Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wicked Problem Part A

The educational need or opportunity
My wicked problem within the Saline Middle School is not being able to provide sufficient individualized instruction due to the 69-minute time constraint per class period.     Teachers can "flip" their classroom instruction, which allows students to view podcast lessons at home and receive individualized instruction with the teacher focused on clarifying the level of understanding when they return to class.  Our schedule is limited; therefore I need address this issue with instructional strategies and technological tools in order to successfully meet all the differentiated learning styles of our students. 

Your technology-integrated strategy
We have a lot of different technology available to our staff at SMS.  The staff would need to use any form of podcasting that they are familiar with.  They have access to Camatasia and Garage Band which is supported by our district.    Potentially, training would need to be provided to our teachers so that they are comfortable using the many tools they have available.  For our students, they would need to be taught how to access the materials that the teachers have provided.  They would have to know how to obtain this knowledge inside the school and outside the school day.  The awareness of Google docs, moodle, weebly, webcasts, blogs, tweets and more would have to be understood. 

Logistics of a solution
Podcast, Screencasts, Flipped Classrooms are examples of solutions that can be used to help provide more time for the teacher to work with students one-on-one or in small leveled groups.  Removing the lecture time or time needed to instruct students and use that time to check for understanding and deeper learning.  Most teachers spend a could portion of their 69 minute class period instructing, thus leaving very little time to check for understanding. 

 Research, which supports your strategies
There are many sources that can help support this approach.  Dan Spencer from the Jackson, Michigan ISD put together a very comprehensive resource guide “Flipped Resource Guide”.  Khan Academy is another strong resource. 

Also, having the teachers track their data in their classrooms with the use of their common assessments.  Comparing their student’s scores prior to turning their lessons to online learning and using their class period to dive deeper into individualized student learning. 

In Saline Area Schools we use a database that collects all our assessments and tracks our students from the time they enter Saline Area Schools.  Also, our teachers can provide soft surveys to their students and parents to gather feedback on their experiences. 

A plan based on research for implementation, indicating the portion to be completed during this course and after it is over. 
Over the next few weeks I plan on providing training time for the staff to learn about the instructional technology tools they have within each classroom.  They then can develop at least one podcast lesson to be placed online for the students to view or listen to.   Then they will be expected to utilize their classroom time for working with their students on the lesson taught the previous night.   The advantage for the teacher is to create online libraries where students and parents can have on-demand access to class content that is rewindable and reviewable. 

We need to identify the technical pieces that will help with this initiative.  We would also need continued support from our tech department.  The use of I-pads, Camtasia, Elmo projectors, Epson projectors and classroom computers will be accessible. 

Indications of a successful project
This idea will be successful on many levels.  For one, this is an opportunity for teachers to maximize their 69-minute classroom instructional time.  Secondly, the teacher can get off the stage and begin to engage more individually with their students.  This will enable them to get to know each student and understand how he or she learns best, therefore differentiating their teaching.  For the student learner this will provide an opportunity to learn at their own pace and timing and climate.  In turn, being able to have individual attention with their teacher to ask questions, clarify lessons and explore deeper learning. 

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