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?


  1. I agree with you that we assume way too much about our students. Sometimes. I just think they will figure it out eventually, but what they really need is some good modeling and guided practice for even the most basic things like taking notes from a video. I read a great suggestion from another blogger a while back who said he actually had the first week or so of his flipped classroom in the computer lab and the kids did the videos in front of him so he could train them how to use them correctly and learn from them. I think that's a great idea I might try next year,

    1. We actually did the same thing last class period. I modeled how to find important information visually and how to pause the video as I transition the white boards. (I tape myself lecturing in front of a series of small white boards each with a focal piece of content.)

      I explained that after each white board they should have something written down and if they don't they should rewind that part of the video and watch it again.

      Students were then given class time to watch the next video and fill out their notes sheet. It was a great learning experience for all of us! Thanks for sharing Mrs. Kirch!


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