Monday, December 3, 2012
To Flip or not to Flip
No. Flipping your classroom is like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. For most its a waste of time, it does not allow for exploring topics of interest and just changes the order of an already flawed teaching style.
Flip your classroom is very similar to printing off the notes that the teacher used to lecture in class, have students read the notes at home and then come to school to do “homework.” Instead students no longer read the notes but now view a video or some kind of “digital notes.” This is not the definition of technology integration. Some may consider having students doing homework in class as learning by doing, but it's not what constructivists like Vygotsky, Dewey and Montessori had in mind. Once again, with flipping a classroom, teachers are not being constructivists. This is just a different model where the teacher is the leader of the class, disseminating information to students like a farmer feeding chickens.
The problem is flipping the classroom might actually be good for some teachers. It can create a conversation and have the teacher re-evaluate what they do in the classroom, and put real thought into how students learn and if the teacher’s current methods are working. With that said, for most teachers, flipping the classroom is way too low. Teachers can do so much more to create confidence in students, help students to discover their unique abilities and explore topics that students are interested in. For many teachers, going to a flipped classroom from what they already do would be taking a step backward. Many teachers do chemistry labs, go outside to collect data or even photograph a solar eclipse using a weather balloon so that the images are cloud free. To now have students view a video for homework and have them do traditional homework in class would be going from active to compliant learning.
I just spoke with a fourth grade teacher today who collaborated with the schools new media specialists to create what was called a living wax museum. Basically, the media specialist taught kids how to research, write a script, become a character and speak in public. Students had a button on their hands and when the button was pushed they became that character explaining the importance their character had on the world. Some of the living wax museum characters were Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. This project was so popular it was later opened to the public and “performed” at the local library. Does this kind of rich learning happen in a flipped classroom? I would argue that it does not.
The flipped classroom takes an already broken, didactic, teacher-lead style and changes the order of a flawed style. We are great at rearranging this flawed teaching method. No matter what we call it we continue to control knowledge as if we were still in the industrial age. It is time we shift from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered learning.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
So, here is what I have decided to do. Many students wait just inside the school doors for the clock to strike 7:30. I am going to move the Breakfast Inventor’s Club to the hall near the doorway. This should give students more time to work/play. Also, eventually if students decide to come to school early, they will still be able to work on their projects and not violate school rules. It is also my hope that the Breakfast Inventor’s club will expand to after school. I will keep you posted.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Today I have decided to do something new. I plan on having a breakfast Inventors Club with students. I will be starting little technology based projects in the morning in the cafeteria. My plan is to start small. I will start building a project and hope that students will be interested in what I’m doing. We have a bunch of Lego Mindstorm kits at one of your office buildings. We also have PicoCrickets and a bunch of materials that could be recycled and used as projects. I am sure I could probably round up a few computers to run scratch or logo to do programing. Below is a brainstormed list of projects that either the students or I could do. Students could use both Legos and PicoCrickets, one or the other or none.
1) bike wheel windmill
2) a bike shirt with turn signals
3) a bubble machine
4) a pop can solar heater
5) a robot that follows a piece of tape
6) Archimedes screw as a solar battery
7) Make a robot that pops a balloon 10 ft away
8) A robot that draws a picture of a house
9) A noise maker that follows light
10) robotic arm that picks up an egg
11) a zip line crane
12) A random number generator
13) A mobile carbon dioxide detector
14) a robotic food grinder
15) a lego cider press
16) mobile rocket launcher
17) Take a picture from a kite that is off the ground
18) a robotic computer keyboard cleaner
19) a Lego Record Player
20) a lego tape cassette player
21) a lego operated rock tumbler
22) a submarine
23) a remote control operated mobile camera with light
24) a programable air freshener
25) a remote controlled black mark remover (from school floors)
My plan is to start this Breakfast Inventor’s Club on the morning of May 30th, 2012. I will report on how it goes.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
|image from this website http://historytech.files.wordpress.com|
Do you ever have students read books that take place in multiple locations or the main characters travel around? Have you ever considered having students create their own Google Lit Trip.
So What exactly are Google Lit Trips?
Below is a description of Google Lit Trips from the website www.Googlelittrips.org.
The short version is simple. Google Lit Trips are free downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey there are placemarks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, thought provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about “real world” references made in that particular portion of the story.
The focus is on creating engaging and relevant literary experiences for students. I like to say Google Lit Trips “3-dimensionalize” the reading experience by placing readers “inside the story” traveling alongside the characters; looking through the windshield of that old jalopy in The Grapes of Wrath or waddling alongside Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’’’s duckling family in Make Way for Ducklings.”
There are two great videos created by a teacher on how to create your own Google Lit Trip. Here are the links to part one and part two.
The teacher in the video does a short example of a Google Lit Trip for Johnny Appleseed. The teacher in the video also talked about how she used the Google Lit Trip as one of her center stations. I feel that the real power of Google Lit Trips is when the students create them. What better way to meet the common core standard of having students describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contributed to the sequence of events than a Google Lit Trip.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
In the morning after all of her 1/3 sized people arrived in her class and took off their coats, Ms. Grube announced that Mr. Weinberg was coming to their class. She announced that he would be bringing something.
Mr. Weinberg brought a whole tub of digital cameras. In a semi-circle the students gathered around Mr. Weinberg as he explained how the digital camera worked. Students listened intently and worked hard to control their excitement.
Ms. Grube and I went over how to use the camera, how to take good pictures and a couple rules. The rules were designed to keep the cameras and the children safe. After the brief explanation, Ms. Grube paired up the students and Mr. Weinberg handed out cameras to the pairs. Then Ms. Grube gave students little prompts for them to follow. “Take a picture of something red,” she would state. Or “Take a picture of something that represents spring,” she explained. Students followed directions.This was the first day, what we called an introduction day, of a project that requires students to work together and use digital cameras. On Wednesday March 7th, 2012, students were given a clipboard, check list and a digital camera. In pairs students participated in a “letter sound scavenger hunt.” A few students got “hung up” on taking pictures of the letters instead of taking pictures of objects that start with the letter sound. After a couple corrections students understood the difference. Students alternated taking pictures of objects that represented each letter and its corresponding sound in the alphabet. The student not taking the picture had the responsibility of checking off the letter on a piece of paper on a clipboard.
In 2003, 87% of all jobs involved using a computer in some way. The percentages of jobs using computers most-likely has not decreased. Exposure to technology at an early age is a great way to get students ready for their lives after school here at Cattaraugus Little Valley.
Using a digital camera is a simple way to help emerging readers learn phonics in a different way while exposing them to technology. Students were also required to be responsible with the cameras and to get along with their peers. These skills are important for all of us but is especially important learning for kindergartners.