Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quiz as a Motivating Factor?

March 27, 2012

In the student survey I posted about last week, one of my students mentioned having a difficult time accessing the homework videos through YouTube on her Smart Phone.  I had the videos set to semi-private (only accessible with a link) since I embedded them onto our class web-site, Edmodo.  As much as I dislike the idea of my video lectures being public on YouTube, I did it for my students!   

This past week students were assigned a homework lecture on Human Heredity.  They were informed that there would be a quiz over the information on the day their notes were due and that they could use their notes on the quiz.  Students were given the usual one week time frame to complete the assignment. 

My General Biology students had a participation rate of 34% (34 out of 99) and my Practical Biology students only had a return rate of .04% (1 out of 28).  This averages out to a 28% participation rate for the week.  It does appear that a quiz over the video seems to be a motivating factor for about 34% of my General Biology students but not much of one for my Practical Biology students.

I find it interesting that in the 5 weeks I’ve been assigning video lectures, I have yet to get a higher than 39% participation rate.  It’s frustrating because I can see the benefits for the students that do participate.  I also hear so much about the many teachers having success with this Flipped Classroom model, but in my classes the students just don’t want to put in the time to watch a 6 to 8 minute video lecture as homework.  I wonder if it’s because I am only semi-flipping?  Perhaps if students had videos to watch everyday rather than only once a week my results would be different.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Participation Wanes / Interesting Survey Results

Weeks of February 27th and March 5th, 2012

During the past two weeks students have not been as motivated to complete their video homework assignments as they were in week two.  So far, week two was the most motivating for students (see previous post), perhaps because I offered them the opportunity to use their notes on a quiz the next class period.  I will extend the same offer again this week to see if the number of completed video notes will increase, perhaps there is a correlation.
As usual, students were given one week’s notice about the homework videos and they were reminded about them each class period (A/B block).  Students were assigned a Genetic Code video lecture due on March 1st and a second video lecture on Selective Breeding which was due on March 6th.   As you can see from the graph, student participation dropped for both of the video lectures.  Return rates for Practical Biology were 14% for both assignments and for General Biology the return rates were 31% and 28% respectively. 
I also created a voluntary survey which 59 students completed (45%).  Below I have included some of the more interesting responses for you to review.  After each question students were asked to explain their answers but I thought for the sake of this blog I could let the numbers speak for themselves.  Please let me know if you’d like more details about the student's input on any of the selected items.

What do you think of the video lectures when compared to classroom lectures?
I learn better from the short video lectures that I can watch at my own pace.           20   34%
Both ways of learning work equally for me. No preference.                                       19   32%
I learn better from the longer, more in depth, classroom lectures.                             20   34%

If you HAVE watched a video lecture as homework, please mark the reasons why.

It's the only way I can get credit for the assignment.                                                 23      53%
So I can work in peer review groups during class.                                                    15      35%
So I can participate in the activity stations during the next class period.                   28      65%
So I can take my time and learn the material at my own pace.                                  23     53%
I want to do well in this class.                                                                                     29     67%
To get good grades.                                                                                                   31     72%
So I don't have to make up the activity stations on my own time.                              29     67% 
So I can do well on the quiz over the lecture video notes.                                         30     70%
People may select more than one check box, so percentages may add up to more than 100%

If you HAVE NOT watched a video lecture as homework please mark the reasons why.
I never do homework.                                                                                                                                6     20%
One week isn't enough time to complete the assignment.                                                                        5     17%
I don't have access to YouTube, a DVD player, a computer, the computer lab or the public library.       10    33%
I forget.                                                                                                                                                      24    80% 
I don't know how to access the homework videos.                                                                                     0      0%
I don't care about learning.                                                                                                                          0      0% 
I would rather get no credit and do it during class time.                                                                              1      3%
People may select more than one check box, so percentages may add up to more than 100%..

So far I have been unable to really experience a true flip due to lack of student participation.  I have noticed that students who are watching the videos and participating in the activity stations seem to have a much deeper understanding of the material which was my goal with the flip, but how do I get everyone on board?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Motivation to do Homework is Increasing

Week of February 20th to 25th
On February 14th, my students were assigned a 7 minute video lecture on protein synthesis.  The due date for their modified Cornell notes was February 24th giving students 10 days (which included a four day weekend) to complete the assignment.  I have decided to give my students a week’s notice for their homework videos so those without computer access will have time to use a school computer or go to the public library.  So far only three students have checked out a USB drive in order to watch the videos.

