Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Understanding by Design and Flipped Classroom?

The video productions have been going a lot smoother these days. The school ordered BAMBOO tablets, and they are great! Instead of being at school, talking to myself into my Topgun headset and microphone, I can be at home now to record my videos. My dog stares at me and knocks my camera over to tell me I look strange. If only she could understand that I am talking to myself for a reason.

I am very fortunate to have all that I do. Now, I just need to harness my fortunes and get ahead of my class. Looking back, I know now this was an undertaking I jumped into way too quickly. I truly needed to have gotten ahead with the videos before I started running the class like this. I take too long in planning the video, videotaping, and editing. It takes me at least three hours to complete two 15 minute videos.  These are very basic videos at that. I am not complaining, or maybe I am a bit. It is a sad reality I have come to almost peace with. I am just slow at this.  

Though I have made progress, as I have indicated above, I am worried about the direction I am taking with this Calculus class. Right now I do not think the format is up to the standards of the “Understanding by Design” program we are diving into at my school. I am a huge supporter of this “new” teaching technique. I believe in it, for I truly believe the students that learn in this manner will be the better student for it. I know I am always very frustrated with the lack of confidence I see in my students in terms of problem-solving and trying new things. It can completely urk me some days, in fact, when I find myself giving them every step to work out a problem, and I see no leaps of effort or use of resources to make connections and rise to the problem solving challenge.  I believe the underlaying success of UbD is that it teaches students to be in the spot of facing unknowns, and it builds them up to be comfortable with discovering and reasoning out a solution.
I will be working on trying to format my unit on integration to fit the Understanding by Design Criteria. Can they co-exist? Can I make videos that do not just cover the material, but that open the students' eyes to the big picture and bigger goals? Can I have them developing ideas and concepts? I could really use a snow day to figure this out. Since this December thinks thunderstorms are the appropriate precipitation, I think I will not be figuring this tough question out until break. See you then.