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A.

1 Your research question (s)

Main question: To what extent does a trial in flipping a classroom and flipped learning engage, motivate and enhance the performance of students on an A/S Level Computing course? Subsidiary questions: What is flipping a classroom? & what is flipped learning? These will be explained with reference to : p some pieces of formal, academic writing on the subject i. e. journals and research papers. There are only a few of these given that the concept of flipping is relativel y new and formal research is in its infancy p blogs, online forum posts, presentations given (largely at educational seminars), media references such as newspaper articles and TV news reports. How does flipping affect students engagement in learning? & How does the use of flipping concepts motivate students on the course? These will be measured by analysis of data obtained from: p observations of students in the classroom p interviewing students regarding their views on the trial and how they perceive flipping has affected their engagement in learning and motivation in respect of their studies on the course p questionnaires allowing for both qualitative and quantitative responses. To what extent (if any) does flipping a classroom and flipped learning affect students performance in terms of their understanding of the course materials and their results in related assessment activities? Arguably the most difficult of the questions to prove, this will essentially be measured by qualitative data. Proving p erformance in this respect, with quantifiable data in this trial, could only really be done with a controlled experiment, e.g. having two groups of identical students studying the same course with the same teacher, one group using flipped techniques and the other group not using t hese. The performance of the students in assessment activities that measure understanding could then be compared between the two groups. From this comparison, answers to the question of whether flipping affects performance, backed up with quantifiable ev idence, could then be produced. The constraints of the school setting for this trial do not allow for such a controlled experiment, however. As such, reliance on qualitative data will essentially be the measure for affects on student performance. Again questionnaires and interviews will be the vehicles for this data. Yet, there will be some quantitative analysis that comes from judging students performance through : p comparisons with other topics being taught by another teacher without using flipped techniques, on the same Computing course p comparisons of assessment results with other subjects being studied by the same group of students at A/S Level.

Critical analysis and assumptions: During this research, I will seek to critically analyse the concept of flipping a classroom and flipped learning. This will involve : p discussions on Mastery learning from which those who have been credited as founders of flipping have developed p an examination of the contrasts and parallels with action learning . Assumptions as to the value of engaging and motivating learners will also be challenged with a review of relevant literature. Largely, academic material will be discussed where the focus has been on the use of technology to enhance engagement and motivation. Lastly, the assessment activities that will be used to try and gain a measurement of the understanding and performance of students will be for the most part, written tests. Thus, there is a need to challenge the assumptions such tests in two ways: p do they provide an accurate measurement of understanding (or just a guide to a students ability to recall facts) p are there other factors to consider when using such assessment methods, e.g. students reactions to controlled, exam conditions
A.2 A rationale  Primarily, I want to know to what extent (if any) a trial in flipping a classroom and flipped learning engages, motivates and enhances the performance of students on an A/S Level Computing course and I consider action research of this nature to be the best method to do this. In 2009 OFSTED praised effective schools for having an ICT curriculum carefully planned and regularly reviewed to include interesting activities (http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/importance-of-ictinformation-and-communication-technology-primary-and-secondary-schools20052008). This praise sits well with my ethos of running a department a s Head of ICT at my current school and the findings of my research during this trial could further enhance teaching and learning in the department. If there is evidence to suggest students are motivated and engaged through the use of flipped techniques then this broadens the involvement of interesting activities.  The syllabus covered by the unit of the A/S Level Computing course that this research will be based on is intended to give general grounding in computing, including an understanding of computer systems (http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/type/gce/ict_tec/computing/index.html ) and is externally assessed by written exam. There are great similarities in the content of this unit and previous units on A/S Level courses I have taught. On these courses, feedback from students has generally been negative in terms of enjoying the learning and stimulus to want to deepen/further understanding on the content. Given these experiences, I feel that using flipped learning techniques could engage students more in the subject. By allowing for more practical application in lesson time of the facts and theories that are self -studied through vodcasts, the learning exp erience could be enhanced while at the same