The chart below is comparing the completion rate of the first assignment to the completion rate of the second assignment.  You'll notice there's been a big improvement, but we still have a ways to go.  None of my Practical Biology students completed their first assignment, but this time 37% did!  This is very close to the 39% completion rate I had from my General Biology students.  This means I had a completion rate of 38% from all of my classes, quite an improvement from the 13% completion rate I had last time.  Student motivation to do their homework has increased this week and I'm interested to find out why.
Students that had completed their homework were put into peer teaching groups to discuss their notes and answer each other’s questions. During their discussions I had each group draw a picture story of the key concept (protein synthesis) on the back of their worksheets. As I walked around to each group I had them explain their story which allowed me to assess their level of understanding. I could then clarify misunderstandings within their small groups or with specific individuals.  The students that did not have their notes done had to watch the video and take notes during this peer teaching time.
I had prepared a brief nine question quiz over the content that was covered in the video, but not as an assessment of understanding.  I allowed students to use their notes on the quiz so they could see the importance of detailed notes and how sharing what they’ve learned with others can increase comprehension. 

Here is an example of the modified Cornell notes sheet I have my students fill out.  They have the option of submitting them online via Edmodo or hand writing the notes and turning them in during class.
Students will now be assigned one video lecture a week.  I will focus these lectures on the Biology content students often have difficulty understanding.  So far I have been impressed at the level of comprehension my students are demonstrating after their peer discussion groups and one on one teacher assistance.  I’m anxious to get some student feedback from another Google survey this week. 
What do you think motivates, or would motivate, students to watch video lectures as homework?

My Flipped Classroom Action Research Plan

Now that I have introduced my students to the Flipped Classroom model and have collected some baseline data I will begin to roll out my research plan. 
This study will focus on student motivation using the Flipped Classroom model.  It will take place in a Biology classroom, during the spring semester, at Scottsbluff High School.  This school is located in Scottsbluff, Nebraska which is the largest city in western Nebraska with 15,039 residents.  It is a low to moderate income community with a poverty rate of 54%.  It is a regional trade center located within an agricultural community.
Most of the students taking Biology are in 10th grade or “advanced” 9th graders.  There are a few 11th and 12th grade students in some of the sections due to school transfer or past failure.  This study will focus on two sections of Practical Biology and four sections of General Biology.  The classes meet for 90 minutes every other day on an A/B block schedule.  All together there will be 129 students that data will be collected from.
Data collection for this study will mainly focus on how well students respond to watching video lectures outside of the class as homework.  All Biology students in this study have a digital classroom account on Edmodo (www.edmodo.com) where video lectures are posted and accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To accommodate students without internet or computer access outside of school, videos are made available on USB Flash drives or put onto DVD’s for students to check out and take home.  The homework lectures will be assigned one week in advance of the due date so students can make arrangements to use school computers before school, during homeroom, at lunch or after school.  Student access should not be a factor that will affect the results of this study.
As students watch each video lecture they will fill out a modified Cornell notes worksheet and return it to class on its due date. Students that do not complete the assignment as homework will have to miss out on the peer teaching groups and activity stations while they watch the video and take the missing notes during class.  No credit will be awarded to students that did not complete the assignment as homework even though all students will be required to have notes over the material.  Grades are not a motivating factor for all students, but according to a study done on using grades as motivation for learning, grades could be classified as either an external and internal motivating force (Sebart & Krek, 2002).

The number of students that watch the videos will be assessed by the return rate of their notes worksheet.  The notes will also be rated on a scale of one to three: 1 = minimal amount of effort  2 = average effort  3= full effort.  A rubric will be developed in order to consistently analyze the notes and assign a rating.  This likert scale will be used to track improvement in independent note taking skills as the study progresses.  Perhaps motivation to watch the videos will stem from confidence in completing the assignment.

The third type of data being collecting will focus on student opinions about the Flipped Classroom.  Students will be asked to fill out Google form surveys so they can provide feedback as to what they like and dislike about the Flipped Classroom model.  Interviews with random students from each class will also be conducted. 
These data sources should show trends in student motivation for watching video lectures as homework.  Some themes to look for during analysis include: extrinsic versus intrinsic motivating factors, note taking skills, confidence and change in student opinions. 

