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Self-Paced Classrooms

So, this is something I have very little experience with, but have always wanted to try. My dream class is one of those beautiful flipped classrooms where students go home and watch these well made videos, taking notes on their own time and preparing ahead of time so that they can walk into my classroom ready to go on a super amazing lab or class discussion/question and answer period filled with knowledge and ready to have an intelligent discussion while I just wander around and facilitate the whole thing. And then I realize I’ve been taking DayQuil for the last seven days because it’s cold and flu season, and I work in a germ soup pot.

I want to try flipping my classroom, but I’m planning to start on a small scale before I whip it out full scale. I teach exactly ONE AP science course. And we’re a group of five (six if you include me) embarking down our way to the test on May 1st. If we’re able to stick to schedule, we should end up with about four weeks to prepare for the test after I finish covering all the material. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try a little flipping. So my goal is to set up a sort of self-paced course that my AP students can work through at their own pace to review the material we’ve already taught, stopping at various points to have them self assess or take a practice AP exam to gauge their progress and what they need to work on. Preferably, I’d like the review material (video, pdfs, images, etc.) to remain available to the kids to go back and review as many times as they’d like before the exam in May.

So, I’ve had a couple ideas about this that I discussed with a friend over a glass of iced tea last night. And since I have little or no experience with flipping a class I’m not sure what to go with.

My first thought was to go with an iTunes U class. I’m very much an Apple device person, and everyone in my current class has an Apple device which makes this an attractive option. However, the future of this possibility is a little murky. My school works on a BYOD program, and I’m not entirely certain an iTunes U account is going to be the best option.

I looked into an Udemy account, which does offer the ability to create a free and private course like I’d want my kids to have. However, I’m not sure how I feel about the platform. I read a few blog posts that had the system as slow loading and heavy on memory usage for the student. Not sure what to think of that.

I ran across a website called Teachable where courses can be made, but I’d prefer not to have to pay a monthly subscription fee to provide a review to my AP Chemistry students. And the same problem comes with Thinkific, another side for making self-paced courses. I also found a service called Courseminded, but I haven’t gotten to far into research on that one yet.

So, I’ll be looking for advice, experiences or thoughts on the whole process from anyone who has used any other service to flip a classroom and make it at least to a certain extent, self-paced.

Keep working smarter,

J

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