Technology in the Classroom
Several weeks ago, I journaled the following:
At the moment, I’m listening to a great podcast about education: http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/personalized-learning/
We need to give every student an individualized education plan. They should be able to go at their own pace much like a student with a tutor would (then, why do I require students to have homework done on the next day? Shouldn’t I allow them to go more at their own pace? What happens when they go too slow?).
A charter school named Carpe Diem uses an electronic curriculum for the instruction of new material. Students are tested at the beginning of the year. They start wherever they are (even if it’s kindergarten math when the student is in 9th grade), and go at their own pace to get to where they should be. When they complete the day’s instruction, they have “workshops” where they develop critical thinking skills, work in groups, and complete projects. I imagine this creates a similar feeling to a flipped classroom only they do it all at school. note: I’d really like to flip my classroom. Actually, their electronic curriculum would be more similar to my math assessment software I had thought about. It is continually monitoring student progress and moving the student forward at their own pace. That is something that teachers can’t do.
Another school they looked at had macbook airs for each student. I would like that a lot better than iPads. It’s extremely helpful to have a full keyboard. Students could create full reports in class. They could take tests electronically and see their results immediately. They could research information much more easily using the internet. In my classroom, I haven’t had my students open their textbooks at all yet. If they had laptops, we might not need textbooks at all except for me to find possible example problems.
In the last several weeks, I have decided a few things about my classroom. I no longer wish to flip my classroom. Ultimately, a lecture is still a lecture whether students view it at school or at home. I have talked to teachers that have tried to flip, but students still don’t do their “homework” even though it is just to watch a video. How can you progress as a class? Instead, I have been implementing some Math Modeling lessons in Physics. Students conduct experiments to derive and discover the equations and relationships of nature. I have had varied success with this also, but I am improving.
My heart is still set on creating a program to assess student’s ability to reach learning targets and notify them of it. I have come up with a much clearer picture of what the program will look like and do. However, I lack the time or knowledge to create this program myself right now and am in need of a programmer to help me create it. Essentially, it will take data from tests to determine which learning targets students have achieved. Then, it will e-mail each student with the list of learning targets they still have not met and need to continue working on. This sort of communication is necessary for standards based assessment which is my ultimate goal.