Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tech on Tuesday

For anyone who knows me personally, it is no surprise that technology is my passion.  I love tech gadgets in my personal life, so it only makes sense that I would incorporate technology into my daily classroom activities.  Over the past 6 years especially, I have been given many opportunities to learn, experiment, and implement the latest in education technology.  My most recent experience has been with the iPad.  Saying I love this tool would be a HUGE understatement.  I have quickly determined that it is one of the most necessary items in my classroom.  Even though I have only one at this time, I have taken complete advantage of it in my classroom.

This fall I also began toying with the flipped classroom model.  The flipped classroom model incorporates the use of short videos as instruction.  The key is that these videos are watched outside of class.  Instead of me lecturing in my room on a new concept, my students watched a video of me teaching a concept through video in the comfort of their home.  The next day, students were ready to dive deep into applying the skill that was learned the night before.  Ideally, this model is whole class, but I taught 2nd grade this year and only tried it with a small group of students.  Guess what? It still worked.  To find out more about the flipped classroom, watch this:

This led me to Sal Kahn of Kahn Academy.  He is essentially doing the same thing, just on a grander scale. 

 I think the simplicity of the technology is what makes it work.  Today I went to the Upstate Technology Conference and the keynote speaker, Dr. Lodge McCammon, professor at University of North Carolina, shared a simple way to create videos using a video camera and posters or paper slides. 

I did things a little differently in my classroom because I had an iPad.  I used the ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard application.

This app has become my best friend.  It is a screen capture application that records sound and your writing at the same time.  I used this app to create short videos that my students watched in order to learn a concept.  Here is an example:

After my students watched the video, they were then responsible for completing practice problems in the classroom, meeting with me to correct misconceptions and misunderstandings, and then as a final assessment, students created their own ShowMe to prove what was learned.

David's example:  http://www.showme.com/sh/?h=YlWlgvY

After testing this out for a few weeks, I noticed the following:
1.  Fewer interruptions because students were engaged in applying the skill.  I was no longer dealing with behavior that interrupted the introduction of a concept.

2.  Students were engaged at their level and their pace.  Students had access to the videos in class and were able to rewind and listen again if needed. 

3.  Students were motivated.  Everyone wanted a chance to record proof that they learned what was taught. 

4.  When given the final assessment, students scored an average of 87% on the test.  No one scored below an 80%.

In the coming year, I have already mapped out the math skills that need video tutorials created.  I cannot wait to implement this within a full classroom of 4th graders.  I challenge you to try it out in your own classroom this year. Start small.  Choose one area and a small group setting. I'd be interested in hearing your story.

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