24 January 2011

Flipping the Classroom (Week 1)

(or,  to YouTube, or not to YouTube...  That is the question.)

The first thing I learned this week  is that that is probably a correlation between the quality and clarity of the materials I create/share online for my students and their likelihood of having those materials prepared when they get to class.

That brings me to the trouble of time. It seems ideal to create my own videos so I can control the content, elude to events from class, and point students to more resources, but to create a worthwhile video takes me at least an hour at this point after I am done filming/screencasting, editing, and uploading.  Creating my own content also makes burning to DVDs or CDs much easier, which is important for making a flipped classroom feasible for my students without web access.  This almost seems manageable for one course, but getting it done for two courses at the same time, right now, seems daunting.  My first solution is to compile playlists of the best videos, which is mostly what I did for last week.  When chosen thoughtfully, I think a playlist of others' videos is almost as good, and kind of has me feeling like I have a co-teacher.

But here's the dilemma.  Many students that don't have web access at home make the wise choice to use their lunch or other free time in the building to go to a lab and view course materials and check their online grades when they can.  My students could have viewed their notes from last week this way IF YouTube was not blocked for student accounts.  The advantage of YouTube is critical mass of content.  When a student views one of my videos or one I share, if he wants to see a different video, the largest library of related content is on YouTube.  There is related content on unblocked sites like Vimeo or TeacherTube, but just not as much.  Something I need to work out.

Assessment of Week 1:
We were off Monday for MLK Day as mentioned in the last post, and then had snow days on Thursday and Friday, so there's really not even enough experience to grade.  Informal early reports suggest that my older students were more likely to have accessed the content from home.
Things to Change for Week 2:
Not a whole lot to adjust yet because half of my content/lesson plan from last week is still on the table.  I did not call/email parents to let them know notes/videos were available, which I know should be one element of success, but that was partially because I was not totally pleased with what I was offering last week.  I already had an email attachment debacle a couple weeks ago during a snow day, so I did not want to lose some parents by pushing crap out to the masses.  However, I will...
  • email/call parents
  • focus on ONE of my courses to improve quality of content
  • put some videos on Vimeo (can those uploads be linked to YouTube?)

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Thanks for sharing!