I’ve been a big fan of the flipped classroom for a number of years now. With many classes I find that lesson time is too often devoted to “delivering content”, as it were, en masse. Typically, unless you are some kind of differentiation god (which I am not) there will be some people who latch onto the new idea pretty quickly and start to get bored as I am required to repeat, re-explain or look at from a completely new angle whatever gem of knowledge I am trying to impart. I can’t go as fast as the quickest, nor as slow as the slowest. It’s a balancing act. This means I only really get it exactly right for a few individuals.
I know there are many ways to try to get round this problem without flipping the classroom. I have great admiration for colleagues who can cleverly structure learning activities so that they are differentiated and meet each learner’s needs much more effectively. I can do this too, sometimes. But I like flipping.
I have gradually introduced my students to the idea of flipped learning and over the years have created a number of videos at www.youtube.com/mrcampbellmaths, most of which have proven successful. There are many advantages of the flipped classroom. For me I would sum it up like this:
- Students can learn at their own pace using the video, at home or out and about.
- Students who lose their notes, missed the lesson or want to revise can re-watch the video at any time.
- In lessons I can spend much more time working with individuals or groups to help move their learning forward.
But there are limitations…
- How do I know who has watched the video?
- How do I plan my lesson if I don’t know if they have understood the video?
- How do I make sure they actively watch the video, rather than passively copying down notes from a computer screen?
This is why I got so excited about EDpuzzle.com
This website provides a simple to use structure in which you can embed a video from almost anywhere on the web (or one you make and upload yourself) and both augment the learner’s experience through questioning, audio comments etc, and track in close detail the activities of each learner. So, basically, addressing the three key limitations listed above.
So the weekend before last my “To do” list (after “Set up blog!”) included “Make video on factorising quadratics and use via EDpuzzle”
But who ever has time for everything on their list? So it got to 10pm on Sunday and I knew I had no time to start recording. I decided to turn to the number one teaching strategy which almost never fails: nick something someone else has already done! A quick search on Youtube found this excellent video by the equally excellent @HegartyMaths. The perfect introduction to this important skill. All I had to do was EDpuzzle it.
The process was so quick and easy I might as well take you through it (I had already set up an account, which is dead easy, at edpuzzle.com):
Click on “Create” then “New Video”
Choose your source! TED, Khan Academy, Youtube… and the list carries on down the page!
I had already found my Youtube video so I simply pasted in the URL and it appeared. You then get the option to crop the video, removing as much as you like from the beginning or the end of video. Very useful if the perfect 5 minutes happens to be in the middle of an hour long yawn-fest!
Next you are taken through three options designed to enhance the video and make the experience interactive. The first two (which I skipped on this occasion) let you record either a voiceover for the full video, or audio notes to appear at times of your choosing while the video pauses. The third option is to add Questions. These can be added at specific points in the video and come in 3 formats:
- Open. You type a question to which the student must respond with a simple text answer. These are not marked/verified automatically – you log in and do these yourself later.
- Test. I used this. You type a multiple choice question and any number of correct or incorrect answers from which students will choose. See image below. These are immediately marked for students and the correct answer revealed.
- Comment. This is simply a way to add a typed comment which students will see but do not have to respond to. Very useful if you want to clarify something from the video or for many other reasons.
Now use it!
The whole process was very quick – taking only as much time as it took me to think of the questions. My next job was to ‘deliver’ the video to the students. First I created a ‘Class’ by going to ‘My classes’ and clicking ‘Add Class’.
I chose my class from the list, then (of course!) chose “Prevent skipping” – so simple but so brilliant! Students can navigate backwards and forwards through the clips as much as they like except that they can never skip ahead beyond what they have already seen.
Once assigned to “10 set 2” I had to give my students instructions for how to join the class. Sign up is very simple – they all went to edpuzzle.com (at home) and followed instructions to “Sign up” as a student, and once in they simply chose “Join Class” and input a short code I had given them (specific to my class) and that was it!
So I set this “homework” on a Monday, to be completed before the next lesson on the Thursday. By the Tuesday night, when I logged in to check how they were getting on, I could see that around half the class had completed the task. I had a quick scan through the available data and I knew straight away that this really was going to prove an invaluable tool for flipping my classroom.
On Wednesday night, late(ish), I logged in again to take stock and plan my lesson, the aim of which was to consolidate the knowledge gained at home through the video.
I could see that…
Four students had still not logged in. Not a problem! I went to the school portal and booked a few laptops for tomorrow’s lesson (Ok, it was lucky there were some available, but still). Then in the lesson I sent them off to fetch them straight away and after 20 mins they were done.
Three students had achieved full marks. Great! These would be my Peer Tutors and for the first fifteen minutes of the lesson they would circulate and help the others. (They did. It was great!)
One student had clearly struggled much more than the others. Ok, so I planned to spend the first 5 minutes with her while the Peer Tutors looked after everyone else. What a luxury to have the time!
The majority of the class scored between 50% and 83%, meaning that while many would need a decent amount of practice, a large number of them would probably be ready to move on before the hour was out. Knowing this, I planned a suitable follow on task, to which students could “self-refer” once they felt “green” on the main task.
I was buzzing by the time I finished planning my lesson. And in particular I was impressed by all the data at my fingertips. On the top level, the first thing I saw was this snapshot of results and (at the top) the questions ordered by difficulty:
Useful. But now drill down – look at a particular question. I can see how many students gave each answer and who gave each answer, so I get a good idea of what the misunderstandings were (especialy if my multiple choice wrong answers were carefully chosen). Useful for deciding how to group students for follow on activities.
Great! But now drill down more! The data you get on an individual student was what blew me away. Click on a student’s name from any page and you go straight to their analysis. You can see all their answers and whether they were correct or not. Take this example:
From question five I could see that she had not quite grasped the need to ‘cancel down’ each bracket, getting the second one wrong. But then, having seen that this answer was incorrect, she was able to correctly complete the next one! Brilliant detail.
And this is just awesome:
This girl watched each part of the video at least twice. But she watched the section with which she struggled most (evidenced by the red question marks – incorrect answers) eight times! I would never have had this information from students watching videos on my youtube channel. I was really happy to be able to praise and reward this student for her determination.
I realise this blog is already excessively long! Time to stop. If you’ve got this far, I hope you’ve found it interesting. I would encourage you to try out EDpuzzle, and I’d love to hear what you think about it. I know there are other similar options out there (e.g. Educanon) – have you used any of them?
If you want to experience what my year 10 experienced, I have created a new class which, if you log in as a student, you can join! The code is e92Qk4. Tip: Set up an account as a teacher, but then log out and back in as a student (using the same credentials) – this lets you join classes. The quadratics video is there, along with a shorter one entitled “How far away is the moon?”. Knock yourself out!
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave comments.