Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Flipping the Classroom using Learning Analytics to Drive Personalization & Differentiation

I am excited to get the opportunity to attend the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference this week. I will be presenting with my colleague and buddy Jason Curtis, from the Hockaday School. Both on the Board of Trustees for the Online School for Girls  - we support flipped and blended learning in our schools. We were selected to present during the "Speed Innovation" session at NAIS - the topic is: "Data Driven Flipped Classrooms." 

Does your school #flipclass yet? Some of you might think flipping class is only for Upper School students - that is not the case. How you manage the Flipped Classroom may be different with younger students that need more support - but the idea of creating personalized and enriched curricular experiences extends down to even our 3rd grade at The Ellis School! 

In the 3rd grade, Ellis Girls use Reflex Math to learn their math facts. They use Reflex at home and sometimes in class as well. Using what is known as "Learning Analytics," teachers look at how the girls are doing when planning Face-2-Face classes the next day. Groups can be formed and personalized learning is informed. We also use Khan Academy and Explore Learning Gizmos

In 4th grade,  Voicethread and discussion threads are used as a part of our Haiku Learning Management System (all teachers, students and parents in PK-12 are connected) to respond to a piece of text, practice the "word of the week" and inform parents of upcoming events in class (think flipped parent meetings using YouTube videos of the teacher - as a Google Apps school, its easy for teachers to create and upload YouTube videos and it integrates seamlessly to Haiku). 

Our faculty also use LiveScribe pens to create supplemental and review materials that are placed in Haiku for Middle and Upper School students. Pencasts are a great way to get
LiveScribe Pen 
started with flipped learning. The "fear" factor is relatively low since resources are written with a ball-point pen on paper. The paper is special, filled with tiny dots and recording controls the pen recognizes and responds to.The pens are are fitted with scanning technology to electronify writing and are relatively cheap ($149). The pencasts are online and can easily be shared with students via link in an email or placed in your LMS. 

The flipped classroom model (as a part of our strategy to incorporate more blended learning into the curricular program) is used almost equally in most disciplines but math, languages, chemistry and physics stand out as classes where flipped learning has been adopted the most. 

Here are some examples of how we flip the classroom at The Ellis School: 

  • Our Latin teacher explored using the Flipped Classroom in a few ways this year: she created PenCasts to review material from the previous school-year (to combat summer shrink!) and placed them on Haiku at the beginning of the year. She could see which students watched the Pencasts via the statistics available in Haiku. She also had students create virtual personas of historical figures from Ancient Rome and use Ning to re-live memorable historic events and use Voicethread to compare contemporary music with selections from Ovid. You can see examples here and here
  • In math, teachers use the flipped classroom to help students prepare for class or review a concept they may be having trouble with. Many math teachers use -LiveScribe pens. Similarly, in chemistry we have created pencasts that focus on topical areas that are particularly difficult. Pencasts can be used in APs to allow for more project based time in class. Teachers need to cover the content to prepare students for AP exams and can place fact-based/rote learning material in a flipped lesson to allow for more labs and discussion in class. We have also been working with Carnegie Mellon University Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) and LearnLab as they explore "machine learning" and development of cognitive math tutors. Recently, CMU researchers partnered with our 4th and 5th grade to study how a cognitive tutor impacts math learning for our young girls. Half of the girls worked on the cognitive tutor alone while the other half collaborated over Google Hangout to answer problems with a partner. I can't wait to see the results and will report back! 
  • In English and history classes we have used the Classroom Salon - an amazing piece of technology developed out of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science. Salon uses hashtags, or hot spots coupled with text or video that students annotate. In AP US Government we used Salon to enrich learning around the topic of voter bias. We placed a current event article from the NY Times in Salon and students had to annotate the article with hash tags to demonstrate their understanding of voter bias. Each time voter bias was demonstrated students added a tag. They also added other tags to alert the teacher to areas where they needed clarification. Looking at the tag results (Learning Analytics) before class shows the teacher how to best use class time and personalize the learning experience of the students. Salon also allows for video annotation - check out more on the Classroom Salon site. Check out how CMU uses Salon in its English Department. 
  • Here is a video of Ellis History teacher, Rick Malmstrom, Ananda Gunawardena, creator of Classroom Salon and me talking about Salon Analytics. 
An Introduction to Salon/Analytics
a part of HP Catalyst Academy

  • Coupled with the Active Classroom for Girls project, we flip the classroom in Physics and engineering classes by creating screencasts using Microsoft OneNote and tools like JING, Camtasia and Screencast-o-matic. Most recently, we also started creating LabCasts using Google Glass. When we had snow days this winter, the LabCasts supported learning at home. Students watched videos from Glass of how a lab might look and were more prepared to "jump-into" class when they arrived. The flipped classroom and learning analytics has been a key aspect of the Active Classroom. We have more time to do labs, discussions and participate in hands-on experiential learning opportunities that use project based learning and Design Thinking. 
  • A sample LabCast - featuring Sam Rauhala 

  • We have also explore the flipped classroom model for teacher meetings. Middle School Director, Michelle Rust, as a part of her innovative teachers certification program at the Online School for Girls has begun to create screencasts for teachers to watch before meetings so meeting time can be spent more wisely. 
As we re-envision our curriculum to make it more innovative and project-based, the flipped classroom is a model to consider. It helps teachers created personalized and differentiated learning experience that meet the needs of each learner. It allow for creativity, collaboration while maintaining rigor and critical thinking.

If you are interested in learning more - come to our session at NAIS - 1:30 on Thursday! A copy of our presentation is also available  here  for anyone not attending NAIS this year. 

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