Flipped Classroom: Simple Machines

I’m excited that I figured out how to add a page to my blog tonight.  Now I will be able to post updates to my technology unit plan.  I added my flipped classroom video a little early for the sake of reviewing EduCreations.  **UPDATE 7/24: Check out my new page called Flipped Classroom to see how it would look for students.**

I decided early on that EduCreations would be my resource for creating the flipped classroom video.  I loved the idea of creating everything from the iPad.  Sometimes it seems overwhelming to sit down to create a powerpoint.  It probably is the same amount of effort, but, for whatever reason, I can actually picture myself sitting on the couch with my iPad to make future podcasts.  EduCreations feels more casual than other video production software.

Like anything new, there was a learning curve.  If you haven’t played with this app yet, then don’t let me scare you.  It’s more or less user friendly.  Adding text, voice, and images are a piece of cake.  It’s the editing that wasn’t as intuitive.  You are not able to move around the slides as in PowerPoint so there is a little planning involved.  Also, at first it seems like you can’t edit  a page/slide.  Don’t worry.  Use the left arrow button to delete.  I was a little disappointed that you can’t listen to your recording before you publish.  I was only nervous about this since it was my first podcast.  I admit I recorded it three times because I coughed in the first recording and stuttered in the second.  Finally, I was happy with the third.  As previously mentioned though, it has a casual vibe about it that would quickly diminish one’s need for overly perfect recording.

In the end, I would definitely use EduCreations often.  After you get familiar with the app during your first try, the future EduCreations will be a cinch.   I think it would be easy for elementary students to use too.  I will have my 6 and 8 year olds test drive it soon and report back.

One last thing to mention is the other application I learned tonight: Dropbox.  By downloading to your iPad, phone, and laptop, you can created one universal folder.  Another bonus is that EduCreations uses Dropbox in its pulldown box for adding images.  It was user friendly and I would use it in the classroom.


sugata mitra says, “schools as we know them are obsolete”

I started this week’s blogging assignment by watching Salman Khan, Let’s use video to reinvent education.  I recognized the name after watching the 60 Minutes segment on Khan Academy that aired 2012.  Back then, the idea of a flipped classroom was foreign to me.  Thanks to my technology class the flipped classroom is no longer foreign.  In fact, I get to create my own!

Although I enjoyed the TED talk by Salman Khan, it was Sugata Mitra who really piqued my interest with his School in the Cloud idea.  With his own instincts and numerous research projects, Mitra found that students’ natural curiosity can lead to self instruction and peer tutoring.  He created the “Hole in the Wall” project.  He set up internet ready PCs in trees, walls, and other unusual locations in very poor cities all over the world.  He also set up hidden cameras to watch children interact with the computers.  With very little instruction, he encouraged the children the use the PCs.  Although the were no teachers or guidance of any kind, over time the children were able to control the mouse, navigate the internet, and even learn English.  The children learned by trial and error.  Then they taught their peers how to use them.

His “Hole in the Wall” led to other research projects.  At the end of the TED talk, he encourages teachers to create resources for Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE), a learning lab in India.  He hopes to take this new type of classroom worldwide.

Mitra says in his speech, “schools as we know them are obsolete”.  Teachers are becoming mediators of learning.  Although I don’t see schools in my county becoming SOLE schools any time soon, I did learn a few things that are applicable in my future classroom.  Teachers need to let students take charge of their learning.  We need to ask open ended questions and then stand back and admire the answers that the students create.  So I will try to fight the urge to jump in with answers so the students have a chance to figure some things out for themselves.

An 8 year old’s first photo manipulation using Pixlr

An 8 year old's first photo manipulation using Pixlr

I really enjoyed digital storytelling and so did my children. My 8 year old daughter (Pictured above…She’s the head on the bottom left.) was especially intrigued by swapping heads in pictures. I was curious how she could navigate the Pixlr website. We sat down together at the computer. I modeled the first head swap for her with lots of detail. She asked a bunch of questions and then I let her do the next one. Watching her fumble through it, I realized how many steps there were to remember. I didn’t appreciate that as an adult creating my images. I talked her through the rest of the work and she was able to create this final image of her friends at a sleepover. She swapped each head with a different body. It took longer than I anticipated. She created a great first image, but I think she would need a few more attempts to become independent with Pixlr.

