Flipped Language Class

 
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My name is Celinda Corsini and I started
using online technologies in 2011. The course I use online learning for
is Italian Ab Initio. It's a year 11 and year 12 IB course for
beginner students of Italian. I have approximately 30 students every
year, split in two separate classes. The main reason for
adopting blended learning was to make my teaching more
relevant to the 21st Century. What I came up with was content at
home schools in the classroom and I soon realized that a lot of other
teachers were adopting this model for languages and
they called it the flipped classroom. So in my context, the flipped
classroom involves the students going through the content online
at home in their own time. And then coming to class and
working on skills based activities. My main tool is WordPress,
that's where I host my course. This is my WordPress site that
hosts the Ab Initio Course. So I have a list of all
the topics on the left. And on the right, I have all my video explanations that
are also embedded in the sub-topics. But it's just a quick way for students to
jump to explanations when they need to. So, students go to whatever
topic we're up to. They click on the topic. For example, Family Life. They go into the subtopic,
for example Daily Routine. And every unit has this structure. Other areas on my site.
I have a page with useful links. And I've just collated various websites
that are helpful for languages. There's a text to audio app so that they
can hear an Italian voice saying the words that they're studying or phrases,
there are language learning websites, etc. I also have a section on
writing skills where we're doing this follows the same
logic of the speaking skills. And finally, the peer tutoring page where
I explain the peer tutoring project. For my blended learning model,
rather than planning lessons, I actually planned the course,
the entire course, early on. So, I looked at my program,
I divided it into units and sub-units, and I put it all on my online
platform. Within WordPress I then use other tools, for example, we create collaborative vocabulary lists,
and I do this via Google Docs. For my explanation videos,
sometimes I simply use my iPhone. I store everything on YouTube, and
I keep it public for anyone to view. Sometimes I use apps such as Educreations
to create my videos using my iPad. I've also used Livescribe Pen, and screen capture apps such as ScreenFlow. My model of blended learning is
what I call content at home and skills in the classroom. Basically, the content of
my course is hosted online. And students are expected to
work on a particular unit. And they need to learn the vocabulary. They need to watch my videos
on grammar and language. And then they need to complete
what I call at-home tasks. These are generally rote learning tasks,
and answers are provided. They're activities that don't
require a teacher to be there. Students then learn all the content,
they come to class, they sit a quick quiz. This allows me to assess the learning. And then, in class we spend time on
the explicit teaching of skills. With the videos, I try as much as
I can to put my face in there. Because I figured that students
initially would feel abandoned by me, as in you know,
the teacher's not explaining anymore. So I thought it was really important
to have my face there, so they felt that I was still there with them when they
were at home going through my videos. >> The online learning site would
help us fit all the learning that we were meant to have in class. We could do it at home. And then we could ask the questions
that we didn't know to, we could ask prof during class times so
that would save a lot of time. >> I consistently evaluate my online,
my blended learning approach. What I do every two months,
even four years down the track, I sit with my students, and I ask them for
their feedback on the course. The initial response to the blended
learning course was actually quite negative. When I explained the course to my
first cohort, they were a bit puzzled. And they asked me, so what are you going to be doing
if you're not teaching us? So I had that challenge to deal with, and
initially there was a bit of resistance. For example, I walked into class one day, they should have prepared
a particular unit, and they had. But they wanted me to
start every lesson with a five minute revision of the online unit. And so I gave in one day and I started writing on the board
some notes from the unit. And I noticed the students getting their
phones out and taking photos of the board. And I stepped back and
I looked at the board and it was a mess. There was a spelling mistake. And I had forgotten five or
six things that were online. And at that stage I stopped and
I said to the students, girls I did this online for you. I had different colors for
different ideas and concepts. I didn't have any spelling mistakes. It was a lot more thorough. I spent about four hours doing this
online, it's taken me three minutes, and it shows, in class. And it's when I realized that I just
had to change their attitude that it was, a cultural shift had to occur. >> Overall, all this course, and blended
online unit has been very, very effective. Well I think, for
myself it was very, very efficient. I really enjoyed that it was
available to us at all times. There were recorded videos that we
could refer to whenever we needed help. And then from this,
we were able to utilize our class time to the best of our abilities and
get the most out of our time. >> What I'd say to teachers
who feel they are challenged by online technology is
simply to give it a go. It looks a lot harder than it actually is. And there are so many benefits to it,
my results have improved considerably. I have grown as a teacher because
I got to learn a new skill. Learning a new skill is very exciting,
so I just say, try it, it's not as hard as you think it is.

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