Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

Changing the Technology Culture in the High School

By Todd Bloomer

during parts of the class. I miss out on some of the information. My teacher can’t always go back but during the videos I can go back and review them myself.”

Teachers realized that these recorded lessons could assist special education students, English as a second language students, and students that are absent. Science teacher, Eddie Hernandez, also realized the potential, and created a series of 10 minute videos for his classes.  He started slowly. At first he was frustrated when students didn’t watch the videos for homework.  It didn’t deter him. He believed that changes in the way instruction was delivered was the bigger picture.

“My goal is to get more time in class to visit with each student, allow a student to work at their own pace, manage their learning, and have more time for labs. I envision that I will have pockets of students working on different things, which is what leads to the differentiated class. “

Could we envision this as your classroom norm? Instead of lecturing in class, students watched a compelling preview of the online tutorial preview for their homework. The following day, the students that grasped the lesson would be able to move forward for more in-depth practice, there by enjoying the content.   

Sarah, a student at my school said, “This approach encourages students to learn more independently.”

Andrea, another student, echoed this same belief, “I’m a very self sufficient person, so once I see something one time I’m good to go. With this method, I am not held back by others.”

Other students will need the teacher to remediate the instructional experiences to clear up any  content concerns. This is accomplished by small group (students teaching students) or direct instruction by the teacher.

 Emily said, “I like it because you have the teacher available to help you in class.”

Sarah seconded  that, ‘” A lot of times, it seems like we learn the lessons in class and think we understand them until we get home and then we don’t understand how to apply the lessons to our homework. By flipping the class we are able to have our teacher and peers assist us in learning those lessons.”

Some students will not have watched the video and will need to watch the video during class. Either on their smart phone or a classroom computer, students could watch the video for the first time.

This classroom will also force students to analyze their needs. 

“My next step is to see if there is a correlation between their learning the material at home and processing in the classroom as it compares to their test scores.”

While on twitter, I asked my Professional Learning Network a question about assessment and flipping instruction.  I started talking with an AP Economics teacher at Grayslake Central named Jason Janczak.  During an email interview in February of 2013, he shared his experiences with the flipped model of instruction.

Jason has been flipping instruction in his classrooms for the past two years.  He made the change in how he delivered the content to his students because he was tired of his students “simply just memorizing and regurgitating information.” 

The flipped model allowed for his students to apply concepts, discuss how they can best apply it, and to allow his classroom to go from only one teacher to each student teaching and learning from each other.

He said, “Walking around the room and listening to the conversations made me an instant believer in the flipped room.  I quickly realized that those conversations would most likely not be happening had I just lectured the whole hour or set up my room in a teacher centered manner.” Mr. Janczak’s classroom is also demonstrating how the flipped model can increase scores on assessments.  Jason has three sections of AP Economics this year.  He taught two in a traditional teacher centered model and one section he taught with the flipped model.  The section taught with the flipped model scored 9% higher overall than the two sections taught with teacher centered discussion.   The class average was almost a full letter grade higher.

Sal Khan’s book, The One Room Schoolhouse, offers examples of increased levels of achievement of assessments with the flipped model.  The founder of the Khan Academy noted immediate increases in math scores in both the 5th and 7th grade during first year his program was implemented in public schools in California. His findings also reveal growth in previously disinterested students. 

In 2013, we don’t shop for presents, pay bills, or stay in touch with friends and family like we did 15 years ago.  Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch programs and social media sites are quickly replacing the newspaper with on-demand information.

It is imperative that we allow education to evolve in the same way.  Lessons with an instructional with meaningful emphasis are necessary to the meet the demands of high stakes testing.  Teachers who understand the value of technology to the students of this generation and can harness that technology for the purpose of instruction will thrive.  Ms. Villers is very lucky.  Most of her students have the latest smart phones.  While we understand not every student has the internet at home, we are striving toward programs and avenues for all students to have the same opportunities at home.  

And schools that recognize this new era will quickly and profoundly distinguish themselves from schools that do not. 

About the Author

Todd Bloomer is an Assistant Principal at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas.  You can follow him on Twitter @yankee_todd

He is the moderator of a Monday night chat on Twitter #wcpd at 8:00 PM Central Time. 

His colleague, James Barton, was instrumental in helping write this article.  You can follow him on Twitter @englishtchr1977

How do you feel about being available to your students for homework help via text message and other technology? Post your comments below.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 1st, 2013 and is filed under *ISSUES, September 2013, Todd Bloomer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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