Incorporating technology in the classroom is becoming more and more vital every single day. The presence of useful technology in the classroom is one way to make our job as teachers easier and more enjoyable. Properly using technology in the classroom is very beneficial for students as well. The possibilities of how technology can be used in one’s classroom are endless.
The idea of allowing students to use devices like computers, iPads, or video cameras in the school setting makes a lot of sense to me. Most children nowadays are able to efficiently use, and demonstrate to others how to use, most simple technological devices; especially phones, iPods, computers, etc. When it comes to dealing with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even teachers, students will benefit from using, as well as being able to explain and show their elders how to use these devices. It is believed that one learns something the best when they teach someone else, and that is exactly the opportunity that presents itself when technology is incorporated in the classroom.
One way of using technology in the classroom is the idea of flipping the classroom, or having students observe a video online which presents educational material for a topic. This is done prior to discussing the material in class, so that once students have viewed the material online, they can shortly discuss in class, then either do “homework problems” or activities to reinforce what they have learned (Musallam, 2011). There are many benefits as well as drawbacks of flipping the classroom.
The ability to use digitally annotated and narrated screencasts, like we’ve recently done in ED 483, will put any teacher ahead of the game when trying to incorporate technology in the classroom. This is one great benefit of flipping the classroom. Another positive of flipping the classroom is the ability of a teacher to differentiate instruction. Differentiating instruction for students is one of the most important things a teacher must do. Like Katie Gimbar explains in her video “Why I flipped my classroom”, the individual instruction that occurs with flipping the classroom allows for greater differentiation among students. Also, once in the classroom, teachers are able to group students together based on how they have interpreted and understand the material presented (Gimbar, 2011).
A drawback of flipping the classroom is how teachers could easily and habitually not do the work they should and becoming complacent and ineffective. I think about how easy it would be to just find videos explaining material to be covered in your class, and just have your students watch them and then do problems and make that your normal routine. Most would say this is not teaching and would be appalled by the idea of “sitting back and letting the students go for it”. Another drawback of flipping the classroom is the lack of individual communication and relationships between students and instructors that may result. I believe that any videos students watch must be made and narrated by their instructor in order for the flipped scenario to be beneficial and effective (Gimbar, 2011). If flipping the classroom is going to be a regular occurrence, a teacher must use their own videos created for their students, not another instructor that the students get to know better than their real teacher. I would understand if, in a bind, a teacher must rely on a video created by another educator to present material to their students. Once this occurs though, there is always the chance of a teacher just falling back on the resources available and not putting in the effort to make their lessons as beneficial as possible for their students.
I have a positive feeling about the idea of flipping the classroom, and I hope this feeling only gets better as I become an educator and can use this teaching strategy in my own class.
Gimbar, K. Why I Flipped My Classroom. Retrieved November 16, 2011 from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9aGuLuipTwg#!
Musallam, R. Should You Flip Your Classroom? K-12 Education & Learning Innovations with Proven Strategies That Work - Edutopia. Retrieved November 17, 2011 from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-ramsey-musallam.