Blog Post #5: Flipped Classrooms

Attending a classroom today is very different from attending a classroom ten years ago. As technology has increasingly grown and infiltrated our classrooms, new teaching methods have emerged that moves away from a teacher-centered approach onto student-centered approach.

To meet such demand, a flipped classroom method has elicited as a viable alternative to the traditional, lecture-style teaching and learning. Flipped classrooms have been used in various disciplines, especially in the humanities. Consequently, many educators, in both higher education and K-12 sittings, have had experiences with a new way of teaching with the flipped classrooms approach. In flipped classroom, typical lectures and homework of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before class session, while in the class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.

Furthermore, as more students gain access to technology tools and the Internet inside and outside the classrooms, flipped classrooms are becoming more prevalent. To increase the student/ teacher interaction, flipped classrooms are linked to improve the students’ grade, test score, engagement in learning and overall students’ satisfaction. The application of this instruction approach can result positively in educational outcomes such as improving students’ communication skills, promoting more independent learners, and changing in learning habits e.g., revisit the online learning material before exam (Lo & Hew, 2017).

The theoretical framework for flipped classrooms is derived from the nature of interaction between learners and their instructors. First, flipped classroom is a form of blended learning in the way that it mixes face to face interaction with online learning. However, flipped learning differs since outside activities used in it should not be necessary online, they may involve paper and hard copies materials. The second foundation is active learning which is any instructional method that engage students in the learning process. In fact, flipped classroom is considered as an effective mode for engaging students in active learning as well as in meaningful peer to peer and peer to teacher interaction during the in-class learning process (Lai & Hwang, 2016). Next, student-centered approach which moves students away from teacher-centered approach environment where teachers become real organizers, mentors, and facilitators. The purpose of flipped classroom is to make students more active in their own learning process, versus serving as receptacles of knowledge who receive direct instruction from a teacher (Martinez & Torregrosa, 2015). Finally, personalized learning approach which has great potential with flipped classroom. Personalized learning instruction that is paced to learning needs, tailored to learning preferences and the specific interest of different learners (Keller, 1968).

As technology is becoming incredibly important in the classroom and to students learning in general, implementing the model of flipped classrooms has been much easier due to the increased use of this technology. The nature of the flipped classroom, most teachers will assign students to watch a certain video on a subject they will be covering in class next day. So, they need a way to create videos and a way for students to access these videos. For this purpose, teachers might use their smart phone or a dedicated video camera. The other video creation category is screencasting programs where videos are made of teachers’ computer or iPad screen and at the same time recording the voice (Bergamnn, 2013). This video can then be shared with students, so they can watch it many times as necessary to comprehend the materials. However, dependence on technology is one of weakness of this model. Students need access to computers and Internet to work through materials. If the students lack reliable access to a computer or the Internet for geographical or socioeconomic reasons, it can be extremely challenging to make a flipped classroom work effectively (Sota, 2016).

In conclusion, the concept of the flipped classroom removes passive learning by creating a student-centered environment. Student are able to learn the key concepts on their own time and pace and then actively apply them, creating a deeper learning. Further, creating this environment is not complex, but often requires a great deal of thought and planning on the front-end to make it work. Despite the flipped classroom strategy needs a lot of work at first, once it is set up it can lead to excellent results.

References:

Bergman, J. (2013). Flipped learning misconception: The second hurdle to flipping your class.  Retrieved from http://www.jonbergmann.com/category/flipped-learning-misconceptions/

Keller, F. (1968). Good-bye teacher. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 79-89.

Lo, C. & Hew, K. (2017). A critical review of flipped classroom challenges in k-12 education:  Possible solution and recommendation for future research. Research and practice in technology enhanced learning, 12(4).

Martinez, J. & Torregrosa, E. (2015). Chemistry Education: Best practices, opportunities and trends.

Sota, M. (2016). Flipped learning as a path to personalization. Handbook on personalized learning for states, districts, and schools, 73-87.

Blog Post #5: What does Critical Pedagogy Mean?

After reading Freire’s article, I realize different aspects of Critical Pedagogy that I have never thought about. Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator, and he was seen as one of the founders of critical pedagogy. I just reflect from the readings some points could be helpful to understand the critical pedagogy.

Changes the relationship between a teacher and a student.

A teacher must know their students in order to be able to teach them effectively. Creating a positive relationship between the two helps a student feel more comfortable and safer in their classroom environments. Positive teacher-student relationships draw the student into the process of learning, promote their desire to learn, and help them to attain higher levels of achievement.

Requires dialogue between a teacher and a student.

Dialogue as a human phenomenon is important in critical pedagogy. The dialogue between teachers and students can enlighten open-mindedness, mutual respect, freedom from censure, reduced role division, and space to explore. Freire emphasized on the importance of educational means that freeing people from the bondage of the culture of silence and promoting teachers and students’ critical consciousness.

