Saturday, October 6, 2012

STEM education...and flipping

 I have just returned from a STEM education conference and have become rejuvenated with my thinking about how we approach learning in the classroom.   I have always been an advocate of integrating math and science since my early teaching days....but the implications of technology have always made me a little weary. 

I mean....let's be honest....sometimes I feel like all kids do these days are sit in front of video games.  Why should we continue this at school???

After this conference, my ideas have....FLIPPED.....It's not about mindless video games and instruction...not skill and drill computer games....but instead using technology to enhance our understanding of problem based learning.

I have a million ideas running through my head...but the first BIG idea I walked away with is the idea of "Flipping" our classroom.  Have you heard of this concept? It is not new...but it is not really being used....YET.

This idea is all about introducing content AT HOME through the use of podcasts, screen casts, and/or youtube videos.  Students can sign into a teacher selected site and find the pre-selected video, etc.. for them to watch for homework.  Why?  Well......let's face it....our kids are distracted at school.  At any given time, we truly only have about 60% of attention on our content presentation...I was watching my students just this week as we explored a brainpop video (pretty engaging, right???).  There were a few kids glued to the screen.  But the majority of the class were looking elsewhere their shoes, at the fly in the air, out the window, at their friend, at a get the picture.

So instead, why not have them watch the same presentation at home where they are NOT distracted by friends, flies, etc..???  Then come in prepared for a discussion and then...more time for application!  That's right...without the 20 minutes of introduction into the content we would be able to get right into experiments, projects, products and hands-on learning.

Educators are always whining about TIME.  This, perhaps, just might give us more....time.

Want to learn more???  So do I!  As I find more information I will continue to blog about resources, ideas and application.


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