By Kate Lind
Delaware Technical Community College
After teaching in the K-12 sector of education, I was initially shocked at how difficult it was to involve active learning at the collegiate level.
At the high school level, I developed a Medical Program, using Learning Focused Strategies (LFS) as the delivery system. This meant concept mapping to encourage students to make connections and understand vocabulary, activities to break-up the monotony of a block class, and many formative assessments to ensure students were doing more than treading water.
Coming into higher education was eye opening, but I discovered we are teaching such heavy content that we have to find a delicate balance of creating a foundation with information and engaging learners in various ways.
Recently, I flipped the classroom for an entire class session. A few key elements made it clear to me that it was finally ‘that time’. First, the content was light as opposed to other material we had covered earlier in the semester. Second, the students had a test from the previous module first thing, so it seemed fitting to keep them awake and moving. Last, the class session was shorter because of the aforementioned test; therefore, only a few activities were involved.
The concepts involved were culture, sensitivity, and spirituality. These topics had been discussed in roundabout ways throughout the semester, primarily in the clinical setting as there is exposure to various patients. Class began with a Kahoot! survey, which included ten questions that used key terminology and nursing implications involving our concepts. After each question, a bar graph displayed the student responses, prompting conversation that allowed me to explain why the incorrect options were wrong. I used this Kahoot! activity to provide direction for those students who do not feel that a flipped classroom provides a focused content review for testing.
The next activity was to break students into groups of 4-5 people. Provided with a list of different fictitious people, groups were to asked to select which 8 people they would take with them if Earth was being destroyed and we needed to colonize another planet. It was eye opening to hear the responses that members agreed to and their rationale for choosing their subset of ‘new world people’. Many beliefs were challenged, given the adjectives to describe the choices and why said people were needed to begin life on a new planet. The purpose was to think about the prejudices we make when not knowing much about a person. We then related this back to patient care in a debriefing.
The final activity used in this flip classroom required the same groups to stay together. Each group was assigned a specific culture or religious group. They were given certain healthcare related topics to research and asked to give an interesting presentation that lasted 15 minutes at the end of class. Groups worked together collaboratively using various delivery methods including Power Point, YouTube, Kahoot!, think-pair-share, etc. The intent of this exercise was to explore how diverse each culture is and how to best address their healthcare needs given the opportunity.
Overall, I felt that this flipped classroom technique was effective. While students weren’t overly receptive to the thought that they had to “find” their own answers instead of the instructors delivering content in a lecture fashion, they still managed to educate themselves and others while making learning mobile and fun.