Changes the baking concept of education.

Critical pedagogy can be thought of as focusing on the student. This is in line with what Freire talked about when he wished for us to consider students as subjects and owners of their own learning experiences. because people as conscious human beings, they are in the process of becoming liberated through cognitive acts, not the transformation of information. Also, this style of education limits creativeness and liberation, which is the student’s ability to form their own thoughts.

Facilitate trust and commitment.

Critical pedagogy seeks to establish a mutual relationship between teacher and students that educates both parties, creates an atmosphere of trust and commitment that should be present when authentic learning happens (Teaching Critical Thinking. Practical Wisdom, p. 22). According to Freire, “we must understand the meaning of a moment of silence, of a smile, or even of an instance in which someone needs to leave the room. Or the fact that a question was asked perhaps a little discourteously. After all, our teaching space is a text that has to be constantly read, interpreted, written, and rewritten”.

Supports students’ empowerment.

Empowerment is essential to critical pedagogy, given that the students are meant to play an engaged role in the learning process. students should feel empowered and valued in the classroom rather than discouraged. A few of the articles mentioned the limits in top-down teaching, but the goal should be to facilitate student learning rather than merely teaching content. This breaks down the boundaries between inside and outside of a classroom and not only fosters student agency in the learning process but also will best prepare students for higher-level coursework and empowers them as citizens outside the school.

Encourages the engagement.

The classroom cannot be a one-way transfer of knowledge. The transmission model dehumanizes the students, limits creativity, and destroys their self-worth. Instead, we must engage with them as peers, fully capable of contributing to the classroom, and worthy of respect and empowerment. So, the goal is to engage students in a learning environment that questions their own thoughts and ideas, beliefs, and practices, to think critically and gain a deeper understanding.

Attends to equity rather than equality.

Acknowledging that students have individual needs and that “one size fits all” is not always effective. Students may have different ways of learning preferences, backgrounds, previous schooling/experiences, etc. In fact, there is no one best way to educate all learners, but there are appropriate strategies that are effective to reach different types of students and assess their understanding through multiple means.

Encourages humanizing.

Humanization is the core perspective of Freire’s educational thought. Recognizing that the students are more than just receptacles and can’t be treated as such, teachers must recognize their agency, their need for creativity, their strengths and capacity for problem-solving, and their worth. Also, they must embrace pedagogy that values students’ existing knowledge, culture, and life experiences.

 Open to various ideas and perspectives.  

Multiple perspectives are essential in order to reach various students and promote their ability to adopt various perspectives. The classroom should be not a place where information is dispensed by teachers and consumed by students, but rather as a site for the production of new ideas grounded in student’s perspectives.

In conclusion, I realize that it takes courage to practice pedagogy that includes critical consciousness instead of going with the flow all the time, but what a fantastic challenge for teachers!!

 

Rania

Blog Post #4: Kozma and Clark’s Debate before Three Decades is still Relevant

Kozma and Clark’s debate was about whether media affects the learning process or media is just a vehicle for instructions. Since I’m an instructional designer I know well about the debate between Kozma and Clark about the media and if its ability to help students learn better or not. The basic idea of Clark’s argument is that teaching methods have the most effective influence on learning, and media is merely a delivery device for instruction, and media has no significant difference on learning outcomes.

In fact, Clark based his theory on research and data collected throughout many different search projects. He mentioned that authentic problems or tasks seem to be a more effective influence on learning. On the other hand, the key difference between what Kozma’s believes and what Clark’s believes is that media could and should be used more than a vehicle for delivery. Kozma’s article showed how correct media could have an impact on the students’ cognitive skills. He mentioned both methods and medium have the crucial role in the design of instruction. According to Kozma, “media can be defined by its technologies, symbolic system, and processing capabilities”. Throughout his article, he discusses how books, television, and computers influence the learning processes, connect students to prior knowledge, and help students to understand the complex concepts. Moreover, he estimated about how multimedia environments can bring all these processed together (Clark, 1983).

Actually, there is a big difference between media attributes and teaching strategies and their influence on students’ learning. I believe methods before media because it is not about the use of media that enhance learning, but the way the media is used. Media are only effective if teaching methods guide them. I think media should be a good fit for a certain learning task since these media may work for some students may not with some topics and under some conditions. However, this true is for any pedagogy there is nothing works for every purpose, for every student, in all time.

I believe students today including me quickly use the Internet to search for answers even before asking peers or teachers. This is today’s media, and this has a massive influence on how students receive and share information. However, this means not providing a student with an online module and letting them be in front of the computer and saying go and learn and then expect them to reach a high level of learning. Media must be used for a specific purpose not because we live in a digital world.