Each week as data is assessed, it will be posted on www.myflippedclassroomexperience.blogspot.com. This public blog will act as a research journal while providing a way for other educators to offer suggestions and guidance. 
This research project started in January 2012 with a slow introduction to students and modeling of how to watch and take notes from a video lecture.  Beginning in mid-February students are being assigned one homework video a week.  This will continue for the duration of the study which is scheduled to end in April.    

Sebart, M., & Krek, J. (n.d.). Should Grades be a Motivation for Learning?. ERIC PDF Download. Retrieved February 23, 2012, from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED470664

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Students that did not watch the last homework video have had almost two weeks to get caught up on the class work they missed. There are still 34% of my General Biology students that did not complete the activities we did in class the day the lecture was due.  
Going into this I knew my biggest obstacle would be student motivation.  The Flipped Classroom model just won’t work if students don’t take responsibility for their learning.  I plan to start assigning one video a week as homework.  If I make the videos part of our regular routine perhaps students will be more likely to jump on board.  My mission is to figure out how to increase student motivation in an effort to make this work.  Do you have any suggestions?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My First Flipped Class

Monday February 6, 2012

The number of students completing their assignments was actually worse today than on Friday (see post below). Keep in mind that the classes I saw today had four days to complete their assignment with the weekend, whereas my classes from Friday only had 48 hours.  My school is on an A/B block were we see our students for 90 minutes every other day.

Today only six students had their homework done while three had it partly completed. It seems that time was not a relevant factor in students completing the assignment.

Out of all 127 high school Biology students, only 17 came to class with their notes from watching the 13 minute homework video, that's only 13%.  None of my Practical Biology students did the homework and out of the General Biology students that had done their homework 12 were girls and 5 were boys, 12 were Caucasian and 5 were Hispanic.

Homework Completed
Homework Incomplete
Practical Biology
General Biology

Friday February 3, 2012
One of my biggest concerns about flipping came to fruition today.  Out of the 69 students that I had, only 11 did their homework.  This meant that only 16% of my students were able to fully participate in the class activities I had planned! 

As they arrived in class today, students were greeted with my enthusiasm for the multiple activity and inquiry stations that I had prepared to help them practice the content they had learned from the lecture video.  Materials were designed to fit a variety of proficiency levels so that each person could make an individual choice about the stations they wanted to work on.

·       Beginners:  Those that felt unsure about the vocabulary terms and Punnett square practice problems.
o   One on One:  I worked individually with students in the areas they were having difficulty.
o   Activity:  Practice worksheets with keys to help build their confidence in the material. 
§  After completion of this station students proceeded to the proficient station.

·         Proficient:  Students that fully understand the material in the lecture.
o   Activity:  Two explorations on using the principle of probability in genetics.
o   Inquiry:   Six real world breeding situations that students had to solve (beginning to advanced). 
o   Reading:  An article about using genetics to feed a growing population.

·         Advanced:  A challenge beyond what the other stations provide.
o   Reading:  Researched web-sites I provided with information about dihybrid crosses.
o   Activity:   Dihybrid worksheets and inquiry investigations.
Students that had not done their homework were disappointed when they had to use their activity time to watch the video and take notes.  Hopefully this will motivate them to complete the videos as homework in the future.  I emphasized that the video was only a 13 minute homework assignment while the stations would require much more make-up time.
Before students could select their stations, I placed them into review teams so they could converse about their notes and practice problems. First, I modeled a variety of review team scenarios with the help of “student actors” and the class had to explain what we had done right and what we had done wrong in our review team.  This demonstration helped students understand the goal of a review team and the importance of discussing what they had learned with others.
As I experienced this first true flip I was filled with a mix of emotions.  I felt disappointment for the students that choose to not do their homework and exhilaration from seeing students working together as a team to help each other understand and solve problems.  Rather than having to sit and listen to me lecture for part of the period they were able to use their class time to amalgamate their understanding of basic genetic principles as I stood by as a facilitator to their understanding. This was an amazing experience and I hope that my students will realize the benefits of watching the lecture videos outside of our scheduled class time.

On average, what percent of your students come to class without having watched the video lecture?

The First Homework Lecture

Wednesday February 1, 2012
Students were assigned their first homework video on “Predicting Offspring using Punnett Squares”.  I am interested to see how many students will do their homework in the next 48 hours (we are on an A/B block schedule).  Sadly, our high school students very rarely do any homework that is assigned.

I have the video saved to USB drives and will make DVD’s for students that have limited access.  The laptops in my classroom are also available to everyone before school, during lunchtime study hall and after school.  Students also have the option of using other computers in our school or at the public library.

