Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thank You Fellow Bloggers!

Over the semester I have followed the blogs of several of my classmates, and they never cease to amaze me with not only their intelligence, but also their loving nature. Maybe that’s why they will all make great teachers? These students have caught my attention in some way or another and I hope they catch yours too!

On February 20, 2016 Garreth focused on the use of art as a learning tool in the classroom, especially when it comes to special education or special needs students. He mentions that we often overlook its usefulness and similarly its necessity because we programmed to teach straightforward subjects in a one-way manner, when in reality there are many different ways for students to learn about the same topic. By not giving students the option to learn in their own way and express their understanding of it to their educators and cohorts, then we limit their ability to become educated people. We label them as incompetent or unintelligent when it is just a matter of changing up the lesson plan. I thought this was a very touching, and compassionate post and although I tend not to focus on special education due to my own conformities, it made me consider what I am missing.

For this post Caroline chose to write about formative assessment, which drew my attention because it is one thing I struggle with understanding. She mentions Kahoot!, which is a software in which teachers can create educational games or quizzes for students to engage in and in doing so the educator can track understanding and progress. I’ve enjoyed learning new ways to have students actively engage but I also like to learn about ways that teachers can also engage. One thing I find to be most important in a classroom is relevant and intentional information, which is possible when educators fully understand what their students are missing to understand the information themselves. Often times a student will not raise their hand to ask a question out of fear of being judged, so when an educator can provide a anonymous way to track understanding, the entire class can benefit.

LaStacia used her recent blog to discuss communication and collaboration. She specifically talked about Skype in the classroom and the various ways an educator or students could use it as a class resource. Some of the ways include visiting other classes, having a guest speaker, or going on a virtual field trip (which I think is super cool). LaStacia also mentioned that Skype in the Classroom is free to download for educators, students, and schools which I absolutely love. Being able to go outside of the classroom without the hassle of finances and permission gives students and teachers the opportunity to explore a world that is usually out of their reach. And let’s not forget the convenience. We all love when we can access things by the click of a button, and having a doctor or solider speak to your class without having to convince them to leave their home is quite convenient.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Flipping the Classroom!

Boy oh boy! Technology never ceases to amaze me, especially when it comes to education. Educators everywhere are steadily forming new creative and innovative ways to interact with their students and provide platforms for individual instructions. One way of doing this is by flipping their classrooms. But, what does flipping the classroom mean?
By definition, a flipping a classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional education arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom (Educause). 

When creating a flipped classroom, you should think about these four recommended pillars.

Four Pillars of FLIP
Flexible Environment, allowing students a range of times to turn in assignments or being able to change the times because of additions or misunderstandings of the assignment. Having a flexible schedule makes an easier workspace for both students and teachers.
Learning Culture, typically students are bound to only learn what instructors can teach, but in a flipped classroom, students can explore past just the teachers’ knowledge. They can use links, watch videos, review power points, etc. to study other relevant information.
Intentional Content, this is probably my favorite pillar. When an instructor has easy access to intentional content, the students benefit greatly. Every class of students is different and although classes in the same grade level may need to understand the same information, they may have different ways of acquiring that knowledge and a flipped classroom gives them that opportunity. The teacher brings what the students need.
Professional Educator, although I love technology in the classroom, no classroom is complete without an educator. Educators are required to instruct, create, manage, and troubleshoot in and outside of the class. But most importantly, students need to feel as if there is someone still there that cares, watches, listens, and understands. Although the technology can give the student a vast majority of what they need to learn, it can never take the place of an educator that cares.
Flipped Learning Network (FLN). (2014) The Four Pillars of F-L-I-PTM

So, how do we flip a classroom?
He are a few tools for flipping a classroom…

TedEd provides a platform for educators to use videos via Ted Talk, TedEd, or YouTube and create a lesson for students. It also provides tabs that are on the side of the lesson for students to engage in conversations with each other and the teacher regarding the topic, for teachers to provide quizzes to test the students’ understanding, and for students to find more relevant information on the topic via links.

Most educators know how to make a PowerPoint presentation to lecture on a topic on a classroom or provide notes for students. But when it comes to flipping a classroom it can be very important for students to hear your voice to feel a connection with you and especially to provide help to auditory learners. It can also be helpful to use annotation functions to point to particular topics or pictures on your slides and use your voice to explain the importance of that slide or to present your entire lecture.

Well, I hope you all gained a little insight about flipped classrooms! I look forward to creating some myself!