I agree with Morris (2013), when he mentioned that for the digital pedagogue, teaching should begin with inquiry such as availability of tools, type of disciplines, role of teacher, type of teaching methods, way of interaction among students, content, and teachers, etc. nothing replace the role of teacher who has to craft authentic learning experiences for their students so they can gain the most of their learning experience.

Thank you!!

Rania

References

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

Blog Post #3: Problem-Based Learning with Teaching Mathematics

Since I was a former math teacher, I was interested on employing different instructional methods that engage my students in learning process. The methods helped me to convey concepts and mathematical theories to them. I have learned more about different instructional methods, delivery mods, media attributes, etc. during my studies as a graduate student in instructional design and technology field. My major has been assisting me acquire valuable experience and applicable knowledge and skills essential for being a good teacher.

Thus, from learning and applying different instructional methods, I realize how problem-based learning (PBL) strategy is powerful strategy. PBL is derivative from Constructivism Theory that supports the idea of constructing knowledge by students through their experiences and interactions with the world, not through hearing someone gives a lecture. PBL based on this theory relies on students to think deeply and be cooperative students.  It requires students to work together to solve problems through real-world experiences. It is designed to engage all students, even those who typically struggle.

PBL usually involves four steps:

  1. Presentation of problem
  2. Group development of theories
  3. Individual development of solutions
  4. Group comparison and evaluation of solutions

I find this approach fits well with teaching math especially because students usually complain about learning math and find it boring. That because they often cannot see a connection between what they’re learning and anything that matters to them in real world. For example, some students don’t really understand math word problem when a teacher tries to explain it. However, if they were faced with a math problem in their everyday life (say, trying to figure out the solutions, asking each other questions), they might understand it better. So, a teacher can give the students math problems and have them work together to figure it out. The teacher responsibility in this scenario is to support, guide, scaffold and assist students with supplies, materials, and resources.

As a student in IDT in one of my classes, I have developed a project based on Constructivism Theory. I was thinking about a problem that can be solved by using PBL strategy. So, from my experience as a former middle math teacher I found that solving mathematical word problem was a challenge for most of my students. Sometimes students read a problem and use the operation that the class has just been practicing, or they simply guess which operation to use. So, I have designed a lesson about solving mathematical word problems. The lesson was E-learning module based on PBL. The target audience was all 6th grade students especially who are struggling with grasping the concept of mathematical word problem. In fact, the beauty of applying problem-based learning strategy in solving mathematical word problems is to connect mathematical concepts with real challenges and issues that students may face in their lives. The lesson was a good experience to me, and I have received valuable feedback form my professor.

Finally, beside the main benefit of using PBL is engaging students in the real-world experience, the students use different skills to solve the problem that are necessary for life-long success.

Thank you!!

Blog Post #2: Inclusive Pedagogy

Image source: https://www.thecloroxcompany.com

Since, I have come to United States and started my program, I’ve been interacting with diverse classmates who are different than me in culture, gender, color, religion, language, ability, life experience, education skills, etc. This is a completely new experience for me! I realize how America is a diverse place that is different than where I come from. Which make me understand what diversity means and how important to be cautious about communicating with different people.

From my experience, I find diversity makes us smarter since being in a group of diverse students allows us to produce better work, exchange different ideas, opinions, thoughts, even learn new languages. On the other hand, inclusion is active, intentional and ongoing engagement with these diversity in the curriculum and community. Diversity and inclusion are hot topics especially in an education setting. I understand how enhancing diversity and making the classroom inclusive is difficult.

I’ve read an article written by Florian and Black-Hawkins, its title is “Exploring Inclusive Pedagogy”, the authors examining teachers’ knowledge of their practice of “inclusion” in terms of what they do, why and how. According to Florian and Black-Hawkins (2011), there are three distinguishing terms that used under the umbrella of inclusive which are: inclusive pedagogy, inclusive education and inclusive practice. Inclusive pedagogy is a focus on “the act of teaching and its attendant discourse”. Inclusive Education is “a process of increasing participation and decreasing exclusion from the culture, community and curricula of mainstream schools”. Inclusive Practice is the thing that people do to give meaning to the concept of inclusion. Let’s concentrate on inclusive pedagogy that requires teachers to shift in teaching and learning from an approach that works for most students to one that provides rich learning opportunities that are made for everyone, so every student who is eager to learn is able to participate in classroom life (Florian & Black-Hawkins, 2011).

There are many good techniques that teachers can follow to make a classroom more inclusive. I remember one strategy that may consider as an example of classroom inclusion. Our professor in Design for learning class, asked us to fill out an online survey in the beginning of the semester focusing on our educational background, experience with instructional design, next career goals, our reasons to take this course, what would we like to have achieved in this course, who are we as learners, what are our strengths and challenges, how we do like to learn, how we do NOT like to learn, and other questions. I think this a good strategy to find out students’ competence beforehand to plan carefully for the class.