time more time can be dedicated to assisting students with understanding (http://www.schoolengagement.org/Newsletter/Dec08NCSENews.html )
 As well as a fundamental belief in instilling independent learning techniques in students, I want to enhance my practice to include more problem -solving techniques, more thinking and practical demonstrations, more student involvement in their learning , group work and collaborative learning. Yet, I am also a great advocate of the involvement of Web 2.0 technology in teaching and learning. Web 2.0 approaches have been stated as key to developing independent learning (Crook C and Harrison C, 2008). It has been argued that with the development of Web 2.0, the internet has become far more social, a community based tool where sharing is common place driven by the interoperability of the software and growth in open source concepts. The availability and popularity of many of these technologies to students, is intended to blend stimulating content using somewhat familiar tools. Thus, using Web 2.0 technology to provide the out -of-lesson materials and setting work in lessons that incorporates additional Web 2.0 technology, it is intended that the use of flipped learning will boost students skills in a variety of areas not just the study of Computing.

A.3 Background  I am going to carry out the research in the school I can currently employed in, Fulford School, York. This is an 11-18, high-achieving, non-selective comprehensive school with specialist status in Maths and Computing and the Computing A/S Level is being taught for the first time in the school from September 2012. The target group of students for t his research will be those studying for this course. It is essential for the continuation of the course, increasing success of the department, further success of the sixth form and the school that students perform well on the course. However, it is equally and I would argue more important that the students lear n the fundamentals of Computing, are engaged and motivated. Using flipping techniques is an attempt to enhance learning and ultimately heighten the performance levels of students on the course. As a dedicated education practitioner I am trying to enhance my practice and aiming to use this trial as means to do this. By using action research to analyse flipped learning in this context, it is intended to benefit the students, myself and the school as a whole.  The school has recently been inspected by OFSTED as outstanding (http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspectionreport/provider/ELS/121684/(type)/8192/(typename)/Secondary%20education ) and the sixth form that the students are part of has been judged outstanding during the previous inspection in 2007 (http://www.educationadviser.co.uk/ofstedreport/fulford-school). Despite the overall quality of teaching and learning that has been recognised in the school, both of these inspections p oint to improvements needed in teaching and learning (2011 report: increase the proportion of good and outstanding teaching across departments;2007 report: emphasis on a model for 'successful lessons at Fulford School'). I believe that flipping technique s could enhance the quality of teaching and learning on this course

 The school believes in enhancing independent learning particularly among sixth formers, a student can expect..facilities to assist independent learning (http://www.fulford.york.sch.uk/downloads/sixth/6formhsg.pdf ), as many of these will go on to university and will require those skills for undergraduate courses. Further the school gives this as a reason to choose the sixth form:

At Advanced Level there is much more focus on independent study and in depth learning. Given this, students are required to complete considerable additional reading and research. The learning time for each subject consists of lessons and the independent study time required for the course. Achievement at this level largely depends on individual motivation and determination and the willingness to put the required time and effort into the courses. What we do is deliver high quality teaching i n a positive and supportive environment, fostering the self -motivation to succeed. (http://www.fulford.york.sch.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=a rticle&i d=255&Itemid=242) Given this, I believe there are strong foundations for the use of flipping techniques that rely fundamentally on the dedication of students out of lesson time. Moreover, the techniques are intended to provide a more supportive environment and a deeper understanding of material in the syllabus during classroom sessions. The combination of the in -class and out-of-class materials should provide for a more engaging and motivating learning experience.
 This A/S Level is a new course for the school and as well as being a popular choice, among those applying is a considerable number of high calibre students . These are students with GCSE grades expected to achieve numerous GCSE grades well in excess of the national average often at A and A* (results of these will be known by the time the research starts). They are students who have for been advised as to what the course covers and the kind of students who would be expected to be interested in the syllabus. Ergo, given that flipping tech niques rely heavily on independent learning, students being motivated to use self -study techniques and using technology to access material, the course and flipped learning appear to marry well together. (http://fischalgebra1011.blogspot.com/2010/11/we -see-this-as-future-ofhigher.html)  The A/S Level Computing course has attracted a relatively large amount of applications given the number of students in the sixth form . Given this, I feel that there is a good size focus group for small scale action research such as this and for the validity of data analysis. There are also two females on the course which will provide an opportunity to research any issues of gender differences in findings. This supports the advice given for such projects ( M. Denscombe, The Good Research Guide, 2007, Open University Press)

