Category Archives: flipped learning

Designing a PBL. A reflection after week one

Holidays are always a fabulous opportunity to have space to think, reflect and plan. During the break I was able to plan and create a Project Based Learning task for my Year 11 Studio Arts students. We have two classes studying Studio Arts with two teachers, myself being one of them. I guess I started with considering what the driving question would be and what the end would look like. Some critical questions came to mind,

  • How would both classes collaborate around the DQ?
  • What technology would enable authentic collaboration?
  • What milestones need to be completed?
  • How will students go?
  • What learning will occur?
  • What are we assessing?

Coming up with the DQ was relatively simple, we wanted our students to have an authentic experience in developing, curating and designing an exhibition. From this the DQ came out.

How do we collaboratively design and create an exhibition?

I needed to map out the process and consider what students would go through. I came up with this, PBL project flow (1)which was more for me then for them. I wanted to have a little bit of clarity around what the process looks like. I love the fact that a PBL is so organic and totally driven by students. Truly making these tasks student driven learning. I decided to use GAFE for connecting each of the classes learning. I wanted to use something that is intuitive and works on any device and has collaboration at its centre. I created a folder which houses all of the student required documents. Task outline, rubrics, ideas documents, project team documents. Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 5.23.21 pm I stabled across Buck Institute for Education after doing a little online research about PBL. Little bit about BIE

our highest priority is to help teachers prepare students for successful lives. We do this by showing teachers how to use Project Based Learning in all grade levels and subject areas. As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, BIE creates, gathers, and shares high-quality PBL instructional practices and products and provides highly effective services to teachers, schools, and districts. http://bie.org/

BIE has a wealth of resources and example documents that you can modify to suit your PBL. It is well worth taking a look. This really helped me frame our PBL and make sure the it is hitting the required learning intentions.

This is part of the task sheet that students use to frame their thinking.

Find the full sheet here: PBL task sheet

Your task is to work in groups and across both classes in planning, designing and creating our Yr 11 Art show. The Year 11 Art show will open on the 3 of August at 5:00 pm in the Menzies Gallery Cripps Centre. The show will display work from students studying Art, Studio Arts and Visual Communication Design. The show will be a celebration of the works of Yr 11 students studying Visual Arts and assessed by an authentic audience. The show must capture the attention of your audience and focus on the following:

  • Artistic rigour: Exhibition should be of high artistic excellence and integrity;
  • Relevance: Exhibition should demonstrate the exploration of issues
  • Coherence: Exhibitions must display cohesion through themes, subjects or techniques and materials
  • Audience development: Exhibition should meet audience targets by meaningfully engaging with established audiences and creatively attracting new audiences;
  • Best-practice: Exhibition should be in-line with industry standards, particularly with regard to the standard of display and interpretation

Student Objectives

    You will collaborate your thinking and be involved in:

    • Be involved in aspects of curatorial work – writing catalogues, wall text, artist profiles
    • Be involved in exhibition design in collaboration with our Art technician
    • Design all marketing and promotion material
    • Select and install students works from Art, Studio Arts and VCD
    • Design lighting and space requirement
    • Design the look, feel and opening night of the exhibition
    • Develop team roles around critical jobs involved in the exhibition
    • Use effective collaboration techniques between both classes in developing ideas for the show.

    Reflection after week one

    Our first lesson centred around working through the ideas behind a PBL and then we moved into deconstructing the task sheet and looking through the rubric for assessment. I have used the rubrics on BIE for the assessment of the PBL and modified them to suit my context. We discussed collectively what the learning would look like to achieve above standard in each of the criterions. After this I let the students go. I have always found the most difficult thing as an educator is to let go of ‘control’. I want students to be the co-constructors of learning, driving and challenging their learning. I want to shift the ownership of learning to them from me. Letting go of the control is hard, scaring and even challenging, but when you do, your students will never disappoint. I was astonished of how quickly they were all engaging with the task, with each other and taking control of their learning in the first lesson.

    GAFE was a great choice, it is enhancing both classes ability to communicate and collaborate their learning. We started out with seperate class documents, but the students decided this wasn’t working and have now merged their learning into one document. Effectively making choices of how best they can all collaborate.  Over the next few lessons I witnessed true collaboration and self directed learning. Students began making choices of how best to support each other and what roles they would like to focus on. When you hand over learning to students and scaffold the learning intentions students will ultimately take control and be self motivated to discover the gaps in their learning and plug the holes. The engagement has been superb due to the authenticity of the task. Students are learning be doing and deeply engaging with the specific roles involved in exhibition design, curatorial work and installation of art works as well as 21st century competencies of collaboration, communication and critical thinking. What I am realising is the power of a PBL to connect 21st skills to deep learning.

