Monday, February 13, 2012

Leading with Instructional Technology Post 4 (@NMHS_Principal)

With a very difficult and busy week, it was nice to take some time and sit down and watch some motivational videos.  With the first video on motivation, I tried very hard to view the rewards system from a teacher-student standpoint rather than an administrator-teacher.  It is easy to see how this would apply from employer to an employee, but how do we get kids to use those difficult cognitive abilities without performance taking a hit?

It is very interesting that the second video that was presented by Salman Khan talked about "Flipping the Classroom".  Just this week I was reading Eric Sheninger's blog "A Principal's Reflection" on that very topic.  You can read that article here.  In the article he talks about some chemistry teachers from Colorado who have completely "flipped" their classroom by recording their lectures and direct instruction and using those recordings as homework while using class time to work on projects that help support the videos.

The vast majority of classrooms, especially at the secondary level, expect all students within a class to learn the given material in one set, standard amount of time.  1:1 technology, combined with the power of the flipped classroom, frees us to allow students to complete material at a more individualized pace. 

While I do agree that a "flipped" classroom like this can allow for more flexibility and individualized pace for students who need it, it is important to always remember that technology is only a tool and not a complete answer to solve all problems.  While I am very big on using educational technology, I recognize that it is very important to have staff that is well trained in order to effectively use that technology in their classrooms.  It is also important to have staff that are willing to take the risk and try something new.  Others will follow when they see its benefits.  Shoving it down teachers throats will get you no where.  There must be buy-in in order to create an effective "flipped" classroom.  If the teacher does not believe that it would help their students, then it won't.