I know that "flipped" is a trendy idea right now. While I am intrigued by the idea of video tutorials to help guide students in learning, it is absurd to suggest that a video can replace a human in creating the ultimate customized learning experience. What this concept misses is the nature of human learning.
I'm a proponent of the flipped approach. But if we are pushing for flipped, we need to make sure that remains a conversation. Take the most objective part (an algorithm) of a subject (math) that is perceived to be more objective than the rest.
If it's a multiple choice test, I can hope the answer matches the student's idea (rather than a simple guess). If it's an assignment, I can apply a red checkmark and tell the student that it's wrong. Either way, how does that help clarify a misconception. A simple glance at the problem suggests a few possibilities:
- The student guessed that it was greater than and doesn't understand the concept in the first place
- The student doesn't understand numerators and denominators
- The student saw the bigger number and jumped to that rather than thinking through it logically
- The student knows that one-third is less than one-half, but learned it wrong (a crocodile mouth or something like that)
- The student doesn't care, because greater-than and less-than doesn't feel the least bit relevant to any context within his or her world.
Teachers can do this with small group pullouts and with student-teacher conferences. I'm a fan of both. However, here is where technology becomes exciting. See, with technology, the communication can be asynchronous. Here are some examples of technology as an interactive dialogue that helps push students toward deeper reflection:
- Google Docs: I can highlight text, add comments and start a conversation that will last anytime anywhere. It started with the writer's workshops, but eventually morphed into spreadsheets and documents in math. Students kept documents of common mistakes, vocabulary, etc.
- Blogs: Students can take a snapshot of their work and describe the process in steps or in a paragraph. This allows me to start a conversation at any time and any place. This is also a great place to keep math vocabulary or engage in conceptual conversations about the math that students are using.
- Multimedia: Students record videos and podcasts showing their math processes and other students have a chance to comment. This allows students to articulate their process and I have a chance to watch them at another time (prep period, early morning, for example)
- Twitter: Last year, students used #mathmisconception as a place to post their questions, comments and mistakes in processes.
- Forms: Though this is less conversational, sometimes it's as simple as crowd-sourcing the conversation with the use of a survey. Similar to an exit slip, students mark a series of questions and I can organize the data to help me figure out how to approach our one-on-one conversations. In the example above, I can use the five options and gauge how the class, in general, is doing with a particular skill set.