A.4 Research Strategy

Methodology: My aim is to use action research methodologies to analyse the question of: To what extent does a trial in flipping a classroom and flipped learning engage, motivate and enhance the performance of students on an A/S Leve l Computing course? It is very much supportive of the vision of using: research as a vehicle for improving the quality oflife in their own social context s. (McNiff et al, 2003, p8). In other words, the materials produced for in -class and self-study are to be used with students I teach. Students will rely on them during the academic year for the provision of a particular unit of their A/S course and as the teacher of that unit, I will be using these materials as a vehicle of delivery of the content. The focus of the research is on the students learning and performance however and as such, feedback will come from that student body. The materials created will be in use from September through to December 2012 and a review point is intended in late October (half-term). This review will enable assessment of their learning and performance to date and lead to revision of application of the flipped learning model. Such revision is an important component of action research yet it is also likely that further revisions may take place throughout the academic year as a result of student feedback, progress, etc. Yet, the underlying intentions in developing and using materials that are being developed to fit a flipped clas sroom model are to improve learning on the course and ultimately improve students performance. It is clearly very difficult then to remove any bias within this research given the fact that the analysis will be of students learning with materials I am both designing and implementing. Far from trying to conceal this, I would like to declare myself as wanting the flipped model to improve my practice and to further develop the model of practice for use in my department, the whole school and to further a growing community of learners engaged in its p ractice (http://vodcasting.ning.com/ ). Academic writing on action research particularly related to the first person as this will be suggests that bias is likely to arise (Carr, W. and Kemmis, S, 1986, Becoming Critical. Education, knowledge and action research, Lewes: Falmer ). Further, it has been suggested that it is important to declare one's position in the research (Torbert, W, 2006, The practice of action inquiry in Reason, P. Bradbury, H. (eds.) Handbook of Action Research 4th ed. London, Sage ) and (Herr, K. Anderson, G., 2005, The Action Research Dissertation: A guide for students and faculty. London, New Delhi, Sage) Given my entrenched position in this work and stance as regards wanting to incorporate flipped techniques into my teaching practice, it is clear that this rsearch lends itself to a positivist approach. The analysis carried out is intended to generate largely quantitative data yet generalisations made from this will be supported through deployment of qualitative approaches to support the data quantifiable methods produce. These methods are discussed in the Method section below. As action research is based on the paradigm of reflection for those practitioners researching in their own workplace, it is an ideal methodology for use here. As already mentioned, this research and the materials produced are not intended to be

st ti i so st i t to odifi d ossi l it i t fi st lf d duri t second lf term of t eir deli ery s ell s t review oint t during ctober. Such modification and review very much follows the view of cNiff J, , Action esearch, Princi les and Practice, outledge) regarding the rinci les of and ractice of action research. iagrammatically, this model reflects the work intended to be undertaken in this research:

As such it is clear to see the cyclical nature of the roject and the intention to involve empirical research techni ues. The research will see a plan acted upon, monitored and reflected upon with revisions made. It could be said that after further disti llation of the methodologies used in this project, a mi ture of technical action research and practical action research are at the heart of the investigation techni ues used. ecently Kemmis wrote: In technical action research, the participant researcher aims to improve the outcome of her or his practice ) Kemmis The uestions that I am seeking to answer here are intended to form a fundamental element of the technical action research process - knowing the end result s, i.e. knowing what you as a researcher want to achieve Kemmis S, , Action research as a practice-based practice, Educational Action esearch, outledge [ nline] Available at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all content=10.1080/096507909030 93284) or this project, the overall, desired outcome is improved student

