This is a guest post courtesy of Lisa Highfill, Technology Integration Coach for Pleasanton Unified School District in California. Lisa has been using the FrontRow Juno system since February 2014.
It’s a look that any teacher knows, the point where confusion washes over faces like a wave spreading across the classroom. What I’ve just explained is not making sense. When I ask “does anyone have any questions?” I’m not surprised when there isn’t one hand in the air. I’ve come to realize that many are not even sure of what it is that they don’t get, so how could they formulate a question about it? My view of this ocean of confusion is what convinced me to become a flipped teacher. I knew that what I had just taught would need to be heard multiple times before it truly sunk in. I also knew that for many, the way I just explained it didn’t make sense and they needed to hear it taught in a different way.
Creating a video explanation of a lesson and posting it for my students to view whenever they need it has become a lifesaver - for my students, their parents, and myself! The average elementary student needs to hear a concept multiple times before they can master the concept, and this number varies between all learners. My goal was to figure out how to reach the needs of 33 very different students at once. As a believer in student centered classrooms, I realized the answer was embedded in that philosophy. When I create lessons on video, students can access them as often as they want. They can rewind, fast forward, and replay as many times as needed. The key is that the student is in control and is able to differentiate and personalize his or her own learning.
So where do you begin? I started with creating videos for my math lessons only. For an elementary teacher, this was a practical place to begin. Every lesson didn’t become a video though. I chose to record just the lessons that I knew my students would need to hear multiple times. In 5th grade, for example, long division, subtracting mixed numbers, and multiplying mixed numbers were some of the most popular videos. They contain multiple step problems that my students would find most challenging. I posted the videos on our class website so students could access them from school or home. Parents loved the videos as well since they were able to support their child’s learning after watching the way I taught a concept. For those students who do not have access to the internet at home, they could watch the videos in classroom.
How did I create the videos? At first, I would create videos at home using many different apps and screen capturing tools. I would move from one to another in search of the proverbial glass slipper. And then I was introduced to Juno by FrontRow. I have been using FrontRow’s amazing speaker system in my classroom for years, not realizing they had a new product available that did more than amplify my voice. When it was hooked up to my computer, anything I was projecting from my desktop in the classroom could be recorded by me simply saying ‘Begin’. With voice commands, I could now record a math lesson in real time, without extra work. When I finished the lesson, all I had to say was ‘finish’ and the video was automatically saved to a folder on my desktop. All I have to do is upload them to YouTube or my Google Drive and post a link or embed them into my website and I’m done.
When it comes to creating an effective flipped classroom, it is most important to create a workflow that works with your personality, the classroom needs, and what will help student learning improve. I have explored various products searching for efficiency and am thrilled that my workflow has improved so much from using Juno. The time and energy I’m saving can now be spent creating lessons that help kids to explore and apply the concepts from the videos I’ve made.
About the Author: Lisa Highfill is a 19 year 5th grade teacher in Pleasanton, Ca. who has a passion for innovative learning strategies and actively works to share and collaborate with teachers, parents, and community members in order to improve the quality of education. She has presented at numerous conferences across California, sharing ideas to improve the way kids experience learning. Lisa is a Google Certified Teacher and a part of the inaugural group of YouTube Star Teachers. She is starting a new position as tech integration coach for K-12 in PUSD.
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