Video Training and List of Tips

Monday January 30, 2012
I gave my students the following tips as I modeled how to watch a video lecture while taking notes:

·       Write down the topic or objective of the lecture. 
·       Pause the video when I advance a whiteboard. Each whiteboard contains a new idea or      piece of content, so it’s an important time to check your notes.
o   Do you have any notes written down from the section?  If not, you will need to rewind that portion of the video and listen again.
·       Take a short break during transitions if needed.  Get up and walk across the room.  You don’t have to sit and watch the entire video without a break.
·        Look at the pictures that are drawn on each board and put them in your notes if you think it will help you remember what was being discussed. 
·       Write down any questions you have as they pop into your mind.  If you wait until the end of the video you may forget what your questions were.
·       Try all practice problems.   If you are confused about a problem, rewind the video and re-watch the demonstration.
·       Do what works for you!  These are just suggestions that may help some students get used to the idea of taking notes from a video lecture.  If you already have a system that works for you then keep using it.
As practice, students took notes while I played video segments for the class.  After each section I paused the video and allowed students to compare their notes with a partner.  As a class we discussed the important points that should have been written down.  After the modeling and whole class demonstration students mentioned that they felt more comfortable with their note taking skills. 
Next, I had students watch an “Introduction to Genetics” video while they filled out their modified Cornell notes worksheet.  Students did a great job of utilizing the new skills they had acquired!

What tips have you given to your students about taking notes from a video lecture?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flipping Webinar

Lodge McCammon was my inspiration to flip.  Here's a FREE webinar for those of you interested in learning more about flipping and hearing from others that have implemented the inverted classroom.  Flipping Your Classroom with FIZZ

If you hear of any other trainings, let me know.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Second Chance

Student Participation… Take Two
January 23 to January 27, 2012
In my last post I shared statistics on student participation with regards to watching their first video lecture and taking an online quiz.  The video was a review on cell division while the quiz was assigned to assess my student’s ability to glean important information from the video.  Being disappointed in the initial results, I went back to reteach students on how to watch the video while taking the quiz. 
I have graphed the differences in my results.  Week one is when I first presented my students with the video and assigned them the quiz to take as they listened to the content.  When comparing the initial results with week two, where students were given one more chance to complete the assignment or redo their initial attempt, you’ll notice an increase in both student participation and achievement. 

The number of students completing the assignment increased 23% from week one to week two, while the average grade on the assignment increased by 10.5% (7% in General Biology and 14% in Practical Biology). 
I wanted more student feedback into this first video assignment and the flipped classroom idea so I put together a Google form survey that my students have randomly taken.  Here is what my students think about the idea so far.

The answers that my students provided have helped me realize some important points.  First, I was surprised at how many students didn’t watch the video while taking the quiz as was directed.  After some discussion I realized that many students got hung up on the word “quiz” and felt as if they would be cheating if they watched the video while they answered the questions.  Many also stated that they were not aware of the fact that they could watch the video while taking the quiz, even after they had received both verbal and written instructions to do so.
Instead of a quiz for this week, I have designed a  modified Cornell notes worksheet so students can take notes, ask questions and write a summary about what they learn from the video.  On Monday, I will model how to watch a video lecture while filling in the worksheet as students participate in rounds of “think, pair, share”.   
The second thought that came to mind as I reviewed the data is how high school teachers often assume that students come into their classrooms knowing how to “learn” the content that's presented to them, but where would they have learned these skills?  Unless students have had a study skills class they may have never been shown how to take notes or decipher important information from a discussion or lecture. 

This week I will provide my students with detailed training on how to learn and take notes from a lecture.  I was surprised to see that over 90% of my students requested this direct training.  Sometimes we can learn the biggest lessons from the simplest questions!

Question:  What type of strategies or training do you provide to your students when it comes to helping them become better learners?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Student Participation

