To Flip or Not to Flip? That is the Question!

The Flipped Classroom or Flipped Learning has been a buzzword in education for years. This popular pedagogical model reverses the traditional elements of lesson planning, where listen to the lecture outside of class and complete assignments inside of class. Educators at all grade levels are using this valuable strategy to develop engaging lessons, collaborative learning experiences, and learner-centered environments; however, does this model work for ALL students?

Challenges of Flipping

Think for a moment about the challenges that Flipped Classroom videos create. We may spend hours designing the most engaging and groundbreaking video; however, we may create unintentional learning barriers for hearing impaired students, students with visual impairments, and even students without Internet access.

Here are some basic ways that you can flip your classroom and meet the needs of your students:

Helping Hearing Impaired Students

  • Where you publish your video can make all of the difference. YouTube’s advanced speech recognition features provide automatic closed-captioning on many published videos. Although it is not a perfect solution, it helps students with hearing impairments understand the video.
  • If your school does not permit YouTube, you may want to consider providing students with a transcript of the video. Whether they are hearing impaired or just need to read while listening, this is quickly becoming a popular method in how online courses are developed.

 

Helping Students without Access to Technology or the Internet

Even in the 21st Century, there are many students who do not have access to the Internet at home for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, religious beliefs, and even parental choice. Here are some ideas to help:

  • Community building is an important part of creating a learning environment. As part of your getting to know you activities, survey students at the beginning of the year if they have technology and Internet access.
  • Rather than alienating the students who do not have technology or Internet access, it may be a good idea to have help ALL students come up with a “back-up” plan if their device breaks, the Internet goes down, or they don’t have access.Help your students find places such as the library, a friend’s home, or a coffee shop.
  • Have a USB flash drive with the video for students who have a computer, but no access to the Internet.
  • Ask parents and students to help create a borrowing library of old devices, such as old cell phones, iPods, etc. If students do not have technology, the can borrow the device and watch the lesson.

 

Conclusion

Should we scrap this highly popular way of learning? By no means! Instead, we need to direct our attention not to designing experiences that work for students regardless of ability or disability. In other words, we need to look at ways for universally designing the flipped classroom to work for all students. When planning a highly impactful and engaging use of technology, it is important to plan for and address the needs of ALL students.

 

About Matt:
Matt Bergman is currently a Technology Integration Coach at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA. He is responsible for helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms, while providing ongoing professional development throughout the school year.  Matt has designed several graduate courses on Universal Design for Learning for teachers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. He is a member of CAST’s Professional Learning Cadre and recently developed a five-hour online professional development course on UDL for teachers in Florida. Matt has made presentations at Harvard University, ISTE, Towson University, and Clarion University. For more ideas or questions, please feel free to check out his blog, follow him on Twitter @mattbergman14, or contact him at mattbergman14@gmail.com

SCRATCHJR: CODING AS AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO MULTIMODAL LITERACY

 

ScratchJr is an introductory programming language application designed for children ages 5-7 to create interactive stories and games. Both ScratchJr and its big brother, Scratch, designed for users ages 8 and up, were created by MIT Media Lab to teach coding to children. ScratchJr is a free app for both iPad and Android tablets.

In ScratchJr, users put programming character blocks together that are interactive and move, jump, dance, and sing. Users can edit voices and sounds, including adding their own voices, and they can even insert their own pictures to make the blocks come to life. The goal of ScratchJr is to make coding fun and a part of students’ literacy education.

According to the creators of ScratchJr, “Coding (or computer programming) is a new type of literacy. Just as writing helps you organize your thinking and express your ideas, the same is true for coding. In the past, coding was seen as too difficult for most people. But we think coding should be for everyone, just like writing.”

ScratchJr has an innovative approach to literacy as the goal of ScratchJr is to encourage children to create and express themselves via coding. Writing via code allows students to “write” interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations. They begin with planning, rough drafts, editing, and finally publishing as they share content they have coded. Not only do students move through the creative process, they are also given opportunities for problem solving skills, sequencing skills, and math and language skills. Students are constructing meaning through coding, and as ScratchJr states, “children aren’t just learning to code, they are coding to learn.” This multimodal approach to literacy and learning gives students the opportunity to take learning to the next level and create such things as animation, virtual tours, simulations, PSAs, multimedia projects, interactive tutorials and stories.

