Saturday, August 20, 2016

Recent Course Updates and Future Plans

It’s been awhile since I wrote an article to my blog. I’m unsure if it was due to lack of inspiration, distraction, complacency or some combination of different reasons. My class has continued to evolve and I made important changes to the course. I hope to continue to improve my course and reflect about it online.

Since the last blog post, these are the changes I’ve made to the course:
  • SBG improvements: science process standards that span between units as part of my SBG focus
  • Flirtation with gamification: leader-board and other graphics showing the number of level 4s and mastery projects completed by individuals and classes.
  • More voice & choice: robust offerings of optional units and mastery projects.
  • Differentiation in content delivery: iBook that accompanies most of the videos.
  • Lab report improvements: Less focus on formal lab report writing and greater emphasis on flexible formatted lab write ups.
  • More flexible hot seats: students decided how to show they understood the standards rather than answering questions from me.  

Upcoming this year:
  • Personalized learning continuum: as I continue to work on voice & choice and differentiation, there will be entire learning cycles that all students will be able to choose. Rather than only offering this choice to students who finish the course earlier than others, there will be two stopping points where all students will have to select a learning cycle from a menu of topics.
  • Claim Evidence Reasoning: as I moved away from the traditional format of lab reports, I was proud to see improvements in overall quality, yet many students needed more direction. I will use the technique of Argument Driven Inquiry, also known as Claim-Evidence-Reasoning for lab assignments. As a department, we agreed to adopt Claim-Evidence-Reasoning for lab reports because it helps to focus the students on the important elements of experiment analysis.

I am happy to report that the journey started as part of my shift to flipped learning has opened avenues for the course that I would not have predicted. These changes have led to a more engaging, rigorous and authentic experience for students.