I’ve written before about my work with various tools, the focus lately is on student blogging and using a FeedWordPress setup to create a connected course where my students (and anyone else) can view the syndicated posts of the students in a single place.
I was away for four days of classes last week but I left work for my #TC101 #TC1019 and #TC2027 classes. They shouldn’t miss my presence in front of the room since I’m not the focus of the class. Some of those students embrace that fact but some are still reaching to grok what I mean by this student-centred and flipped (in the sense of flipping roles) classroom.
I know, it is difficult, it is messy, but as my good friend (now I actually met her in person) Laura Gogia says it right on the title of her blog “Messy Thinking“. I was able to rename this blog to “Connecting is Learning” through her influence and that of many other amazing educators at (and not at but present through the wonders of Virtually Connecting) #OpenEd16 in Richmond, Virginia, USA.
So perhaps I keep coming back to this same theme about relationships in education and that relates to (finally) getting around to changing the title of my blog to #ConnectingIsLearning. If you don’t want to read about passion for education, move on to another blog or post.
I’m been running a form of connected courses since the January-May 2015 semester here at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. I have this tendency to throw a new power tool into my teaching toolbox every January which has been happening for about five years now. The list of courses I have setup is growing so much that I’m struggling to keep them maintained (see Alan’s tweet about needing an updater) and really should list all of them somewhere on the landing page for kenscourses.com. You can just find the current semester courses there now, go ahead and tweak the URLs to find the past semester.
@ken_bauer I cannot even count them. I need a maintenance mode for me.
I think the tool side has matured and is leaving room for more focus on making actual connections. I want to listen more than I want to be heard and that aligns with so much I’ve been reading, discussing and hearing about lately.
So what am I focusing on this semester?
More love for and in teaching and learning. Amy Collier spoke so well about this in our Virtually Connecting hallway conversation (joined that day by Stephen Downes). Just last week I had a (in-the-flesh) lunch conversation with my colleague Pille here on campus and we found a connection there that institutions (through fear) want to remove so much personal communication between students and teachers when we know that students (and teachers) need personal connections that allow us to feel the confidence and have the strength to struggle at this thing we call learning which can be so messy.
I’m known locally and in my network as the “flipping guy”. That label is descriptive in some ways but limiting in others (like most labels). For me the key to my flipped classroom is the flipping of responsibility for the learning. I talk less and listen more while guiding my students. I think I’ve done a good job so far but need to push myself to be sure I am listening to the students that don’t have such a strong voice. This came up in another Virtual Connecting (see a pattern?) hangout which involved our first student participant: Andrew Rikard.
I recently discovered the HybridPod podcast and gave all eleven episodes a listen while leaving the feed on my phone for further updates. The latest episode was about the concept of Openness in the context of sexual orientation and I applaud Chris Friend and his guests for being open about how important (and scary) that can be in a classroom environment.
Their discussion led me to consider how my sharing and interaction with my students online and in person needs to come from a context of me showing my own vulnerabilities when confronted with something new, uncomfortable or scary.
Lately I have found myself hanging out online with a group of educators that frankly intimidates me (see Bonnie‘s reply below). This is a new group and I’m the new kid on the block. I don’t know the language (all of my education is in computing science, not education) but I can be aware of my own deficiencies while also being aware of my strengths.
@ken_bauer lol. if you mean us, see previous tweet re imposter syndrome. we's all got it. ;)
When the pendulum swings from teacher focus to student focus I wonder if my diving to deep into active participation will lead to a danger of going native? We’ll find out as I try to spend more time in the habitats of the Tec student.
Thanks for People
Thanks Laura for pushing me to get a post out. You do amazing work (and intimidate the heck out of me) and I appreciate that. I love all the people that go out of their way to spend little moments of their day to help others.
@ken_bauer cooommmeee onnnn. My family partied til 5A this AM. I stopped at 9P last night so I get up & blog. You can get ONE out the door.
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.
My goal as a facilitator of educational experiences is focused on creating a sharing culture where students not only take responsibility for their own educational pace but also contribute to the learning of their peers. The first half of this session is sharing the technology and techniques I use to foster this environment inside and outside of my classroom.
I view my main task as getting my students excited about learning computing science to increase their chances of a successful student and professional life. I still need to create formative and summative assessments to ensure they are prepared for the courses that follow. I use common tools as well as my own custom testing platform for in my courses. In the second half of this session, I will share those tools and experiences with the audience. The tools I use could be easily adapted to all levels and topics.
Please watch the videos and include in the survey (see below) form your comments or questions about my students’ experiences with a Flipped Mastery classroom.
Please fill out the survey if you plan to attend (or even if you don’t) my session at FlipCon15.
I’m finishing up my 4th semester of applying a flipped classroom and with some encouragement from my peers I decided to “take it to the next level” this semester. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams call this the Flipped Mastery Method.
This semester my classes have a list of topics that each student needs to demonstrate their mastery in. The format for showing their mastery is completely open and graded on an OSU (Outstanding, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory) scale.
Yes, there are many people tweeting about what they ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner or their location on any particular time of day. Twitter is a social media platform and we can use it for whatever we choose.
As mentioned last week, I’ve moved to Schoology as my LMS (Learning Management System) for my courses this semester. I am teaching a total of four groups across three separate courses which means I put two groups of the same course (Fundamentals of Programming using Python) together.
The biggest win for me so far has been the engagement of my students in discussing the out-of-class assigned videos/readings/activities. I use a modified WSQ system (Watch/Summarize/Question) but please see Crystal Kirch’s (@crystalkirch on Twitter)explanation on her blog.