So, what’s the buzz on supporting online instruction?
Like many of you, several of our teachers started the new school year wanting to broaden the way they instruct their students. Here are a couple of examples of teachers who have successfully flipped their classrooms or used online techniques to give their students feedback.
The flipped classroom concept is simple: instruct students when they’re not in the classroom and use face-to-face class time to support them and give them resources. One of my talented social studies teachers is doing just that. She has created instructional and informational videos that her students read and view when they’re out of class. She and I have worked together, experimenting with different ways to get information to kids. We’ve tried using Vimeo, the new Educator channel on Youtube, Schooltube, and screencasts straight from her MacBook—and she provides her outside-the-classroom students with links, assigned readings, and instructional videos so that time in the classroom can be used to support students doing homework or assessment projects. The results have been fabulous! She’s seen her students engaged and interested and parents have been extremely positive, too.
For quite some time now, our English teachers have been having their students submit work through Google Docs. Several teachers use it to give their kids feedback (thanks to a great blog post by Amy Mayer). We use a combination of Google Docs, Jing, and Screener to give students feedback on their assignments. Here’s how it works: students submit their work to Google Docs, and then their teachers read and assess it online and record their evaluations on a screencast. Teachers then post a link to the screencast on the Google document so that kids can review their comments. If you have SMARTBoard software, this process is even easier with SMART Recorder.
Don’t forget, as librarians we have opportunities to use these techniques, too. In fact, much of our instruction can take place outside the classroom. Consider making videos to show your students how to use databases, create citations, evaluate websites, and avoid plagiarism. You can post these videos to your website so kids can access the information whenever they need it. Even if you’ve already presented this information in the classroom, students will still find this additional reinforcement extremely helpful.
Make sure to post your work in a visible location and link it widely. Consider using new tools such as Mentormob and the new Google Course Builder to post your pathfinders and videos. Online instruction can play an increasingly vital role in your teaching. Consider trying one of these techniques today!
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