Education seems to always be a hot topic, whether it is how much reading is done in elementary school, or how our high schools match up against the rest of the world, or what the best way to teach university students.

Now would be a good time to explain that one of my current courses (the one where this blog is required) is a flipped classroom. We are only one week into the semester, so I can’t describe all the ins and outs of how this works, but I can share my experiences from this first week. In a flipped classroom, most of the critical material is absorbed by the student out of class, primarily through readings and videos that the instructor has prepared. In class, the students typically participate in small group discussions and activities, solve relevant examples, or receive clarification from the instructor. Attached is an info graphic that explains the flipped classroom experience from for reference.

One of the results of flipping a classroom, is that students must actually complete readings and videos ahead of time. As Paul Corrigan explains in “How Can We Get Students to Read Well?,” even the best students do not always complete assigned readings ahead of class, especially if they know they will get all of the relevant and important information when they take down notes in class. From personal experience, as soon as as reading is suggested or recommended but not required, it drops in importance behind the  worksheet and response to reading I have due Wednesday, and behind studying for that exam on Friday. My thought is that I’ll “get around to it” when it is important. The flipped classroom means that getting around to it is not an option. The reading is necessary and the primary place where information is presented.

The problem is that most students have never been taught how to take notes from a textbook or technical articles. There is always highlighting/underlining. Or one can write down notes as one reads. Or at the very end. The technique we were presented in the material this week is called SQ3R. This method is not completely ground breaking, but I found it worked well in keeping me engaged with the text.

S: scan, Q: questions, R: read, R: recite, R: review

The new step for me in my reading strategy was to  write down questions that came up from scanning the headings, bold words, images etc. This was a very important step, because it gave me headings that my reading notes could fall under, and as I read I was looking for specific answers.

While my jury is still out on the effectiveness of flipped classrooms, I am glad that my professor included a brief introduction to note taking strategies to help students be successful in this class.

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton