Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The evolution of OneNote as a platform for flipped learning

Nearly two years ago, I posted about using OneNote on a Surface to replace my whiteboard. Since then, my whiteboard does not get much use. But ironically, neither does my projector. (Although I still use it more than my whiteboard). The big change in my practice since my last post has been the advent of "flipping my classroom". My interpretation of "Flipping the classroom" is:
  • You prerecord lessons and host the content somewhere your students can access it.
  • Students watch your lessons on their devices.
  • At the end of the video you set some work for them.
  • Once a student finishes an activity they watch the next video and repeat these steps
I have run with this process over the last year and a half and in this post I am going to reflect on this process.

My journey into flipping the classroom started when I was teaching in a tiny but effective school in rural Northland, New Zealand. The principal had given me the responsibility of teaching the year 13 Maths  with Calculus and Maths with Stats courses. Because there were only 5 students doing these courses he could only afford to give me 4 hours a week to teach two courses that would usually require 8 hours. I knew this would be a problem because I would only ever have time to teach and never any time to help students individually. This is when I made the choice to prerecord my lessons and let them work through the course for homework. Then when they came to class I ran it like a tutorial, where I could go through examples and problems and engage with students and their questions.

When I moved to St Andrew's College in Christchurch I decided to try out flipped learning in a context where time was not such a problem. Since I am working with Algebra with my year 9s at the moment, here's an example of what I've been doing:

1. Record a lesson, going through a couple of examples (watch full screen for best experience):

Notice that it is short and to the point. . I try to aim for 2-3 minutes with year 9s

2. Set work for them at the end. This can be a range of things, from textbook exercises, through to specific instructions for them to work though. In this case it is some work set for them in OneNote:

3. The student carries out the work. Once they have completed it they tick it off in their own OneNote section so I can monitor their progress:

As you can see there are dates when I expect students to be to a certain topic and I write comments on their progress so that they know I am monitoring them.

The single biggest benefit I have found from flipping the classroom is the amount of time it gives me during class to spend helping students one on one. In this Algebra topic with my year 9s I get to meet with each student individually virtually every lesson. It means that with a skill such as solving equations, I can be very thorough with checking that each student is expressing their working in a logical and concise manner.

Twitter: @benhilliam Email: bhi@stac.school.nz

Disclaimer: This is not the sole entirety of how I teach, but one practice of many I employ.