Monday, January 30, 2012

Flipped Classroom

I just got back from a school visit at Lake Elmo Elementary School in the Stillwater Area School District. We had the opportunity to hear about their pilot program, and go into classrooms and see what a flipped classroom could look like. I loved it. Kids applying what they have learned, and teachers acting as facilitators. An active, engaged classroom. A room I would want my kids in!!

When you hear about flipping a classroom technology immediately comes to mind, but after seeing the classrooms in action the technology is just a tool. Flipped classrooms are about instruction, plain and simple. By flipping the classroom and having a majority of the direct instruction outside the classroom the teacher is actually creating more time to work directly with students in the classroom.

To make use of the additional time teachers need to effectively use formative assessment to be able to group their students according to need. To me, formative assessment is what drives any classroom, but especially the flipped classroom. Teachers may still do some whole group instruction, but it will be very targeted depending on the formative assessments.

Flipped classrooms also give students the opportunity to move ahead, or go back and review. They have the direct instruction at their finger tips for when ever they want to access it.

I have introduced the concept of the flipped classroom to our staff by doing some flipped staff development around technology. We have screencasted some videos for staff to look on using Twitter, and creating Smart lessons. We then set aside time for teachers to come in and work on lessons or play with Twitter with people to support them while they are using what they have learned. Teachers appreciate this help, why wouldn't students???

Monday, January 9, 2012

How Can Gamification Help Improve Instruction?

This is a great Ted Talk by Gabe Zichermann.  Gamification brings together game mechanics (game thinking)and marketing to create engagement and solve problems.  I had a change to list to Zichermann speak at the TIES conference in Minneapolis, MN in Dec.  I truly believe a lot of what he speaks to can be used to increase student engagement, and we know if we increase engagement we can increase learning.  The first video is only 16 minutes and to the point.

The second video is a little longer and goes into more detail.  Both are worth a look!!
Our students today are not the same as the students schools had 10-15 year ago.  They way they learn and want to be engaged is different.  My goal is to continue to learn more about digital learns and find ways to use their strengths to help them achieve.