Meaning Making: Promoting Deep Understanding of Content
Meaning making is one of the of the phases of the Flipped Classroom: The Full Classroom.
During this phase, learners work towards gaining a deep meaning of the content; an understanding that goes beyond the surface knowledge of facts and information that is way too common in these days of standardized tests and curriculum. It is a phase of deep reflection of the content and concepts covered during the unit of study. Learners are asked to develop and use skills for reflective practice through discussing, reviewing, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing key learnings.
It becomes a phase of learner accountability. Simply stated, learners are asked to demonstrate what they learned in a way that works for them using resources and references to support their ideas. Educators often ask how they can insure that students watched the flipped classroom videos and/or viewed other online content-rich resources. During this phase of learning, students draw upon the content resources as a necessity to be able to demonstrate their understanding of the content material. In other words, they cannot nor will not be able to able to adequately complete their reflections without the use of the reference materials.
The key to meaning making is offering student choices to demonstrate their understanding of the content. Understanding and comprehension is idiosyncratic. As such, each learner should be given an option to demonstrate personalized learning in a way that is a best fit for him or her.
The options as discussed above also help to insure that the learning environment becomes one based on Universal Design for Learning. A digital environment supports student learning when it provides multiple, flexible methods for student action, expression, and apprenticeship (http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=147). The second principle of UDL, provide multiple means for expression, is addressed:
The following guidelines related to Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression are addressed when learners make personalized meaning of the content:
- Use social media and interactive web tools (e.g., discussion forums, chats, web design, annotation tools, storyboards, comic strips, animation presentations)
- Compose in multiple media such as text, speech, drawing, illustration, comics, storyboards, design, film, music, visual art, sculpture, or video
- Use web applications (e.g., wikis, animation, presentation)
- Use story webs, outlining tools, or concept mapping tools
UDL in The Flipped Classroom: The Full Classroom is discussed further in http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/udl-and-the-flipped-classroom-the-full-picture/.
Here is an example I shared before. It was is video that 18 year-old TJ made using Minecraft to demonstrate the concepts he learned during my interpersonal skills course. He has Autism so the use of this video game, which he loves, provided him with a perfect venue to express his key learnings.