Firstly, I must apologise for my absence from this blog over the past month, I have a note…but the Unicorn ate it.
Anyway, as I have delved deeper into Flipped Learning as a concept, I have become acutely aware of the sheer volume, and variety of technological learning tools (try the twitter hashtag EdTech to see for yourself!) that are being promoted on a daily basis. Many are great, and most are free too!
Opening this very pleasant can of worms has been a great exercise in realising the potential of technology to have daily impact on learning and especially on engagement, in our classrooms. Prior to flipping my classroom, I may have been guilty of dismissing these innovations as gimmicky and lacking in real value…I have since changed my tune considerably.
Whilst browsing twitter, if that’s indeed what you would call it, I came across the acronym BYOD. Now, I should preface this next attempt at humour and holding your attention with cheap laughs with some background info, I grew up in a town near Glasgow, Scotland where BYOD means Bring Your Own Drink!
In our case though BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. This could be any internet enabled device, like a smartphone for example, that most young people in our classes have anyway. I have found, so far, an excellent product called Socrative (will link soon!)
Socrative is a free product that allows students to simply join a ‘room’, so no login required – it’s is really quick and clean. The teacher can then pose questions in a variety of formats (multi-choice, true/false, short response) which the students can respond to in real time, seeing their responses displayed on the teachers screen. They can then vote on responses or simply discuss them collaboratively.
There are options, such as quiz sharing, that I have not got around to using yet, as the basic functions are too addictive to be honest!
The students that I have used Socrative with loved the potential for anonymity when offering answers. I felt a possible ‘way in’ to embedding a culture of trying without the fear of public failure that to a teenager, makes the four horsemen of the apocalypse seem like ‘My Little Pony”.
The world of Educational Technology truly is expanding at an exponential rate and we as teachers, need to critically select those resources that bring value to the learning experiences that we provide.
I’ll finish this post with a quote from Ken Robinson that is particularly apt:
“…preparing kids for a world we cannot predict using methods that we do not change..is alienating millions of children”
So go on…get the tin opener!