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Friday, October 31, 2014

TOS Review: Fascinating Physics Flipping Education for Middle and High School Online Education

Fascinating Education Review
I was so excited to get the chance to review Fascinating Physics from Fascinating Education. I received a full year's worth of access to the online learning site, which is available for $79. The courses they offer are for Middle School through High School, depending on the course you decide to take. The Physics class is intended for a high school level student. They also offer Fascinating Biology and Fascinating Chemistry.
THE COST: If you register for two of the classes, the yearly fee is $125, and if you sign up for all three courses, the fee is $175 for the year.
Fascinating Education Review
The instructor is Dr. Margulies. He is actually a neurologist, so he understands how the human brain functions. The concept behind the site is to "flip" the learning process by approaching learning through the right hemisphere of the brain. So, what does this mean in terms of how the site is set up?
It means that instead of the traditional text reading assignments, he presents the lessons in audio clips and pictures. The lessons begin with everyday observations and concepts that the student is most likely already familiar with, and then asks questions as to why this is how it is.
Dr. Margulies' approach assumes that the student knows nothing about the chosen science course of physics, biology, or chemistry and then presents the information in slow bite-sized pieces that follow a complete line of thought along a story line, and demonstrates how the science course answers questions to everyday observations. It uses tests frequently to make sure the student is grasping the concepts along the way.
Fascinating Education ReviewFascinating Education Review
There were 15 online lessons that included quizzes and text scripts. I had my 9th grade son log on to learn. He watched the online video lessons, which are broken down to several very short videos within each lesson. The lessons also provide the script if you prefer to read the lesson, and these scripts can be printed out. The lessons each conclude with an online test.
Lesson 1 - Movement
Lesson 2 - Vector
Lesson 3 - Forces
Lesson 4 - Energy-Work-Power
Lesson 5 - Circular Motion
Lesson 6 - Fluids and Gasses
Lesson 7 - Waves
Lesson 8 - Light Part 1
Lesson 9 - Light Part 2
Lesson 10 - Light Part 3
Lesson 11 - Electrical Charges
Lesson 12 - Moving Electrical Charges
Lesson 13 - Electrical Currents
Lesson 14 - The Atom
Lesson 15 - The Nucleus
The video lessons cover a wide variety of examples of approaching the topic with lots of colorful graphs and pictures that correspond with the lessons in a Power Point style presentation with the instructor talking throughout.
Each lesson contains approximately 25-38 short video lesson clips that are separated so that you can easily review the portions of each lesson that you need to focus on more, or easily find a topic that was covered. I thought that my son could sit down and complete one lesson per sitting, but I very quickly discovered that it's so much better for him to learn each lesson in smaller chunks of no more than 1-5 slide/video clips per day. Another student may be able to tackle more or even less, but it's nice to have the flexibility of learning as much or as little at a time that each student is able to handle. It's also nice that if you stop in the middle of a lesson, the screen will ask if you want to continue where you left off at your next log in.
The tests are like an open book test, because there is a NEED HELP? button that the student can click on if they get stuck and don't know the answer. When you click on that button, it shows the video clip that explains the specific test question. The tests are each fill in the dot/SAT style multiple choice. The student selects the answer and then hits submit. Once you hit submit, you see your immediate results and where your percentage lies as to whether you passed or did not pass. From there, you can print the results, review the quiz, or retry the quiz.
Even though this right-brain approach to learning science doesn't emphasize the need to learn terminology, there is also a Glossary tab that contains key vocabulary words inside each lesson. I really liked having this right there with easy access.
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