ScratchJr offers four projects students can work on. However, in addition to providing projects, the app also offers manipulatives, such as printable coding blocks, an animated genres curriculum, which has three modules: Collage, Story, and Game, a playground games curriculum in which students can recreate popular playground games, and activities that reinforce the Common Core standards, including upper and lower case letters and counting.

ScratchJr provides children an interactive, multimodal approach to learning coding as well as offering practice of highly transferrable literacy and learning skills.

Sources:

ScratchJr – Home. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2015.

Shapiro, J. (2014, August 6). Your Five Year Old Can Learn To Code With An IPad App. Retrieved September 9, 2015.

Why Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Why Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom

I get asked a lot why should teachers use augmented reality in their classroom.  Augmented reality is not a new concept, in fact it has been in use in a wide range of industries for over 10 years. It took a dreamer who developed interactive coloring sheets and flashcards that popped out 3 dimensional objects geared towards kids before teachers even thought this tool was even useful.  Some professionals still even think it is just a toy. Crayons, Legos, Tinker Toys, Candyland, and dice are all toys and you can find them in most elementary classrooms. Kids learn best when they play, it is a proven fact.  Which is why teachers and parents turn toys into engaging tools.  When you are actively engaged you are learning.

 

Using augmented items in the classroom engages students beyond a worksheet, textbook, or even a video, and opens the door to endless possibilities.  Boeing even announced during the AWE 2015 conference that augmented reality improved training for its employees.  The employees did the task 30% faster with a 90% accuracy over the employees that only were allowed to read a PDF.  Augmented reality is even being used in operating rooms to monitor patients. Workers on oil rigs even use augmented reality to help service the rigs.  The military uses augmented goggles to receive important information in the field.

So when I am asked why should augmented reality be used in classrooms the answer is clear.  The use of augmented reality in classrooms prepares our children for their future today.

There are many companies that have seen the impact augmented reality has and are developing their own tool to stake claim in the land of AR so to speak.  Everyone has different needs so the tool or tools you decide to equip yourself with will depend on your needs.  Quiver, Color Alive, and Chromville have some pretty cool interactive augmented coloring. I use the pages as writing prompts with my students. I also use these pages to help teach students how to revise their writing.  If you are new to using augmented contented the coloring pages would be the avenue I would take to get started. There is also the tortoise and hare coloring pages from Arloon.

Daqri has also developed a few augmented tools such as their 4D Elements blocks and their 4D anatomy both are great if that is the content you teach.  Kids love holding the gold block and watching compounds come together.  I even used the 4D anatomy to show how a heart valve works.

For me it is about creating my own augmented content. There are a few companies that allow you to create such as Layar, Blippar, Daqri, Aurasuma, and Aug That. Each ones has their own platform and what they specialize in. When you are picking out a pair of shoes, you are going to with a pair you feel comfortable with. Same idea when picking out a company you want to use to create augmented content.  I suggest you try them all out and get a feel for them.  Then use the company that best fits your needs. Each one of use has different needs and different comfort levels.

Daqri’s platform as well as Layar and Blipper will allow you to copy, paste, and insert digital content.  Unless you blog or share your creation in some way no one is going to know what you have created.  For me I love to share and create content for others. I find it a challenge and a reward at the same time, so I needed a platform that would allow me to do just that.

Adam Newman the Founder of Aug That also had the same idea. Teachers make the most amazing and engaging activities and they need a place to share with one another, so he developed the Teach Connect. Teachers can send the trigger image to Aug That along with the augmented elements and his staff will do their magic and create the augmented experience.  The reason for his staff creating the augmented experiences is one to make sure the content is safe for kids. The other reason is to make sure each and every time your trigger gets scanned your intended content is what is received.  They also want to make sure your trigger is a scannable trigger. Nothing is more frustrating than putting all your time into something and it doesn’t work.

What I love best about Teach Connect is the sharing.  It is a community built for teachers and soon there will also be one for students. If you are needing an engaging activity on DNA to either enhance a lesson or as a introduction you can go to the Teach Connect and download it.  It is already for you and your students to use.  The community is constantly growing so I am sure there is an augmented lesson or activity just waiting for you.

Aug That not only has the Teach Connect they also have tons of augmented animated lessons already made along with tons of 360 degree environments and 3D models. They are expanding their augmented curriculum and services, I can’t wait to see where they go.  I love how they have really built their company with the focus of education at all levels.  They are not in the field of marketing or making toys, they are solely in it for education.

 

Why use augmented reality in the classroom, because we are preparing our students for their future today.

~ Katie Ann Wilson