    As the week moved on students collaboration deepened around the roles involved in the exhibition and they have started learning from each other about these roles. A testament to the tasks collaborative nature was seeing the students organise a meeting totally initiated by them in their own time to discuss and plan their ideas for the DQ. If that’s not immersion in a task I don’t know what is, giving up their own time to work on an assessment! Part of my thinking was to incorporate a flipped lesson about the Question Formation Technique.  Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 5.01.28 pmI wanted students to be able to develop their knowledge about asking good questions in seeking answers that will move their learning. This is the only part of the task that I have ‘made’ them complete. A student reflection from the QFT task

    Reflection:

    I didn’t quite understand this task at the beginning but as I started thinking of what the class really needs to know and the things both classes have been tossing up, I started understand the kinds of questions we should ask. Reading over my questions and thinking of the advantages and disadvantages of each, revealed to me how some questions that can seem important, can actually be useless. Completing this task allowed me to realize what questions are the most important and will ensure we receive the most valuable information required for our exhibition. In hindsight, I know now that some questions I have written are less important than others and should be rethought and re-written to ask how and why we should do certain things and therefore receive more valuable answers to help with the creation of the exhibition.

    Some of the questions they have came up with

    • How can we efficiently present an exhibition that isn’t completely tradition and has quirky, new elements that could attract a larger crowd?
    • What is the most effective marketing technique in order to get people to come to see the exhibition?
    • How much time is reasonable to allow to plan for a large scale exhibition. What focal points must be prioritised?
    • What idiosyncrasies are vital to each role an exhibition?
    • Creativity is evidently a crucial aspect of a successful exhibition. How do you recommend balancing innovation and impotent feelings?
    • Are there any common problems we should be aware of as we begin to put together an exhibition if so, what are they?  

    The QFT starts with giving students a question focus, I left this open for students to decide around the Driving Question. The rules for a QFT are

    • Ask as many question as you can
    • Do not stop to judge, discuss, edit or answer any of the questions
    • Write down every question just as it was asked
    • Change any statements into questions
    1. The first part of the process is making the questions. This should take around 4 minutes, don’t worry about the quality, just generate as many as you can around the topic. You have to make sure you list and number each of your questions.
    2. The next step is identifying which questions are closed and open. You need to highlight each closed or open question by making it with a ‘c’ or ‘o’. Once they have been identified you need to write the advantages and disadvantages of the question. The last stage of this step is to change closed questions to open ones and open ones to closed ones. This should take 5 minutes or so.
    3. Then you move into the priority stage and set some parameters around your choices. You need to select your priority questions and give a rationale for choosing them. You choose the three most important questions by marking them with an ‘x’, give a reason for the choice and note what number your priority question was on your list. 3 minutes max for this stage.
    4. The next part is making the questions actionable. Thinking about how you will use the questions to guide your thinking and learning around the question focus. This should take 2 minutes.
    5. The last step in the process is to write a reflection about the QFT process. What did I learn? How can I use it?

    The below example is the full process of the QFT.

    What is the most important aspect of an exhibition? Eg. The people there, the atmosphere etc. (C)A – create a focus the whole team can use in order to achieve a great exhibition.

    D – May leave us to neglect other important aspects of an exhibition and therefore we may not achieve the best we can.

    Rewritten: Which aspects should we be focusing on the most and why? (O)

    X – This question will help us achieve the best exhibition we can as it details the most important elements while also explaining how it will help us to develop a great concept.

    More information about the QFT process can be found here. http://rightquestion.org/education/

    Now we have our roles defined, ideas are continuing about the show and our questions are ready to be put into action. We will be twitting our questions to a Melbourne Gallery Director a photographic artist who is currently setting up an exhibition and will have a Q & A session with a gallery installer. This next week is going to be loads of fun. You can follow the #CGSPBL tag to follow our progress. Next week will see us move into the planning phase of the PBL, I can’t wait to see what the students come up with!

