After reading the Tech Crunch article “Can Technology Transform Education Before It’s Too Late”?, I was a bit shocked and surprised. Shocked that there were 15 comments in less than 3 hours and 40+ comments in a span of 24 hours. Clearly the topic is popular. What surprised me was the vast spectrum of comments ranging from arguments between the importance of how and what is taught, lack of focus on critical thinking and need for tools that facilitate retention, lack of parent involvement, and the need for a influx of social media to correspond and collaborate. Some felt technology was a tool and others cited technology-driven innovations like Khan Academy as the answer.
Mobile Devices are a Game-Changer: While I do agree how and what is taught is integral to student learning and achievement, I have to say that mobile devices (especially the iPad/iPod in particular) are a game-changer… paired with purposeful instruction and meaningful application. They are the vehicle for personal, differentiated, and global learning. So how do we leverage these devices to effectively meet the needs of all of our learners?
Katie Gimbar says it better than I can: Why I Flipped My Classroom?. While she does not focus on the iDevices as a vehicle for flipping the classroom, one can see how these devices could easily support delivery of content (and later… application).
Now, How Might this Look in a Real Classroom? Let’s let Aaron Sam’s classroom serve as a model. (Also check out Katie Gimbar’s explanation: “What Does Your Classroom Look Like Now?”)
Now what are the road blocks to this initiative? What if a student doesn’t have access to the videos? What if a student doesn’t watch the videos? Who creates the videos? How are the videos created? Again, we will visit Katie Gimbar for the solutions!
What About Students with No Access?
What If Students Don’t Watch the Videos?
Who is Creating these Videos? If a teacher doesn’t feel he/she has the time or expertise to do so, Khan Academy and other sites have wonderful video libraries. However, Katie Gimbar (and myself included) feel the best author for change is the classroom teacher.
The next question for me… How are these Videos Created/Produced? Katie (through her video series, I feel a unique familiarity with her… so perhaps we can be on a first name basis) chooses the Flip Camera and white board as her tools of choice. Others may opt for an iPod with a camera, an Avermedia Document camera (and/or A+ interactive software), the SMART recording feature built in to SMART software, or Camtasia Studio (Aaron Sams’ and Chris Groff’s choice), an iPevo, or even screen-casting tools like ShowMe, ScreenChomp, and Explain Everything. Choose a tool that is familiar to you and a tool that will deliver your content in the most appropriate way.
In closing…can technology transform education? No, not technology in it of itself. BUT, technology can be used to support initiatives like “flipping the classroom”, differentiated instruction, and personal learning. Utilizing these technology innovations is the key to empowering teachers to impact student learning and in doing so…transform education!