From this experiment, I learned that pixlr would be difficult to use in a big class. Younger elementary students would need lots of modeling and scaffolding to be successful. As a teacher, you would have to allow time for the various ability levels to become comfortable with pixlr.

I Blabberized my guinea pigs

I “blabberized” my guinea pigs which means I created a talking picture.  It’s a fun website with a few shortcomings.  First, it doesn’t have many options for sharing.  I wish you could share right to facebook, email, or text message.  It does give a URL link and an embed code.  That was the second issue.  I attempted to use the embed code in this post, but the embed code given on the website did not work.  It could be user error, but in this I-want-the-answer-now world I am already too frustrated.  I’m open to suggestions.  Make your own talking picture at Blabberize.

My signing guinea pigs

ToolZeit: Review of games and apps for the classroom

I have been watching podcasts on the ToolZeit channel on the EdReach website.  New podcasts are offered three times per week.  The hosts of the show review the latest games, apps, and other educational tools for the classroom.  Teachers will enjoy podcasts on this channel.  They are informative, yet brief.  The reviewers give a summary, list of pros and cons, overall rating, cost, and location for each game, app, or tool.

One podcast was called SkipMath.  The reviewers were giving their opinions of a new app for the iPad.  Students would use the game to practice skip counting.  One thing that they didn’t like was the lack of avatar options.  Students could add a picture of their face to a Caucasian boy or girl.  I liked that the reviewers offered suggestions to improve the app.  For example, they thought it would be better to have characters instead of people for the sake of diversity.  I thought they gave a fair review of the product. I would definitely tune into this channel for reviews in the future.

I think podcasts are a great for professional development.  Since joining Kappa Delta Pi, I been fortunate to see many fantastic webinars/podcasts.  I plan to continue using KDP and EdReach as a resource to enhance my teaching skills.

Response to “The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con”

I don’t remember if it was middle or high school, but at some point my parents weren’t able to help me with homework anymore.  I would cry in frustration that my teacher was not there to help me through the problem.  I needed a flipped lesson!  I could have learned new content for my homework and then worked through the problems in class.  Flipped classrooms allow for more one-on-one time with the teacher during the school day.  Teachers can spend less time introducing new content in class and devote more time for activities.

Mary Beth Hertz writes in The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con that flipped classrooms aren’t perfect.  Some students might not have access to the internet.  As an alternative, teachers can offer computer lab time or burn DVDs.  But burning podcasts to DVD is time consuming.  Reserving time in the computer lab can become a problem too if many teachers are implementing flipped classrooms.

Reading this blog showed me that, like most things, flipped classrooms should be done in moderation.  A great time is use them would be lessons that require a lot of hands on activity, such as science or math.  I will use podcasts to occasionally flip my classroom in elementary school.

Digital Storytelling

My children are 6 and 8 years old.  Having children in this age group has been so helpful in my journey to become an elementary school teacher.  You can be sure that any lesson plan, activity, or product I have created has been pre-approved my children.  I am happy to report that my group’s digital story, Slurping Beauty, got two thumbs up!  While creating this project, my mind was constantly thinking of ways to use what I have learned in the elementary classroom.  We used Pixlr to create the images, iMovie and google docs to create the presentation, and iTunes to add music.  We added personal touches by using our faces, voices, and sound effects.  I found the activity extremely engaging.  When I showed the video to my children, they immediately wanted to make their own video.  I will definitely be using digital storytelling in the classroom.  Students will have so much fun creating their stories that they won’t even know that they are learning….kind of like hiding veggies in my kids’ favorite foods!