningExperiences that I am from working and talking with so many colleagues in my institution as well as the large internet (thank you Twitter). The time I spend on networking with other teachers is more important than time spent looking for yet-another-assignment.
Find people that interest you or that will at least listen and answer your questions on teaching. Don’t be shy, get out there and blog/tweet/network.
I am a big believer in the Flipped Classroom and the focus on “the best use of classroom time” as Jon Bergmann (and many others) describes it.
For my classes and in particular my style of working with my students I find that the time outside of the classroom is equally important. The issue becomes how to keep connected with each other outside.
I’ve used many tools for this over the past 20 years or so:
I want the ability for my students to express their ideas and calls for help to the entire class (and course since I usually teach multiple groups) as well as the world at large.
We use a hashtag (#TC1014 and #TC1017 for the courses this semester) to communicate about the class. Students often send me direct messages (DMs) as well but I am trying to encourage them to be more open.
Is it Working?
I tried this in previous semesters and it did not “stick”. I think the reason is that I offered other options like the course LMS and a Facebook group for each course. Now this is the main option and (some) students are using it.
Here is one example, note the communication using images (screenshots) as well as the time stamps here. I can’t be sure but some other students might have learned from this conversation and I used this example of communication in class time to stress the importance of:
Asking for help is okay.
Asking in public increases the chances that others will answer.
Showing details (screenshots or links to code) is important.
I am a transplanted Canadian that has been living and teaching in Zapopan, Jalisco, México for most of the past twenty years at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara.
I have always focused on giving my students broad learning around the content of the course in question as well as pushing them to be active and visible in their academic and social pursuits.
Three years ago I was introduce to Flipped Classroom and jumped on that bandwagon not so much to change my classroom but because I felt that this “way of teaching” validated how I already ran my classrooms. The most important part of Flipped Learning for me is the community of educators that I follow and how we can help each other become better at our craft of guiding our students on their learning journeys.
Lately I’ve been leading colleagues in their discovery of Flipped Learning as one of many tools in their educator toolbox.
I’m currently offering a course on Flipped Learning in a connected courses format. In the past (and future) I gave courses on blogging with WordPress, tools for formative assessment, tools for writing research (LaTeX, bibliography management), software development and collaboration.
This leads me to my finding of the connected courses community. As usual I latched onto the ideas of others since I have no problem standing on the shoulders of giants. So my courses have been moved to a connected course system. I happen to be a practicing systems administrator (LAMP in general) so I let to get “under the hood” and control the environment my way.
Why I am Here?
I love expanding my circle of friends and colleagues and especially with those working in domains that I don’t encounter everyday. I hope to share my ideas as well as gain from the ideas of others. Currently I am looking to push my research forward in the area of education (I am a Computer Scientist formally) and am struggling at how to get that area of research kicked off.