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engagement, motivation and leading ultimately, to improvements in their performance. However, technical action research according to Kemmis involves treating those involved in the research, in this case the students as third party objects who have no real voice. Contrary to this idea, my project very much intends to embrace the feedback of those involved. Practical action research ensures others involved also have a voice Kemmis (2009). In essence, in this study, I will follow this concept and throughout, will be open to the views and responses of others Kemmis (2009). This supports the methods championed by Mohr M, (2001,, Drafting Ethical Guidelines for Teacher Research in Schools, Ethical Issues in Practitioner Research, New York: Teachers College Press) whereby the students in the class take on the role as coworkers, co-researchers and collaborators throughout the research. It is my intention that the students participate in this way but as in technical action research, the aims are clear and shared with those participating i.e. the students on the course. Method: Questionnaires, interviews and observations are intended to be used to collect evidence in respect of engagement, motivation and learning in this trial. Yet, as this is fundamentally a piece of empirical research, it is vital that the issue of reliability is addressed. My bias has already been declared above and as such I am aware of the need to corroborate views and evid ence found in the research to ensure conclusions are trustworthy. To tackle reliability - the concept of being able to replicate or repeat any observations found ( oppe M, 2000, The Research Process [Online] Available at: http://www.ryerson.ca/ mjoppe/Resea rchProcess/ExploratoryResearch.htm [Accessed 22nd August 2009] ) I intend to give the exact same questionnaire to all students involved the research, produce some set questions that will be asked of all students interviewed and have set criteria for all o bservations carried out. The validity of the research methods planned will largely be based around triangulation. Evidence will be analysed from varying perspectives by using different techniques to produce findings that the researcher can be fairly confi dent are accurate (Denscombe M (1998), The Good Research Guide for small -scale social research projects, Open University Press). As already stated, research evidence will be collected using questionnaires, interviews and observations. Questionnaires will be given to all students on the course. This number is more than the minimum set for statistical sampling by The Economist (1997) as cited in Saunders et al (Saunders M, Lewis P, Thornhill A ,2000, Research Methods for Business Students Pearson, page 115 ). The questionnaires will be available to complete online and students will be required to fill them in during lesson time ensuring a substantial amount of feedback. The structure of the questionnaires will be aimed at providing quantitative evidence on th e whole in the form of background statistics (Wellington ,2000) Educational research: contemporary issues and practical approaches, Continuum, page 17 ). In other words, the questionnaires are intended to provide triggers for points to be raised in the interviews and lead to the observation criteria. There will however, also be techniques used in the

questionnaires design intended to give students opportunities to also add explanations/comments to support answers. In essence, some measure of balance between open and closed questions will be included as recommended by Oppenheim AN (2001, Questionnaire design, interviewing and attitude measurement, Continuum International, page 110) . The questionnaires will also address ethical research issues by preserving anonymity as no names will be requested and the response data automatically saved. The interviews planned should also further the depth of validity in the research. As already stated there will be set questions and the interviews are intended to be very useful as a way of trying to interpret the quantitative data produced by structured questionnaires (Kember D, 2000, Action Learning and Action Research. Improving the quality of teaching and learning, Routledge, page 47 ). Yet, the interviews will be somewhere in-between structured and unstructured as described by Bell ( Bell , 1999, Doing Your Research Project: A guide for First -time Researchers in Education and Social Science, Milton Keynes: OUP, page 138 ). They will not be rigidly structured i.e. be all set questions as this could, in my opinion, limit the freedom of the interviewee expression but more importantly it could be a hindrance pursuing relevant lines of enquiry subject to answers provided and comments made. The final method- observation is intended to be used to triangulate evidence collected from questionnaires and interviews. The criteria will be determined by the responses previously given in the first two research methods and I will be looking to substantiate findings and conclusions in ob serving students involvement in activities in the classroom. The objective of these observations is really to focus on how the use of flipped techniques effects students learning, engagement and motivation on activities that can be pursued in class time.