Yesterday in one of my classes I observed the coolest thing. This was the last class before a unit test on trigonometry. We had started by solving a couple of challenging trig word problems together and then the students were working together or independently to prepare for their upcoming test by practicing. As I was walking around, I observed that one of my students (who was on his own computer) was looking up trig word problems online, looking for extra word problems that had explanations and were more challenging than the ones in the book. That was the first time that I had actually seen a student do that during class! This year I’ve gotten used to them referring back to my screencasts online, but I hadn’t seen them looking up more problems on their own. Is this the start of students developing their own personal learning environments (PLEs)? Maybe I need to start posting suggested websites for further exploration on Moodle along with my screencasts. But maybe it’s more useful if my students learn to find these themselves. I’ll have to think about that a bit. I really like the individualized concept though of PLEs as described in the Horizon Report (p. 24). That “the goal is to give the student permission to make their learning as effective and efficient as possible” (Horizon Report, p. 25) seems like this tool is helping students not only learn, but how to learn.
It’s been an interesting year of flipping. I now have many more students asking their friends how to solve problems before they ask me (not all of them, but a lot more than in the past). Now I see students taking charge of their own learning and looking for their own problems. What’s next?
I still need to work on the collaboration outside of the classroom and collaboration outside of the school community. I’m trying to imagine my students using twitter hashtags to search for math help like I do to find help with flipping.