Thursday, December 12, 2013

Flipped Classrooms

Are flipped classrooms the wave of the future for education? Are you doing a flipped classroom?

What are flipped classrooms?

Flipped classrooms flip the traditional day of school to make teaching done at home and homework done at school.

How does a flipped classroom work?

A teacher creates videos, lessons, or other teaching aids online and students watch these at home or anywhere there is a computer with internet. Then at school, the teacher assigns problems and helps students complete them in class.

What is the reasoning behind a flipped classroom?

Teachers better serve the students by being there when they are completing problems or tasks. No person should be as good as the teacher for this purpose. So why not have the help from the teacher available? There is more interaction between student and teacher. Teachers can give one on one help frequently. A teacher's time is better used for guiding and directing students through tasks rather than just tossing information at them.

Students can also view lessons over and over. They can fast forward or rewind to a certain point in a lesson that they need to see or hear again. You can't do that with a traditional classroom.

Are there problems with flipped classrooms?

A school or teacher may not be fully sold on the idea. Old traditions are hard to break. However, as the internet takes on a more significant role, the idea will become more palatable and looked upon as normal.

Not all students will have a way of viewing videos and lessons online. Schools must ensure that all students have sufficient time in the computer lab if they have the need. Smartphones and tablets are becoming popular. Many students already own one. They are used to viewing things online using things like youtube.

Teachers will of course need to create the lessons. This may seem like a time consuming task. Keep in mind that once it's created, it won't need to be done again, saving time in the future. It also means that a teacher could redo the lessons and tweak them if needed.

Parents might not understand why students have no homework. Well, you don't need to give ahomework just to give homework. And homework is not really gone, it now involves viewing a lesson as opposed to doing problems. Parents might be more happy with this arrangement, as their child will not have to ask them for help. Many parents feel uncomfortable now if they can actually help a student with a particular subject.

Any last thoughts on flipped classrooms?

We do more and more things online as the internet expands even more. We are learning how to do things now on youtube. Taking classes online is expanding the education experience. Your child's teacher is the best tutor. Why not utilize them in this respect, and get one on one help?

Keep in mind that having a flipped classroom does not restrict the teacher from doing lessons in class if he or she needs to go over something.

>> Check out: How teachers should be assigning homework.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Teachers and Deep Learning

Standardized test have been getting a bad rap for the past few years, and now educators are coming up with alternatives. Or at least to supplement them. Deep learning is starting to be introduced in education circles. Are you doing deep learning, or have you even heard of it?

What is Deep Learning?
Well, it would seem it would be the opposite of shallow learning. That is, learning something just because the teacher says to. Like learn the state capitals. Can you go any "deeper" than that? We will discuss that. But in short, deep learning means to go beyond just learning something superficial. To go deeper in the subject, most importantly, introduce a real world connection to what is being learned. Most beneficial deep learning would involve something hands-on.

Here are some examples of deep learning.
For state capitals, for example, a student could draw a floor plan of the departments of the state, and label how each department is run and interacts with the public. Students could even build a scale model. A classroom could put on a play on how a law gets passed in their state.

Now do you get the idea of deep learning?

If your science lesson was on solar power, students could construct a solar project that used solar power to perform some task.

Any subject, it would seem, can go deeper into learning.

Fractions, students could measure pieces of wood, then add up the total in inches using fractions. They could even construct a small model using plans that include fractions in measurements.

We can't give each and every example of deep learning and a school subject, but each teacher should be able to come up with something "deeper."

Here are some generals ideas for deep learning.
Write a script and put on a play, skit, video, or even puppet show. Build or construct something. Draw diagrams. Put together a scrapbook. Keep a journal. Make a game. Design and model costumes. Have a mock trial. Teachers, are ideas going around in your heads now?

Are there problems with deep learning? Yes. Your students will not be used to it, so you will need to guide and sell them. It can be time consuming, and might take away from facts and figures that are part of the core curriculum in them. So, you need to devise ways of getting the core curriculum involved as well. Some projects are better done in groups. You will encounter lazy students. Some parents might object that their child cannot complete things. As an experienced teacher, you should be able to handle all these problems.

Here's two last things on deep learning. One, if you were a GREAT teacher now, chances are you are already doing things like this anyway! It's just good teaching. Second, we will still need standardized tests in some form. It's just the way the real world works. Standardized tests are not going away, and they are actually used in may careers and licenses.

Deep learning should make teaching and learning not only more enjoyable, but more effective!

>> Free worksheets for classroom teachers.

>> Substitute teacher tips and tricks.