Aaron Sams and I are writing a book about the flipped classroom. We are going to share a few of our ideas here and see what folks think. It is still in the draft mode, but here is a passage where we talk about how we check if students have watched the videos. Though we didn’t know it when we started it has quickly become one of our most rewarding teacher moments. Please share your feedback.
When we check whether or not they have watched a video, one requirement is they ask us interesting questions. This especially works in our freshmen course of Earth and Space Science. For credit, we tell each student they must ask us an interesting question from the video. The question must be related to the video and must be a question for which they do not know the answer. These interactions with the students are some of the richest times we experience in our classrooms. Students either ask questions individually, or in small groups. Every student must ask at least one question per video. Often during these question and answer times, students ask us questions we don’t know the answer to and thus we work on finding the answer. Also the questions students ask often tell us what we have not taught clearly, or in some cases their questions tell us they are misunderstaning a key point. This then give us time to clarify and clean up their misunderstandings. These interactions are truly one of the magical moments we experinece every day with our students.
Every student must ask at least one question about each video. This is especially valualble for students who do not generally interact with their teachers. In the sit and get model, often just a few students will be the ones asking questions. Those students are more outgoing and confident. The more quiet, introspective students often have the same questions, but rarely voice those in the traditional model. In the flipped-mastery model ALL students MUST ask these questions. We have received more and better questions in our courses than we ever did in a traditional model and the discussions have been richer and frankly more rewarding as a teacher. We have found students are really very curious, and in this non-threatning format, all students can demonstrate their curiosity and learn.
Another thing we have noticed druing these question and answer times is how our quiet students come out of their shells a bit. Sadly, some of our students rarely have adults listen to them. Their parents are too busy, their teachers are talking to them, and thus the only people who will listen to them are their peers. These conversational times has opened up our chance to get to know our students on a more personal level which has paid dividends in helping troubled teens through difficult times.