Nov 01 2011

Hey You…Turn Around…See Things from Another Perspective!

Posted at 5:57 pm under Uncategorized

I have now watched the first half of the Students in the 21st Century Public Research University YouTube video a  few times.  There are so many recurring themes that pop up through the video from the various presenters.  Classrooms must become student centred, relationships are important, creativity is essential and equal opportunities are fundamental to the present world of education.

 My educational experience has primarily been spent in a high school, with a short (two and a half year) stint in the elementary where I entered the administration world.  Since coming back to the high school I have noticed the firm grip that teachers are using to hold onto the traditional education practices.  Unfortunately, the harder we try to hold on, the more likely we are to become dispensable.

A colleague that is very progressive in his thinking and technology based shared some information with me that he learned at a recent in-service.  He told me about the software that runs the Siri function within the new iPhone 4S.  This search engine that is uses is called Wolfram Alpha and it is mind blowing!  It has the capability of calculating the answers to and graphing complex mathematical functions.  This is the exact goal of most assignments in math classes.  How many hours are spent by students repeating the steps in order to write down the right answer to a math question?  How important are these steps if my phone can give me the answer within seconds?  The focus of the classroom has to change…

This is where the concept of the flipped classroom comes in.  The idea flips the traditional setting where the teacher relays a bunch of information to the students, then they have some work time followed by homework at home.  The flipped classroom would require the students to spend time at home preparing for tomorrow’s work time in the classroom.  There are thousands of resources available on the Internet to teach content and most students have the means to access them at home.  Some students may need supports from the school in order to view some of the materials.  Now, the class time can be used to work on assignments, network with classmates, create and problem solve new scenarios.  The time spent in school can be so much more productive in this model.

 A flipped classroom can address many of the core necessities of today’s 21st century learners.  Teachers need to use the resources available to maximize the authentic learning potential in the classroom.

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