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REDESIGNING THE CLASS TO ENGAGE STUDENTS IN THEIR LEARNING. AN EXPERIENCE IN NUMERICAL ANALYSIS

G. Rodríguez, M. Caligaris, L. Laugero, N. Cabo

Facultad Regional san Nicolás - Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (ARGENTINA)
During the last forty years, great advances on technology have made great changes in communications and in the access to information. From class notes in digital format and e-mail in the 80´s, then Websites published by some few, then the Internet 2.0 where many could publish, and today, where potentially anybody can, like in repositories as Wikipedia or Youtube. Repositories like these, digital libraries, resources in “the Cloud”, the amount of information in different formats and different types available nowadays is immeasurable.

Youngers are aware of that, because they grew up in a very different world from the one faculty did. They are permanently accessing to information, mostly from their personal devices: smartphones, tablets, sometimes notebooks. Also, their preferences to the format of information they choose, are different. This is clearly noticed when analyzing learning styles of students, a practice that is being carried out in Numerical Analysis courses at Facultad Regional San Nicolás (FRSN), Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (UTN) from Argentina. Engineering students tend to learn in a visual and kinesthetic way.

Professors must take into account this fact when designing the way that they teach. Students’ mind is prepared for other kind of activities, they do not longer like traditional classes, where they are mere spectators. Interactivity must be considered. Taking advantages of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), significant redesign of learning activities can be done. When designing learning sequences, it is important to include activities to develop critical thinking in students. Bloom´s Taxonomy and its revisions are good tools to achieve this goal, and it is also useful to evaluate the abilities students develop.

The flipped classroom is a model that can be considered when designing strategies for teaching. This concept involves carrying out of the classroom the passive activities –from students´ point of view– to give place in that space of time to an active learning, centered on the student, with discussions, simulations and experiences. And a way to carry out of the classroom the passive activities is using short videos uploaded in the Web, a tool that students are used to. Explanations and resolution of exercises that faculty commonly do in the class, can be given to students in video format, either with videos available in different repositories, or especially prepared.

The model of flipped classroom was applied in a numerical analysis course of Industrial Engineering of FRSN in 2017, trying to engage students with the learning of this issue. The learning style of students was analyzed, and taken into consideration when preparing activities. A summary of the experience is shown on this paper, together with an analysis of the results obtained.