January 16 to January 20, 2012

Today (Monday), my Biology students were asked to watch the video review and to take the associated online quiz by Friday.  I gave them the option of using class time to complete the assignment or watching it on their own outside of class.   Out of 128 students, 72 completed the assignment (56%) and 56 did not (44%).  This is exactly what I was afraid of if I made the video homework, but I’m puzzled why they didn’t watch the video when given class time to do so.  I will investigate this further.
The reason I made the quiz was to determine if the students were able to learn the important information that was presented in the video lecture and to determine who watched the video.  There were 12 questions; eight multiple choice, three fill in the blank and one short answer.  Use of the video lecture while taking the quiz was permitted.  Very few students took advantage of this tool and did quite poorly on the quiz.  When I averaged the scores of all my students that took the quiz, it was only a 61.5% which is unacceptable.  For those of you interested in more details my classes are tracked with my Practical Biology classes averaging a 50% while my General Biology classes averaged a 73%.
I am hoping that the scores were low because this was their first time using a video review and taking this type of online quiz.  In order to provide my students with more practice on how to learn content from a video I will reemphasize to them that they CAN use the video to help them on their quiz.  The quiz has been reassigned to students that would like to improve their score, and for students that received a zero for not completing the assignment by its due date. I hope to see better results this time!

Publishing My First Video

Now things got a little tricky!  After making a 10 min. and 33 sec. video that is an mp4 file, I discovered that it was too long to post on YouTube (over 10 min.)!  Naturally I try the next best thing, SchoolTube.  After three attempts to upload the video and receiving errors each time I figured the file was too big for SchoolTube as well.  Now what?  The only thing I could think of was to post the mp4 file directly to my class’s online learning network, Edmodo. 

The next day I asked my students to watch the review video on our classroom laptops and to take the associated online quiz.  One BIG problem…our bandwidth was too small and only one or two students could stream the video at a time.
I decide to ask the Flipped Classroom community of teachers on Edmodo what to do.  I received some great advice and one teacher mentioned that her long videos seem to upload fine on SchoolTube.  Being the easiest fix I tried SchoolTube again, low and behold it worked!  I was able to embed the video on Edmodo and students were able to watch my final product.  There were still some timing issues with slow buffering but overall it worked well.

Filming My First Video

January 13th 2012

I want to ease my Biology students into the idea of watching a video lecture, so today I decided to create a section review video. 
What format should I use?  There are so many different ways to present recorded course content that I wasn’t sure which to use: screen casts, Kahn Academy, video recording, etc.  After much deliberation, I decided to use the Flip one-take model that Lodge McCammon presented at the STEM Institute.  I chose this format for two reasons.  First, I like the idea of my students being able to see me as I teach them, and two I think it will help me keep the video lectures short (under 10 minutes).

I started by dividing a piece of white paper into six sections.  Each of these sections would represent the material I would put onto my six white boards.  Then I transferred the information and images onto the white boards using colorful markers. 
I set up my white boards, tripod and video camera and was ready to go.  Since this was a review lecture of an entire section of content, it was a little longer than I had hoped (10:33) but I managed to pull it off in just one take.  From start to finish this first attempt took me approximately one hour. 

Why “Flip”?

While participating in the Siemens STEM Institute 2011 fellowship program, I attended Lodge McCammon’s (of the Friday Institute) presentation discussing the “The Flipped Classroom”.  It was an eye-opening experience that immediately made me aware of all the possibilities this tool can provide.

The idea of providing my high school Biology students with prerecorded lectures to listen to, at their own pace, sounded like a great way to differentiate my lecture material.  Students now can pause and rewind the material that was more difficult for them to understand.  This format also makes the curriculum more accessible to my ELL (English Language Learner) and special needs students.  

The greatest benefit of the Flipped Classroom is students can watch these lectures on their own time, as homework.  This translates into less of our class time being spent lecturing and much more time being spent exploring the newly learned concepts with labs, projects or investigations. 
This is where the term “flipped” comes from.  Rather than a teacher lecturing during class and then sending students home to work on projects they may not understand, students are instead assigned lectures to watch as homework and return to class ready to further explore the concepts.  By “flipping” what is assigned as homework, teachers assume the role of personal learning coaches and fellow classmates become tutors, all while being actively engaged in the content.

After much personal research I have decided to give this a try.  My three main concerns going into this are…
1.       How long will it take for my Biology students to assume the responsibility for their own learning and actually watch the videos as home work?
a.      There is VERY LITTLE motivation among several of my students to do homework.
2.      Students without internet access will have to find time in their school day to use a computer and watch the lecture.
a.      This should not be a problem for most students, but I can see it as an easy excuse.
3.      Will I be able to manage the many classroom activities taking place simultaneously in my room?
a.      Group 1:  Students on computers during class time because they didn’t do their “homework”.
b.      Group 2:  Advanced activities for students that have mastered the content.
c.       Group 3:  Mid-level activities for students that are starting their journey of understanding.
d.      Group 4:  A personal review group for students that need more one on one explanation.
Wish me luck!