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Posts Tagged ‘exit ticket

Yesterday I responded to a query about how flipping drives discovery and student-directed learning.

Today I answer a question about how students might not discover the “right” content by discovering or Googling. I have a few responses.

The first is doing away with the notion that students “get it” only when a teacher delivers content. This is merely an illusion because there is no indication or confirmation that learning has happened.

My second response is that one way to be more certain about student learning is to get students to create content and to teach it. These processes help both students and teachers to see evidence of learning.

My third reply is that teaching wrong content happens anyway, not just in the flipped classroom or when you facilitate flipped learning. Both the student and teacher can be guilty of this. However, when the learning is visible the teacher can jump in and intervene.

Three dimensions of flipped learning.

This is why I include content creation and peer teaching in my model of flipped learning.

Peer teaching is something that instructors can do with strategies like think-pair-share, any variant of the jigsaw method, and class presentations. Content creation might be viewed as a prerequisite for this form of teaching. Without artefacts students have nothing to show during the tell.

However, content creation does not always have to be on the teacher scale or standard. The content that students create can also be externalisations or manifestations of what is in their minds. These can take the form of short reflections, practiced problems, recorded conversations, summary documents, etc.

My fourth response is to agree that simply copying and pasting Google search results may not be valuable learning. Most teachers tend to focus on content from an expert’s point of view. This is how they judge if content is good or not, and right or wrong. However, this is not how a learner processes information because s/he does not have structure.

The structure is put in place by thinking processes. So instead of just focusing on content (what artefacts students find and use), the teacher should also model processes of learning. For example:

  • How do I look for information?
  • How do I verify information or evaluate it?
  • How do I incorporate it into my own work?

This response is not unique to flipping. But a focus on process over product is particularly important in flipped learning because one desired outcome is students who are more independent learners.

Yesterday I reflected on my long-running integration of Padlet in my courses and workshops. I intend to share screenshots of two sets of takeaways and questions from participants at the end of a workshop on flipped learning. I address one concern today and another tomorrow.

Flipped learning takeaway and question.

One concern was whether students uncover content in the way the teacher intended.

I am glad that the participant used the word “uncover” because that was something we practised during the workshop. Uncovering is based on discovery and not on the traditional notions of a fixed curriculum, recipe-like strategies, and narrow outcomes.

This does not mean that the process is haphazard. In the past, I have described the implementation as creating serendipity.

One way to design the learning experience is to envision a large plot of land in which you have buried opportunities for learners to unearth. They not only dig up treasures (content-based learning about), they also figure out how to problem seek and problem solve (skills-based learning to be).

My reply to the query is that a strategy like flipping is a means of transferring the ownership of learning to the students. While the teacher is concerned with curriculum, schemes of work, worksheets, and other standard practices, these are not always congruent with the overall design and ultimate goal of flipping.

To put it simply, the standard terms, practices, and tools that a teacher is comfortable with are not necessarily what learners understand and need. The teacher may be armed with a spoon to feed; the students need shovels and other more varied and complex tools.

The teacher may be prepared to deliver; the students need to discover. It is inevitable that the scope of what the teacher expects will be much narrower than what the students discover.

Returning to my analogy of the plot of land with buried treasure, what if students discover relevant and useful nuggets elsewhere? What if they go beyond just digging (e.g., clicking on links in web quests) to surveying with drones and satellites (e.g., Googling, YouTubing) or communicating with previous treasure hunters (e.g., tweeting content experts, consulting Facebook contacts)?

One concern that teachers might have is what if students unearth the “wrong” things? I address that concern tomorrow.

I started using Padlet when it was the new kid on the block named WallWisher.

I have used it for several years for classes and workshops in a variety of ways. My favourite is exit tickets. This is where I get participants to share what they are taking away before they walk away.

However, I am wondering if I should continue this strategy with Padlet. Why? The experience is uneven when participants access a shared space simultaneously.

Some participants seem to be able to edit their sticky notes just fine. Others, typically those on Android mobile devices, seem to struggle. So far I have discovered that they 1) have problems creating a note, and 2) find it difficult to edit a note once they have created it.

For example, during a seminar I conducted for almost 50 participants recently, only 32 managed to leave notes. Two of the notes were empty except for the participants’ names or initials.

The issue seems to be the concurrent adding and editing of notes by other users in the shared space. As notes are added, the space scrolls or moves and this seems to take the control away from the user.

However, the benefits of using Padlets for those that manage to leave their reflections and takeaways are:

  • The learning is made more visible.
  • Shared thoughts might cross-fertilise.
  • The feedback and subsequent processing of their sharing is more immediate.
  • The process models an important practice that is not often done in most classrooms.

I also rely on their Padlet notes for post-session evaluation instead of the typical Kirkpartick Level 1 evaluation form.

One alternative I fall back on for exit tickets is using Google Forms and sharing the Google Sheet that collates their responses.

I do this if the participants are somewhat hesitant to see everyone’s thoughts projected immediately on screen. There is also no lag or interruption because there is just one Google Form on their own device.

With a bit of quick formatting and link sharing, I can show their collective thoughts in a Google Sheet. However, it still looks like a spreadsheet and the cells cannot be moved around as easily if I need to make contrasts or comparisons.

The Forms and Sheets process also starts like a private and closed process and then becomes more public and open. This might be jarring to the participant and is not as impactful as if the process was open to begin with.

So I still am in two minds about whether to make the switch. My only criteria for favouring one over the other is the type of participant. Most of the time Padlet is the default for the younger set. They are more adept and rarely have problems even with the tiny mobile phone screens and keyboards.

The older set run the gamut of struggling to create a sticky to completing the task in no time flat. As I deal with older adult learners most of the time, I constantly face this design decision.

By rising above these design decisions, I remind myself of the interplay of technical, social, and pedagogical affordances of a technology tool.

A tool may be strong technically and its use may be negotiated socially, but if it is not also designed from a pedagogical point of view, it use will falter.

Padlet has evolved strongly and its mindshare is good among educators. However, if it does not address where it falls short in the different affordances, it risks frustrating users who spread its name by ineffective use.


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