Monday, May 16, 2011

How life changed during the Blogger outage

Prior to the Blogger world-wide outage, I made an effort to summarize the current instructional practices I was using in my classroom. The blog post has seemingly disappeared (perhaps on some island haunted by a giant smoke monster) but that is fine because in the past 5 days I have learned of others doing the same instructional practices and that there is a name for such a strategy.

What I am referring to is the "flipped" classroom. Class time is spent on going deeper into the material and allowing students the opportunity to master the material before moving forward--mainly through presenting direct instruction in video format.

I have been recording videos throughout the year, on average of 4 videos per lesson, split up by concepts and examples. Initially the videos were an extra resource for my students but life changed when I tried to use that as the primary instructional delivery of the material. I suddenly have more time to work with the students that need it. The students that catch on quick can now move ahead and get into more challenging material and discussions.

Using I quickly record videos through my web browser. The videos are already online when I finish recording and can be downloaded as .mp4, posted to twitter or embedded just about anywhere. Students view the instruction on personal electronic devices (iPods in our case) and then move on to practicing the material. Since doing this, I've had students working ahead (less boredom), asking deeper questions (more class time for this) and taking more ownership in their learning (fewer test retakes).

Using the assessment template I've created, tracking student progress is pretty easy. Students submit homework as they complete it electronically. The template also works for correcting tests and retakes as well. The only things submitted on paper are the homework questions that are needing to be corrected.

What I am most excited about is the new network of people I have found pursuing these same strategies in their own schools.

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