Have you heard about the new idea in education called "Flipping the Classroom”?
4th grade teachers Pam Lavender and Bridget Besgen at Scotland Elementary School are pioneering this new high-tech approach to teaching, and are thrilled with the results.
Rather than teaching a particular skill in class then sending the children home to practice it, "flipping" allows the teacher to present a short video lesson at home with the follow up practice occurring in school. This allows the teacher to supervise the practice and get a chance to see who really understands the concept and who needs more help.
The videos do not replace in-school teaching but allow the students to come into class already having some background on the new topic, allowing the teachers to maximize time in the classroom.
All the teacher needs to do is record a short mini-lesson (10 minutes) on a website called www.educreations.com. Once the students have created an account, they simply log in, click play and watch.
Teachers can build in gaps where the children are instructed to stop the video and practice what they have learned. Students who need more time to absorb a new concept can rewind and watch parts over again, while students who find a particular skill easier, can work at a faster pace and even answer bonus questions.
Both teachers have been using these videos to help prepare their students for math tests, particularly as it is easy to check which students have actually watched the videos.
Abigail Cahill says that her daughter Ella, loves the technology that she has been using and said “I think it has made a huge difference in making the learning "come alive."” Melissa Trippuzi agrees and says her son “Frankie has been excelling with this new way of teaching. We absolutely love it!”
The students seem to like hearing the familiar voice and style of their teacher, and test results have improved too. A number of parents have also been watching the videos to ensure that they are familiar with the methodologies being taught.
Ms. Lavender and Ms. Besgen both find the videos very easy and quick to make. Ms. Lavender said “The first time I made a video I wrote a script, but now I just speak as if I’m in the classroom, and because I record it on my iPad, I really can do it from anywhere”.
Both teachers see huge potential for the use of this technology in middle schools and in tutoring situations. They are more than happy to talk to other teachers in the district about how they could use educreations in their own classrooms. (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
Pam Lavender hasn’t stopped there and is always on the lookout for cutting edge educational materials. All students in her class are now required to do weekly typing practice as part of their homework. Having had three of her own children go through the school system, she believes that mastering touch typing can only improve a student’s time in middle and high school. (https://w.taskstream.com/ts/schippani/KidsSites)
Ally Rosenbaum decided to show off her newly acquired skills by typing her feedback “I enjoy Educreations very much. I like it because it is a fun way to learn new things, and it makes all the tests much easier”.
Ms. Lavender is also using her family connections to provide learning opportunities for her students! One of her three sons has recently started teaching 4th grade in Denver, Colorado, so the two teachers set up a blog for the students from both schools to discuss books they are reading.
The school is an inner city school in Denver with many ELL (English Language Learners) students who do not have the same opportunities or exposure to reading as the Ridgefield students.
The students recommend books to each other and discuss funny/interesting sections in the book. Ella Kagan said “We type back and forth - it's really fun because you get to type and talk to people you really don't even know, so it's fun to make a new friend.” Recently the students have been posting about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. After reading the online discussions, more of the Denver students have become inspired to read the series. As many of them are not yet ready to read the series in English, Pam has suggested to her Ridgefield parents that instead of buying her a holiday gift, they could put their donation toward buying a set of the series in Spanish to be donated to her son’s school!
It is amazing to see the new technologies being introduced to Scotland, which can only enhance the wonderful educational experience that they receive at the school.