Digital Learning Day!

Ok…so life happened and I haven’t been able to sit down and pour thoughts out into my blog nearly as regularly as I would like.  However its time to try and get back into some kind of writing routine (this is tough for us math teachers!)  Coming up really soon, February 5 in fact, is Digital Learning Day.  This is a great opportunity to explore all of the different ways you could/can incorporate some technology into your classroom.  There are several events that are happening both locally and nationally, check out the Digital Learning Day website for more information and events in your area.

I will be hosting a Flipped Classroom Open house that morning: 7:45-10:55 and there is a Q&A following!  I would love to have you visit my class and see how I use the flip classroom model with Calculus (don’t be intimidated by the subject, think how the model would work for you).  Follow this link to sign up with me or with a teacher in your area who uses the flip model, see how it works live and in person!

Wondering about exactly what Flipclass is?  No problem, in a nutshell:

        • Students get the content at home
        • Students practice with the teacher at school

There are some huge benefits for this model – the content can be delivered without constant interruptions that tend to happen at school.  Students are given a website, YouTube video, Knowmia link, LiveBinder, etc to get the content for the unit the teacher is working through.  For me, the best part is this: really difficult math questions are worked out in class with me guiding the learning.  No more sitting at home and looking at the book for two hours and not getting anything done.  I can be right there to guide learning, to help with really discovering what is happening with all of this crazy Calculus stuff.  My classes work in small groups, they can help each other out when they get stuck.  There are several different ways for the students to really engage the learning part at school!

A couple of things that should be explained – the computer/video is not teaching the student.  I have not had many kids that understand everything that I say the first time I say it!  The learning comes as students work through the different concepts that are the focus of the lesson.  I prefer to be there with them when that happens and when it happens in my class it makes me really proud of the students!  Students will still have homework – they need to get the content or do work at home.  In my class, I usually have a cart of iPads, so if the students want to watch one of the lessons during class, it is usually not a problem, but this does not eliminate the homework part.  The math problems still need to be practiced, analyzed, worked out, solved, done!

It gets better when the students tweet as they go – it gives a place to start with class the next day.  If there is a lot of activity over a particular concept, we can have a quick class discussion about it.  This is one place where I have really tried to encourage my kids to do this (it has been a struggle).  The biggest problem that I have had with my classes (upper level math) is that the immediate need (question that would be asked in class) is not met immediately.  What I ultimately want my kids to do is explore that need a little bit independently, but maybe I haven’t been the best at giving them the tools to do this.

There is also some hard work on the front end: getting/finding/creating the content for the students to view from home.  I am in year two and have redone several lessons, but this year has gone so much smoother!  The payback – its totally worth it!  I love to see the kids when they finally “get it!”  When they ask those questions, do the work, share their excitement, it’s totally worth it!

Flipclass – it can work at any level with any subject!  Imagine the possibilities and make them truths!

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