It’s been a long time since I posted here. November’s been busy, busy, busy at school and at home. But I decided that I have something worth sharing today, and if you’re a student or a teacher, it should have a positive impact on the time you spend at school.
Last night I came across ipad4schools.org, another blog here on WordPress, which I’ve decided to follow because of the wealth of information I found there.
The post that really caught my attention is the one called “iPad guides“, which has some fantastic ideas on using iPads to engage students in their own learning at a depth I rarely see in schools. The post includes a number of PDFs, which you can print for a class or library bulletin board. They’re visually appealing and easy to understand, which means they’re likely to actually be used by the intended audience – students and teachers. I’ve already posted 3 of them in my room, and this afternoon’s last-period grade 10 class will begin experimenting with a few of them. This should be fun and educational!
Yesterday I was searching for some content to help my 10th graders gain a deeper understanding of the mole concept, when I got distracted. Like really, really distracted. I started with the TED-Ed video asking “How big is a mole?” and ended up spending about 2 hours adding video lessons to all the units I teach: plant physiology, the solar system and deep space in grade 8, physics energy transformations and evolution in grade 10, as well as every single topic in my Environmental Systems and Societies class.
These video lessons are great for flipping my classroom, which enables me to introduce new concepts or content on students’ own time and use our contact time together to push their knowledge deeper. If you haven’t heard of flipped classes or blended learning, check out these hyperlinks for a basic introduction to the idea. Using Google Classroom and Drive are a big part of the blended learning experience my students get in science. I think the graphic below neatly summarizes what I’m describing.
Back to TED-Ed: Each video lesson contains a brief series of activities which scaffold students’ learning. There are some comprehension-check questions in the form of a brief “Think” quiz, some additional resources in the “Dig Deeper” section to promote further exploration and higher-order thinking skills, and some lessons also include a “Discuss” section including guided discussions with other students around the world. Overall, I think it’s a pretty cool way to learn, and it’s much more engaging for tech-savvy kids compared with my lectures and/or presentations in class.