How to handle students without internet access in a flipped classroom is a major obstacle to implementing the model. The key factor in this model is the students having the ability to watch the videos outside of class. My Algebra class has been working during class time to watch videos, complete homework and take concept checks. I was disappointed in the number of students who did not watch the videos outside of class. I thought I addressed this when the class first flipped by building in a good motivator. Students have a minimum number of concepts they must complete to pass the course. In order to do this they need to move at a reasonable pace. If they get beyond the minimum there are quizzes with bonus points built in.
The question that hit me about 7 weeks in is: Are some of them not working at home watching videos because they don’t have access. I made a mistake in taking for granted that all the students had regular access to a device with internet. I learned that some students don’t have computers that they can use all the time. They have to share with their parents or siblings. Staying afterschool to watch the videos is difficult for students as well. In general, access is a problem for some students. I cannot reasonably expect students to do the work at home if I can’t guarantee universal access. I had to come up with a solution.
The solution started with converting my videos using filewiggler.com to iDevice format. I have then been using iTunes to put the videos on a class set of iTouches (which up to now I have only used for their very cool graphing ability on quickgraph app). I can then sign out those iTouches to students. I can also add the vidcast to the student’s personal devices as well. In the process of doing my conversions I learned that you don’t have to apply for an offical iTunes podcast. You can just create your RSS feed to you videos and subscribe to the feed on the computer you use to update the iDevices. As I add videos all the iTouches update in my cart. The other way to get videos on the iDevices is to manually drop them in, but this is a lot of work for more then a few devices.
The other component of universal access allows for is requiring evidence that the video was watched. One thing one could do is look at the podcast stats. This can give a general idea that a video is being watched, but can’t get down to the student level. This issue can be remedied by embedding questions in the video that the students have to answer. The questions could be random that have no content or specific content questions the students must show the solution to in order to demonstrate their homework. I plan to implement this next year in any flipped class that I create.
This is just one answer to a hard question. The major problem with this is having a class set of iDevices. I am lucky enough to have that. The only other advice i have is to keep looking for the solution that works for your situation and share with your Personal Learning Network.
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