    Trying to dig deep with a flipped classroom

    I have been a ‘fanboy’ of the flipped classroom for sometime, having built up confidence in totally flipping my subjects and seeing the many benefits a flipped environment brings. One of the main areas that I have been really happy with is how the flipped classroom allows the class to dig a little deeper into active learning. It’s a big misconception that the flipped classroom is about making videos and placing them online, sure that’s one part of it. It’s an important part of the puzzle as its forces you to focus on the explicit content you would like students to know. Making a 5 – 8 minute lesson isn’t easy, but it certainly makes you consider what your learning objectives are . The real power of the flipped classroom is what happens the next day in class. Lets face it who wouldn’t want more time for students to dig deeper into their learning via projects, self and peer assessment and timely feedback. The flipped classroom opens up these opportunities. My main goal is to go deeper and have students participate in a richer active learning experience where I become more of a coach to guide their learning. The classes become much more collaborative in nature where students are solving complex problems with an emphasis on higher order and critical thinking skills.

    As Prensky highlights that the technology today’s learners have grown up with has ‘induced today’s students to think and process information fundamentally different from their predecessors’ (Prensky 2001, p.1). We know our students access, process and create information in very different ways and are moving away from more classical approaches to teaching and learning in order to engage students and move beyond retention. It is a mistake to focus solely on the technology as its the active lesson which really makes this a powerful pedagogical approach to learning.

    If we look at this in the context of a ‘traditional’ classroom most of the focus is on the remembering and understanding stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy, processing information and content. Students then move to the more difficult thinking processes at home by themselves.

    blooms_new

    Bloom’s Taxonomy ©

    No expert support, no feedback, no collaboration. Why? With todays technology there is not much point for students to be spoon feed information in class. Class time is for active learning not passively soaking up content. I know I want my students to be pushing the boundaries of their thinking into the higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy. Essentially in the flipped classroom the opposite happens, the remembering and understanding is at home and the difficult learning of application, analysing, evaluating and creating happens in class. Flipping is more than videos is about class time and what can be achieved. This time is spent, supporting students through the difficult tasks of learning and thinking, making the lessons more engaging, collaborative and about feedback. It allows students to be the drivers of their learning, they can self regulate their journey. For us we can listen for learning and personally engage with each student or groups of students. This is where I see the power of this learning. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.47.17 amLets flip Bloom for the 21st century, it now looks like this. With this new model of Blooms Taxonomy the passive learning is where students can watch lessons at home about content – remembering and understanding.  The active and deeper learning is in class.

    Where to start

    It’s important to start a flipped journey well and sensibly. I didn’t completely flip my class at the beginning. I made a few lessons, learnt from the experience and moved to more lessons. I arrived at the point where everything is now flipped and I am adaptable enough to make new lessons when questions are raised in class. Before I moved to a flipped classroom I spoke to my students about ‘why’. Why are we moving to this, what are the benefits, how will you learn. We did some training around note taking, expectations and how to participate with lessons. I also taught my students how to watch videos and take notes during the lessons. This made a significant difference in a seamless setup. It’s always important to give students a voice and be part of the learning decision.

    The setup

    There are many platforms and apps out there that can be used to flip your class. I have used many and found that a combination of an iBook, LMS – Schoology, educreations and YouTube a great combination. The iBook provides the framework for students to access all project assessments and the required content lessons. The setup provides a sequential order for students to work through at their own pace. It also provides feedback regarding assessment rubrics and how to access the required ‘post up’ activities during the lessons. I have found this to be the most efficient way to deliver the required outcomes to my students. All students have access to a MacBook Pro or an iPad which makes this a really a seamless integration of platforms.

    Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 7.45.03 pm

    An example of the sequential lessons in an iBook, all hyper linked to specific learning requirements. 

    This is complemented by our LMS – Schoology. Schoology has excellent features that can place restrictions over the access of content, making it self paced. Of course some students don’t watch the lessons, this is less about the method of the flipped classroom and more about normal behavioural issues regarding ‘homework’. What works is that you can setup student completion requirements around the content meaning students can only move onto to certain lessons once they have completed the requirements . This has been great in supporting those students that don’t watch the lessons at home. They realise pretty fast that they must engage with the lessons at home in order to fully participate with the classroom activities. They also can’t move on to the next lesson unless they contribute and participate. Schoology also has excellent analytics capabilities.  I can capture data on when lessons have been accessed and by whom.

    student_completion_schoology

    An example of the student requirements setup in schoology

    Activities during the lesson are also important, as it provides me with feedback on what our next lesson looks like. Simple ‘hinge’ type questions that can provide a quick snap shot are great,  informing me what we do next and what targeting learning I can give to individual students. Check out my post on hinge questions here. Hinge Questions.

