Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Effective Integration of Technology

I try to be a pretty progressive teacher. I would like to think that most days I succeed at the attempt, but one area that I am lacking is in effective use of technology. Now, if you were to ask others, they might say that I'm one of the most tech-geek teachers they know, but I know the truth - that technology for technology's sake is not effective. I use my projector system every day, I can do online research with the best of them, but I want to explore technology that truly gets the job done, not just technology that looks pretty. It reminds me of a passage in Robyn Jackson's "Never Work Harder Than Your Students", which says something to the effect of needing to evaluate every lesson and if it doesn't get the job done, get rid of it - even if it's your favorite lesson, if it doesn't achieve the goal, it's not worth it.

Enter in my good friend @approx_normal - a few weeks ago she sends me a link to this video and it really gets my thought process going...

The basic idea is to flip your classroom - send your "lecture" home as homework (via podcast or CD) and then in class, do more exploration, assignments, activities, and labs. I LOVE the idea!! Ever since that day, I've been trying to figure out how to implement this for next year. How I could use Jing videos, etc to create an online virtual "textbook" for my students to watch and take notes.

Then, fresh on the heels of this video was a twitter discussion with @jasonchri, another AP Stat teacher. He uses technology on a daily basis, and I've been following his tweets with great delight as he is also trying SBG in Stat this year. He has his class set up so that reassessments aren't always formal reassessments, they could be updating the class wiki, working on an applet, etc. He also utilizes Google Docs for quizzes, feedback, data collection, etc. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall in his classroom for a few days! Browsing around his website got me to thinking further - Could I integrate this idea and the idea from above? If so, what an awesome way to turn the learning over to my students!

I know it's crazy to be thinking about summer projects in the dead of winter - but here's where my PLN comes in... Tell me about technology use in your classroom. What technology tools do you use? How do you use them effectively? How do you decide a tool isn't for you?

Thanks in advance!!


Craig said...

I've strongly considered doing this for my algebra class this year, but I've hit a few snags with video hosting. I want to pair up YouTube and Moodle to have my students watch a quick tutorial and answer a few questions to check for understanding. I have all the basics figured out, but I'm still waiting for the tech coordinator to give students access to YouTube. I know some students will want to complete this during a study hall, so I have to find a workaround for this.

Approximately Normal In The Classroom said...

I seriously think you and I could rock this idea if given some time. When @troystein told me about it earlier this year, a lightbulb just went off in my head and I thought "YES! This is amazing!" This is the way we SHOULD do it (especially for stats). How many times to kids say, "I understood it in class, BUT when I got home..." (By the way, in my video I had to censor myself - I usually call it a brainfart instead of a brain flush, but I was trying to be "lady-like").

I have some technology resources (basically a Promethean board and 4 laptops) but I know I can do a better job utilizing what I already have. I need TIME to do it (or rather, I need to MAKE TIME). I've been in classrooms where teachers had every cool gadget known to education but still were not effective. I think that some of the coolest teachers I know have LESS technology than I do.

I think you and I both want to do MORE, but we're not really sure how. I want to dig through @jasonchri's stuff and pick his brain a little more. I also think we're on to something with the Jing and wiki ideas we throw back and forth.

Can you imagine what we could do if we taught in the same school? I wonder if your school would trade your stats teacher to Mississippi and let me move there for a year. Like a sabatical?? Maybe?? :)

JamiDanielle said...

That reminds me of the article Dan Pink wrote on Karl Fisch:


I love the idea.

How would you overcome the obstacle of students without tech access at home?

MizT said...

@Craig - So far, I have used Jing to screencast some videos, I like it quite a bit - would also be cool to team it up with Google Docs to do a short "check for understanding" quiz. Thanks for the idea!

@approx_normal - I know! Just need to figure out how to implement :) I'm pretty excited about it though

@JamiDanielle - thankfully, access to tech isn't too much of an issue in my school. Would also like it to be portable, where they could watch via their iPhone, etc.

bestcase said...

Well. As a Fathom guy, I would go on for hours on that, but I see that your post seems really to be more about including more multimedia-ish technology.

And wow, do I wish I did more of that, and could figure out how to have a life AND produce videos. Whenever I do anything like that I have to tweak and retake so much, it usually doesn't get done. What's the answer? Practice in the medium? Lower production values?

On the Fathom-etc front, however, the somewhat old-school projects we did last semester were useful, I think; the basic idea was that you write a short paper, but it has to have graphs (etc) in it, and it has to be a PDF. It was interesting what it took (not much, but very satisfying) to get this to work, and have, at the end, admittedly mono-media (is thata word? Do we just mean medium?) artifacts that look terrific and that we can share easily with parents, other kids, and so forth.

Amy G. said...

I love love my interwrite pad for recording lectures. It allows me to record my handwriting and my voice as I explain a problem or whatever. Then I post the videos on Moodle. I also save these notes as a pdf and email them to all the students. My intention has always been to make this info available to students who were absent, but I love the idea of having them watch the video outside of class! It will take some time for me to wrap my brain around how that could work, but it definitely intrigues me.

@Craig -- As for student access -- what about using TeacherTube instead of YouTube? It is unblocked at my school.

Mrs. Rice said...

I like this - the idea of having the kids do the work in the classroom where they could ask questions. My problem is that I teach grade level statistics and I'm not sure I could get my kiddos to do "listening" or "reading" before class. But still, there's something to think about here. Moodle obviously makes this easy to set up - just hav to think about how to turn powerpoints into videos.

bestcase said...

Okay, I overcame my own objections and tried it using Keynote to make the video. The visuals are not as interesting as they might be, but the overall purpose—get exposition out of the classroom—worked pretty well. So thanks a million for the nudge!