I’ve now got to the end of my flipped topics and having a class away on camp has given me the opportunity to reflect on my practice and survey the students about their thoughts. Here’s where I’m at:
What’s gone well? (according to me, anyway)
I was able to overcome a lot of the technical difficulties and having the resources already prepared did save a lot of hassle this year. Student access to the iBooks and videos was much simpler and having the information in text and video format helped a wider range of students. I was also able to come up with a wider range of activities for the students to complete in class with the information they had gathered for homework. Discussions could often be quite successful, and differentiation worked well initially to bridge the gap between my Y13 beginners and those who had already taken Classics.
In terms of results, I think the Level 3 ones definitely improved – I felt that they had a much better understanding of the topic than my class last year, especially given that so many were new to the subject. My Level 2 results were a bit more mixed, but they have been very unpredictable over the past few years.
What needs work?
I didn’t chase up students who didn’t do the work, but I know that some of them really slacked off and couldn’t engage in the lesson. I want to come up with a way to hold them accountable to doing the prep (as much as possible) that does not involve me spending half the lesson checking their notes! Kahoot quizzes did work well but I want to look into an app like Socrative so that I can check on all the students’ results.
I also want to work on finding activities to engage more of the students in the class. When given a creative and an easy option, they tended to go with an easy one and I don’t think we took advantage of all the opportunities offered by their devices.
What did the students think?
The students were overwhelmingly positive about the iBooks, which I am really pleased about given the amount of time and thought I put into them! They found the information tailored to their needs and relatively easy to digest, and liked the interactive elements.
While no one was particularly excited about the approach, the students were much more positive (or neutral) than I thought they would be. They felt they had a pretty good understanding of the topics, found them a manageable level of difficulty and interesting (to a certain extent).
They liked the variety of activities we did in class and I think I managed to appeal to their different interests.
Very few students claimed to have most or all of the notes. Some wanted to be held accountable for this and a variety of reasons were given for not doing them. No one said that I was asking too much of them for prep, although they could get confused about what was due when. One student would like it made even easier…
Some of the students found it difficult to put individual lessons together into the bigger picture. I need to think about a way to tie everything together, and link the lessons to show a chain reaction of events.
I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback – I don’t know whether the students like to complain (but are actually reasonably happy) or whether I’m being overly critical of myself, but I think they are, to a certain extent, seeing the value in what I’m doing.