    The importance of creating a student centred approach within the Flipped Classroom approach is paramount (Flipped Learning network 2014, p.1). Gorman (cited in Hamdan et al. 2013) states that

    ‘any learner centred educator would provide activities in the classroom that are action based, authentic, connected and collaborative, innovative, high level, engaging, experience based, project based, inquiry based and self actualising’

    (Hamdan et al. 2013, p.12). Roehl et al. (2013, p.48) suggests that the Flipped Classroom approach incorporates a combination of these ‘in class’ activities described by Gorman along with an innovative use of technology, all which leads to ‘higher order thinking skills among students’

    Flipping your class takes time, but I would argue that this is the new way learning should happen. Embedded technology, active learning and engaged students.

    A video I created for our staff day about flipped learning

    References
    Prensky, M 2001, ‘Digital natives, digital immigrants’, On the Horizon, vol. 9, no.5, p. 1-6.

    Hamdan, N, McKnight, P, McKnight, K, Arfstrom, K.M 2013, A Review of Flipped Learning, Flipped Learning Network, retrieved May 15 2015, <http://www.flippedlearning.org/ cms/lib07/VA01923112/Centricity/Domain/41/LitReview_FlippedLearning.pdf>

    Hinge Questions, Exit passes and Digital Portfolios with FlipGrid

    I have been using flipgrid with my students which is a fabulous question curation application. Check it out at flipgrid.com. It allows you to publish video or text questions and curates the responses in a visual grid for your class or even the world to see. It is really simple and beautifully intuitive to use. It is complemented with an iPad and iPhone app. The design is clean, simple and looks gorgeous, important parts of an app. I am glad they have considered UX and UI in their thinking and design.

    IMG_2240

    Entry and Exit pass Flipgrid

    I have started off using it as an exit or entry pass requirement for my classes. Before the students leave or enter the class they must post a response to a question grid. This has been a really effective way for me to see how my students are tracking and consider what happens next in class, did they get it? If so lets move on. Its also been great for keeping their learning sticky and being able to collaborate with their peers.

    Hinge Question Flipgrid

    Another really useful application of flipgrid has been using it for Hinge Questions. A hinge question is a question that you ask the entire class at a critical point in the learning of a concept. It informs you that the students ‘get it’ and you can move on. It’s not a traditional question of hands up and only one or two students respond. No hands up and everyone is in. This is where flipgrid has been fantastic, not only is everyone in, they stay in and I can go over the responses really quickly and move on to the next concept.

    Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.20.39 amWatch this link as Wiliam explains a Hinge Question. https://vimeo.com/104059936

    Digital Portfolio of responses. 

    As flipgrid curates responses, I was thinking that certain questions or milestone responses could be curated over the year to represent a mini portfolio of student’s learning. The portfolio would allow students to keep a record of their learning and provide triggers for the students to reflect and direct new learnings. The questions could be based on peer and self assessment strategies. This would be a great way to keep digital artefacts of the students progress and affirm the improvements over the course of their learning journey.


    Below is a short clip of how I have been using flipgrid


    How digital learning environments empower educators

    Teaching and learning in the digital environment is a major paradigm shift for most educators. Learning with digital content is very confronting and requires a major shift in how we deliver our programmes for enhanced learning. What changes…….well everything can if you let it. What has shifted enormously in my teaching is the deeper learning that occurs from students with using ubiquitous technologies. The classroom changed, what I tell students is, “don’t expect me to teach you, I’m not a teacher”, I’m about learning and for you to control your own learning. In that sense, I mean, I’m not the traditional idea of a teacher, all chalk and talk, handouts, homework, the boring stuff! What I do is use class time for deeper exploration of abstract concepts and authentic or real world learning. How does this occur???? Well…… with technology, a wiki, pod/vod casts, blogs what I call “inter-connectiveness”. What has empowered me is the fact that using technology allows for the class room to be a place where students engage with each other in collaboration and learning. What has shifted dramatically is the idea of school and home and what occurs in these spaces. At home traditionally the “homework” type of work would occur and at school the delivery of content would.  What happens now is the “homework” type takes occur in class time and at home students are engaging with technology and digital content that drives deep and meaningful learning at school, a “flipped classroom”. The big eye opener for me is how this actually enhances student learning, the use of  ubiquitous technologies has created a strong learning environment and culture, I actually love it when hearing students talk to each other about problems and they say “it’s on the wiki!”.

    Of course this is only one aspect which makes for quality teaching and learning, but one which has changed the way I learn and in turn allowed my students to achieve excellent results.