16 SES 14 B, Online Learning / 1:1 policies
This paper discusses the question if the flipped approach successfully can be a part of the concept of blended and distance learning in teacher education where student collaboration is mandatory. Also, it discusses what competence the teacher needs to have beforehand to use the flipped approach.
New technology has had a colossal influence on the daily life of mankind, also in teaching and learning. The new technology has in a school context been said to be the new window to the outside world, but in many cases the wall between the outside world is beginning to be erased and teaching and learning spaces has expanded to be a part of the world outside. Teaching and learning can be carried out in all situations of life as long the teacher and learner have access to a computer and the internet. Distance learning, distance education, blended learning, on-line learning, open on-line courses etc. are some of the most common concepts describing new ways of learning environments that offer video-based teaching where the students interact through peer review, group collaboration ort automated feedback through objective, on-line assessments.
A part of this new paradigm is the development of the flipped approach. One of the main notions of the flipped approach builds on interaction between the participants in a teaching and learning situation. Many reasons have been articulated for using the flipped approach. Today the flipped paradigm is foremost a question of providing an opportunity for students to gain first exposure prior to class. The method and procedure of distributing knowledge and information can vary. In some cases, it is convenient to let students read a simple text, in other cases it is more adjacent to present a topic through a video lecture, a podcast or a screencast. However, today the most common pre-class presentations are made and distributed as audio or video productions. These videos can be created by the teacher and/or the instructor of a course or even found online. In that way, the students activate more than one mode in understanding and learning a topic. Such multimodal learning practices have been proven to be more successful than learning by using only e.g. text material. Learners seem to understand and comprehend an explanation better when it is presented by speech, writing and pictures.
The flipped paradigm can be grouped into four categories:
- Concept Exploration (video lectures, audio lectures, text reading etc.)
- Meaning making (reflective activities, quizzes, tests etc.)
- Experiential Engagement (different activities, experiments etc.)
- Demonstration and Application (in-class activities, discussions, projects, presentations, student lectures etc.)
From a pedagogical standpoint the flipped paradigm is then an instructional technique, focuses on the creation of a student-centred learning environment that leverages technology and emphasizes application and collaboration.
In this paper, the intention is to discuss how the flipped approach successfully can be a part of the concept of blended and distance learning in teacher education on university level. A study was conducted among students and teachers. The aim of the research was to find out how teachers use the flipped approach when teaching students and how distance learners collaborate. The study was conducted out from the following two research questions:
- How can the flipped approach be a part of the concept of blended and distance learning?
- What competences do the teacher need to have beforehand to be capable of using the flipped paradigm?
In the spring of 2017, a research was conducted among 8 teachers and 145 graduate students at the school of education at the University of Iceland. 95 of the students were enrolled as distance learners and 51 were enrolled as day students on campus. The aim of the research was to find out if and then how teachers use the flipped approach and how distance learners collaborate. In the study, both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. A survey was distributed among both the student population attending class on campus and the distance learners. Later interviews were made with the teachers that are using the flipped approach. The gender composition among the participating students were 51 (28%) males and 94 (72%) females. Five of the teachers were males and three of the teachers were females.
According to the survey conducted among the students, the students whatever they were learners on campus or distance learners seemed to be satisfied with the structure of the educational program (the flipped approach) and the means of communications. A majority or 79% of the students who were registered as distance learners expressed that they were especially satisfied with the on-line discussions with peers between classes. For many of them it was an important activity to experience continuity in their studies. Also, the distance learners stated that the communication between group members was very or rather good. The group or team work among the distance learners was in almost all cases looked upon as successful. However, distance learners experienced less communication with learners on campus. The flipped approach seems to make it easier for the students to collaborate. Both group of students mentioned that collaboration was evenly distributed and this resulted in even workload between group members. The students also agreed on that collaboration support discipline for the individual. All eight teachers all explained, that their notion on teaching has changed quite a bit, going from a teaching approach where focus is on lectures in class to the flipped approach, where classes to a higher agree are build up around student activities and experiments. When the teachers started to use the flipped paradigm, they supplied their teaching with an on-line chat or discussion thread in Moodle. Today, however, this activity in many cases has been replaced by establishing one closed group on Facebook for both students on campus and distance learners. Teachers express themselves positively about the students’ collaboration. By organizing the classes on campus and the groupwork among distance learners around activities and even experiments, the students seem to be more activated and therefore more willing to collaborate.
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