Problem of Practice: TESTING PHASE

Context: Teachers lack the time in class to delve as deeply as they would like into subject matter. One solution to this problem is to transform the traditional “lecture at school, practice at home” into a “lecture at home, practice at school” style of Flipped Classroom.

Users: Current teachers who were interested in implementing the Flipped Classroom in their own courses. The teachers I sent my prototype to had various levels of knowledge regarding flipping.

Designing the Test: My goal from the get-go was to create a self-guided module for teachers to peruse on their own time. One of the parts about flipping that is stressed to students is to watch the videos/lectures when they are most focused. So often in a traditional classroom we ask students to attempt to understand new material when they may not be ready to think in such a way. With the Flipped model, they are encouraged to wait until they have as few distractions as possible and are ready to devote their time and attention to the material in front of them. My goal was the same with teachers and this module. Teachers have so much on their plate that I wanted them to choose the time that worked the best for THEM.  That’s why I chose to make a website for the prototype. I used a Google Form for feedback so they could offer it immediately after viewing the module. I didn’t know ahead of time when the testers would be able to peruse the website and I wanted them to have an easy-to-access way to offer immediate feedback while it was fresh in their minds. I told them they could also call me and I would record our conversation or they could email/text me, but all three opted to just fill out the Google Form. The feedback form they used is embedded in my website.

What happened and what did I learn? I originally created a PowerPoint presentation for my prototype but overall wasn’t very happy with it… I just couldn’t seem to get it to match what I had in mind. I was planning to send it out anyways, until I got feedback on that phase and realized that I hadn’t created what I thought I had created (see the blog post here to read about that process!). I ended up totally changing my prototype to a website, which, thanks to Google Sites, was a lot easier to design according to what I had imagined. After making the website, I sent it to my friends and colleagues with the following message:

Good morning everyone! Here is the link to my website prototype. Please work your way through the tabs at the top of the page, reading, watching, clicking, and reading some more. The tab furthest to the right is a Google Form so you can offer feedback. If you’d prefer, you can also text/email me or give me a call and we can chat about it (I might record our conversation to include it in my course assignment, but I will let you know ahead of time!). Thank you so much for agreeing to help me with this project. Your feedback means so much to me!

My colleagues replied with their feedback and I was so grateful to them for taking the time to play around with my website. I learned that I need to give teachers PLENTY of time to complete yet another task. In the future I might try to meet them for coffee to discuss the prototype in person and offer an incentive (coffee on me and a visit with a friend!) in order to gently encourage them for more timely feedback. I also learned that technology evolves SO quickly. Programs and apps that I used just a few months ago to create flipped lessons for my classes are either no longer available or require subscriptions, so I had to adjust my plans for resources I would include and how I would create my own module.

Although this is late in coming and my first prototype was not the greatest, I feel good about what I accomplished during this final phase. I will definitely take what I learned from this semester long project and implement it in the future when designing course materials and products.

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