First and foremost, the students. How did their learning change? The goal was to have students take over their own learning. The class I followed was a summer school math class. I like to say these students enjoy math so much they wanted to take it again in a summer session. Needless to say, these students were not the valedictorians of the school. The teacher followed a version of the lesson plan template I provided her during the teacher training class. (It is imperative for teachers to learn how to educate in a 1:1 environment). The idea was to write a lesson for students to follow while she assisted those that needed one-on-one attention.
The teacher's initial comment was that she was floored and even called the class "amazing." However, they were doing project work, not daily math work. To me, the non-project based work was what I felt the most important criteria. Would the students continue to behave of blow it off? The answer was both.
Prior to providing the students with their Chromebooks, we blocked sites, blocked apps, extensions and themes and took the necessary precautions to try to make this successful. The majority of these students went through the lesson plans, watched the video tutorials and submitted their work. Then there were others. I expected this group to find ways to not complete everything. Some spent a lot of time trying to find music they could listen to before doing their work. Some picked up the challenge of finding unblocked gaming sites. Another was so infatuated with Justin Bieber (I don't understand that), she spent too much time ogling over him by surfing the web for Bieber sites. We confiscated the Bieber computer and blocked the Bieber sites (like I can really get them all) and gave the teacher gave the student a stern warning on appropriate computer usage. We blocked another 600 gaming sites through the Chromestore and gave the music student an iPod with his own playlist to avoid future paralysis by song choice. (This was the teacher's idea).
What did I learn from observing all this?
The lesson plan worked well when written for students to read and follow. The videos worked well, especially when annotated and students SPaR the videos (Stop, Pause and Rewind - t-shirts are available soon). However, as I mentioned to the math teacher, using shorter videos might work better than one long one. I know I get bored as a student. I wondered how some of these students felt about the video length. Unfortunately I did not get to ask.
In the end the students did control their own learning. They did SPaR their videos as needed and sought out additional help when required. They seemed much more comfortable in this new environment. The class was not a sit and do, but a modified class where the teacher was on the side, interacted more frequently with more students and, according to the teacher, felt rejuvenated and excited to apply this model in the fall. To things to restate, the teacher met more often with individual students and more frequently than she had done in the past. The teacher was able to easily individualize instruction.
As for this group of summer school students, almost 90% of the students successfully completed the course. These students are set up for success in the fall and will start the year ahead of everyone else.