Sunday, November 18, 2012

Final Project - Reverse Teaching and Transparency

I have been trying a variety of things to meet the guidelines (transparency and reverse teaching) set forth during this summers course.  Some have of them have worked out fine, while others have flopped.  My biggest issue has been getting the technology to work with me.

I had to modify my original plan (Gloster posters) for my Human Anatomy classes after some major tech issues made it virtually impossible to get it working.  To make it happen would have taken considerable class time. Luckily, the test run I did with my Astronomy class did work out.    So I replaced my prior Human Anatomy assignment with a straight forward Googledoc project.

By backup plan was to have my Astronomy students use Moonbase Alpha in a collaborative fashion.  They were going to learn the game rules and functionality through tutorials and the instruction manuals.  Sadily,  but we STILL do not have it working at my school.   I was hoping to catalog their progress through screencasting and images.  Most of our outdated tech will not run it and since its a Steam based application it has take a great deal of salesmanship to get it approved. So it will most likely be able to use it just after Christmas (if I am lucky).

So what I ended up doing is focusing on what I have been trying to do all along with my Astronomy class.  All year I have been using them as guinea pigs to try out some of these different teaching strategies.  For my Astronomy course I  enhanced the amount of reverse teaching elements and transparency I typically use in my classes.  Luckily, I have been using these features all along and I have (in the past couple months) worked on adding additional elements.  While its far from perfect, I think the work I have done demonstrates clear evidence that I have tried to implement that which you shared this summer.

I have attached a short paper explaining what I feel I have accomplished and where I plan on going from here.

the paper-->
Reverse Instruction and Transparency Project Results
By Arthur Libby

The purpose of this project was to add transparency and reverse instruction to an existing class structure. The original project was going to have the students in Human Anatomy use Glogster to create a Diary of Disease post. Unfortunately technology issues prevent this from happening. I have therefore adjusted the project to focus on these two principles using my Astronomy class. I will address each of these issues and discuss the current outcomes. This is on ongoing project and will continue to be used for the remainder of the semester. I am going to build on and hopefully improve on this concept for the next Astronomy the following semester.

Reverse Instruction (reverse teaching, flipped classroom).
Reverse instruction is teaching in way that empowers students to become self motivated learners. This does not mean that the teacher does nothing but instead guides the students through the learning process and intervenes when necessary.
I have modified my class this year to use reverse instruction. I have accomplished this in two major ways.
  1. Course Materials: I have modified the course to remove m as the figure where all knowledge is given. I am not the holder of content. I have set up my Moodle to power the students to view course content using podcasts and instructional videos. Instead of having the students rely on me for the source of course content the students watch podcasts. This is their homework. They then come to class prepared with notes over the material. These instructional resources enable the students to learn the content at their own pace and in a setting that they are the most comfortable. I have included some screenshots at the end of the document to show the setup.
Here are a few examples of these videos.
Results – Most students look favorably to these resources because of the reasons I outlined earlier. They also appreciate the additional time in class that is used for hands on activities and labs. The class is busy and productive.
Next steps – I am going to continue using this strategy for the next itineration of the course. One thing I would like to do over time is create more of my own videos. While most videos online meet my requirements it would be nice to include some of my own. I just need the time to do it.

  1. Technological Tools: I have the students use a variety of online tools throughout the school year. Instead of telling them what to do I have provided materials and videos for them to learn how to use the tools and then practice these skills in the classroom prior to making their products. Many of these videos are readily available on Youtube so its typically a matter of finding the appropriate video and linking it to my Moodle.

How to use and make a blog.
How to use and make Glogster.

How a save screenshots with a PC

How to create a form in Googledocs.


This one was a littler harder since we had to work within the schools guidelines. I lack digital cameras that the kids can use and I have had mixed success with students using their own (which is also prohibited by the school). The school prohibits cell phone cameras as well, so we mainly rely on the laptop webcams which are a bit limiting. I worked to accomplish this goal in a variety of ways.

  1. I had each student create a blog where they added images and descriptions of projects and activities they have completed or are working on in class. Each blog serves as a record of some of the class experiences as well and a window into the classroom. I hope to add additional content as the course progresses.
      Here are some examples of the student blogs
Next Steps: This project worked fairly well. You can get a feel for what the students are doing.
  • Students need to explain what they are doing in the images more.
  • I need to have students get into the habit of uploading ALL the things we are working on.
  • I think student comments would be useful here.
  • I need to try to incorporate video as well as stills on the blog
  1. Some of the we web based projects (such as the Glogsters) are available for others to see. These projects are viewable to a wider audience then a traditional inclass project.
Here are some examples of students Glogsters.

Next Steps
My goal is to increase the number of web based projects (or digitize more of them) to allow for a wider audience.

I feel I have made some strong progress in both of these areas. Though neither of these are at my desired levels. I think I have a good handle on the basics and can build on what I have started. Rome was not built in a day and neither can a new course format. As I develop this course further and streamline the process to make both transparency and reverse teaching core aspects of the course I can apply this process to my other courses as well.

Screenshots of the the Astronomy class Moodle

Here is on of the student Glogsters

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