Monday, July 6, 2015

Student Accountability in a Hybrid Classroom

Accountability is another important piece of hybrid learning.  I teach high school, so maybe my view of students is a little jaded.  Most of my students do not like school, do not like math, and only come to school so that they can see their friends.  There is very little intrinsic motivation.  Even my honors students are motivated purely by grades.  They almost never see that value of productive struggle.  They do not get a sense of satisfaction after solving a challenging problem.  This is a whole other concern that I do not have an answer to, but I am always looking for possible solutions.  In the meantime, since my students do not buy into learning for the joy of learning, I need to include accountability at each station every day.  This is easy at the direct station.  With so few kids in each group, it is impossible for them to hide or not participate at the direct station.  The other stations can be a little trickier.

For independent station, I recommend only using computer programs for which students have unique usernames and passwords.  It is also helpful if the programs have some sort of easy to read data that comes back to you as the instructor.  I know that this may not be possible for very young kids.  Maybe the accountability piece for the younger students would just be some sort of notebook that gets checked periodically where students title, date, and record their work.  For me I use EdPuzzle for delivery of new content.  I like this because I can either make my own videos or use ones that I find online.  I can insert questions that check for basic understanding throughout the video.  I can view student data to see who watched the video and which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly.  If you want to experience EdPuzzle as a student, join my class called Hybrid Learning Training Session by using the class code: bD1BLy.  There are two sample assignments posted.  If you want to see a math specific example, contact me and I'll add you as a student into one of my classes.

For practice I use a colleague’s awesome computer program.  I won’t share that information here because it is not mine to share, however other programs that I have used are Khan Academy, Manga High, CK-12, and BrainGenie.  It is imperative that you have a minimum of two resources that students use.  Otherwise they get bored of doing the same thing every day.  Classrooms that have more funding than I do often use paid resources for independent station.  Some use Compass where the teacher can push through specific learning topics paired with a remedial program like ALEKS where students work on below grade level content to fill in their gaps of missing prior knowledge.

On other type of assignment at the independent station is weekly reflection.  I wrote about that here.  In that past I have used Moodle and Edmodo for this.  I am considering using Schoology this coming year but I have not decided on that yet.  I have a half-day training coming up this month and I’ll make my choice after that.  I LOVE Schoology’s ability to write mathematical equations, but I like the freedom to pre-plan in Edmodo better.  In Edmodo, I can set up all of my daily agendas over the weekend and set them up to post automatically each day.  This is a huge time saver for me.  If the Schoology folks can do this for me for free, I’ll be switching.  That was way off topic :) .  Moving on …

For the collaborative station I typically do targeted and mixed practice.  This is not the idea use of the collaborative station.  Theoretically, students would be working on long term projects at this station.  I still do projects, but in a different way.  Later I will write about modifications that I use and that other teachers use.  As with anything else, making hybrid learning work for you will require you to make adjustments.  Anyway, if I were to do a project at collaborative, I would assign group roles to help with accountability.  I would also include a self- and peer- evaluation at certain checkpoints throughout the project.  I do both of these things, just in a setting other than the collaborative station.  For me, I just teach students to work through a problem independently, compare answers, argue over answers that do not match and agree upon a group answer.   I collect work from each individual student and I have students staple their groups’ work together before handing it in.  In the past I have always graded every problem on every student’s page, but that is crazy.  Next year my plan is to randomly check a few questions from each group member’s sheet and check for consensus and disagreement.

If you are interested in seeing more resources for math and other content areas you can check out my training page.  It may not be totally self explanatory, but feel free to ask for clarification.

In my next post I’ll come back to those modifications I’ve been promising.

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