Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Remixing Chemistry Class

The article "Remixing Chemistry Class" by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams gives the details of their shift in their chemistry classes from daily lectures to vodcasts viewed by the students before class time. The teachers would record their lectures and post them on various websites and blogs, as well as furnishing DVD copies to students without internet access. The students were responsible for viewing the lecture prior to the class period. The students could pause and review any segment of the lecture that was difficult at their own pace, allowing for greater comprehension. In the classroom, more time could be alloted for questions regarding the vodcast and actual lab experiments. The instructor would move about the classroom prior to and during the experiments making sure the students have reviewed the material. The teachers were able to spend more time with the students doing hands on experiments. This also allowed students to proceed at varied levels in the same classroom. There is also a section in the article which describes the process of recording class lectures and turning them into web based information. There is also a section with comments from students and their parents. Most of the parents were skeptical in the beginning, but saw that for many students this method of lecturing was highly effective.

Q1. Have the grades shown the relative effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this technique?
A1. The standards for admittance to the class were lowered so the students had a weaker math background the year the vodcasts were started, so a direct comparison is not really possible, but test scores have remained relatively steady, considering the lower level of the students.

Q2. What is another benefit of the shift to vodcasts?
A2. There is a greater level of interaction between students and teachers allowing the teachers to better know the students, which in the long run will allow the teachers to better anticipate problems the students may be encountering.

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