I assigned the Flip assignment (see previous post) on Friday and the only notice I received that there was any technical problem was from a student who couldn’t find the video that was right in front of them. That was on Monday night. On Tuesday morning I watched four students attempt to bring up the video on the school’s eleven year old computers 15 minutes before class was to start. Some students didn’t follow the directions and simply gave up fast fowarding to the right part of the video. In the end the usual happened; those that really wanted access to the assignment did it. Those that didn’t care that much, didn’t. Remember those four students? Yeah, they pretty much do the same thing with text reads too.
The engagement was there still. I had them do an group collaboration with questions and did some exchanging, and it was obvious who was carrying who. In the end, those that were going to be engaged were, as usual, engaged. Those that chose not to be weren’t. Realize that I didn’t expect some monumental change or some spike in engagement simply because I assigned a seven minute video clip. However I did watch the concept mastery objectives for some reinforcement of the theory of Production Possibilities Curves. Nope. Not there either.
So the result was the same as giving any other assignment to students to do outside of the classroom. I realize that the atmosphere and tone of the class need to be more consistent for it to really work, and I also realize that it can’t hurt to mix up the work that students do outside of class. But at the same time we need to make sure that when we talk ed tech, the “sage on the stage” is always going to matter more than the technology we use as the tool. And that student motivation might increase with engaging lessons, but that’s more than tech.