Thank you!

Reference

Florian, L., & Black‐Hawkins, K. (2011). Exploring inclusive pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37(5), 813–828.

Blog Post #1 The Psychology of How People Learn

As we discussed during the class learning is a process of connecting between what is already known or understood and new information. Merriam Webster defines learning as “gaining knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience”. So, learning happens when people use their experience to deal with new situation, develop their knowledge.

In other words, we can say people construct information from experience, build on prior knowledge, and organize their own learning. As an instructional designer, I have been taught to concentrate on developing quality classes, to achieve this goal, we strive to develop classes based on sound of instructional design and planning using systematic models and learning theories.

These learning theories provide a basis to understand how people learn and a way to explain, describe, analyze and predict learning. Thus, first let’s start talking about how learning occurs based on learning theories.

According to Behaviorist Theory: learning occurs when proper response is demonstrated following the presentation of a specific stimulus. The focus is to maintain and strengthen the relationship between the stimulus and response. Learning occurs when there is reactive with the environment (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Also, when there is promotion of desirable behavior and discourages of undesirable behaviors. So, external stimulus and response are important to learn.

According to Cognitive Theory: Learning is an active process where meaning and understanding built from experience (Wildman & Burton, 1981). Learning occurs when the learner is very active in the learning process (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Moreover, learning takes place when information is absorbed through sensory memory, sent to working memory, processed, and encoded into long term memory for storage.

According to Constructivist Theory: learning happens by creating a meaning from experience. What the learner knows is based on his/her own experiences. Knowledge is constructed by the learners. Learners strive to know, so the experience should be examined as it is in constant change (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

According to Social Learning Theory: learning is a social process. Learning occurs when each learner is engaged in social activities. Knowledge is culturally and socially constructed (Kim, 2001).

Second, which factors influence learning? According to psychology, there are many factors that influence learning, some of them associated with learner and other connected with learning process. First, psychological factors: readiness, intelligence, motivation, mental health, nature ability to learn, and individual differences, fear to failure, etc. Then, biological factors: physical health, self-concept, maturity, needs, proper sleep, proper nutrition, etc. Next, environment factors: learner beliefs, culture demands, family background, physical conditions, achievement, social expectation etc. Finally, instructional factors: teacher’s personality, learning strategy, curriculum, teaching aids, etc.

According to Behaviorist Theory:  Strength of stimulus. Chaining and shaping. Environment of the learner. Reinforcement (positive and negative) increase the behavior and punishment to decrease the chances of the behavior happening again. All these can influence learning.

According to Cognitive Theory: Extrinsic and intrinsic components.  Rehearsal, encoding, chunking, selective attention, pattern recognition, interference, failure to encode or retrieve.

According to Constructivist Theory: Both the learners and the environments influence learning. The content must be embedded in the situation. Real setting and tasks are relevant to the learner’s experience (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

According to Social Learning Theory: Learning influences through social interactions with more knowledgeable learners. Collaborating with other learners through community of practice is important (Kim, 2001).

Finally, what is the role of both learners and teacher in learning process based on learning theories?  In general, learners have responsibility for their learning. They should engage activity, shape and review own learning throughout self-assessment, and develop skills for further learning. On other hand, teacher primary goal is to inform a learner through explicit instruction, supplemented by textbook and other materials. Teacher can also facilitate learning, provide learners with the information and tools they need to master a subject, and involve interaction with students.

The role of teachers according to Behaviorist Theory:  Providing students with instructional cues, practicing, and reinforcement. Helping in determining goals and outcomes. Using activities that offer rewards, quizzes that offer feedback or online activities that again offer feedback and allow the students to go back over the material.

The role of teachers according to Cognitive Theory: Teaching the learners how to learn. Discussion group/questions. Demonstration of working knowledge through projects or models. Presentations in front of the class. Brainstorming in class about a topic in order to allow students to link new ideas to anchoring one schema.

The role of teachers according to Constructivist Theory: Providing opportunities to learners who can deal with unstructured and complex problems (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

The role of teachers according to Social Learning Theory: Providing learners with problem-based learning, shared teaching, peer collaboration and learning with others.

In conclusion, although these theories differ in some ways such as general assumptions and guiding principles, there is no one best learning theory. They have a common foundation which explains how learning and teaching processes should be or should take place.

Thank you!!

References

Ertmer, P.A. & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4).

Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology, 1(1), 16.

Wildman, T. M., & Burton, J. K. (1989). Integrating learning theory with instructional design. Journal of Instructional Development, 4(3), 5–14.