Saturday, August 11th, 2012...4:11 pm
Back in the Saddle Again and Setting Goals
After taking a significant time off from posting I am back at it again. The school year is almost upon us as classes begin August 22nd and teachers report next week. So what have I been working on? As usual my summer is filled with making connections with educators around the world via Twitter, blogs and other social media. I have also been looking at a variety of educational apps that will be infused in my everyday instruction.
This school year brings a bit of a change in the way I teach as I will attempt to use a thematic approach to teaching US History. The purpose of this is to entice students to become more active learners. I have also done a lot of reading on the concept of the “flipped classroom” which seems to the latest trend in education. The concept is based on the teacher providing videos that demonstrate teaching a lesson that will be utilized in an upcoming session or that assist students in learning about a topic. These videos are either posted by the teacher or are already found on subject related websites. The goal is for students to view the videos on their own time and if necessary review the videos, typically outside of class so that more class time can be dedicated to collaboration, one-to-one work with students, and inquiry. From this an environment that is student-centered is created. Much of what I read seems appealing and in a sense I have already incorporated some of these techniques into my daily instruction through the posting of lessons and videos. However, jumping full-scale into this can be daunting especially as a veteran teacher who is somewhat set in his ways. My approach is to begin with little steps. For those who are interested in how teachers go about implementing a “flipped classroom concept” one our district teachers Crystal Kirch has a great website .
My other goal is to continue with the integration of technology via MLDs and the use of Evernote, Diigo, Edmodo , blogs and online surveys. As a history teacher I stress the use of applications such as Diigo so students learn that their device or computer is more than a warehouse full of applications for gaming and social media. It can be a learning tool that can enhance their learning experience not only in my classroom, but their future endeavors. As with many other educators who have come to realize that technology is here to stay, I do struggle with the shear volume of new applications and ideas that proliferate the market. I am constantly evaluating apps for usefulness and if I think my student stand to gain from their usage in my classroom. I do feel as the hamster on the treadmill in the Kia commercial at times, but ultimately the work does pay off.
Finally, being a history teacher, I want to stay abreast of the latest pedagogy in teaching the subject matter. As a professional this is extremely important and I consider it no different in a surgeon staying in touch with the latest practices that are part of their respective field. This requires attending quality staff development, networking and coaching others. Only time will tell how effective I can put all of this into effect.