Educating through larger talent pool
Center for School Change
Both national and local talent is being used to help Caledonia and other Minnesota students gain the benefits of on-line videos. That’s good news for students and a compliment to teachers who continue seeking new ways to help students learn.
Jane Morken, interim Caledonia Elementary principal pointed to Amy Wild, a Caledonia High School math teacher, as a person who is developing on-line videos for use with her students.
Ms. Wild explained that Caledonia teachers also are using “on-line” from a company called “New Dimension Media.” Their videos “have real-world examples for discovering algebraic concepts,” (and) “also show how algebra is used to solve economics, social studies and physics problems.”
For her pre-calculus class, Wild is “working on video lessons and the possibility of conducting a sort of flip classroom approach. By flipping the classroom the instruction would be watched on a video outside of school and they would work on assignments and get individual instruction while they were in my classroom.”
However, Wild notes, “due to technology issues and other complications, I haven’t yet been able to make them accessible to the students yet. The process is ongoing but I am having issues with finding the best procedure. I am not comfortable jumping into this and trying to learn on the fly, so I have been taking the time to make sure everything is working prior to starting this type of delivery.”
Wild is wise to take the time to “get it right.” Keith Lester, Brooklyn Center superintendent, has seen examples of “flipped classrooms” and told me, “It is an excellent way to motivate kids who are “digitally natives.”
Jeffrey McGonigal, Anoka-Hennepin’s associate superintendent for high schools also pointed me to HippoCampus, which has literally hundreds of free videos that educators, families and students can use. www.hippocampus.org/myHippo/?user=myMnLC
This is part of the Minnesota Learning Campus website, a joint project of the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota State College and Universities System, and the University of Minnesota.
McGonigal described a number of things that district is doing with videos, some commercially created, some created by teachers. http://anoka.k12.mn.us/education/components/docmgr/default.php?sectiondetailid=287038&catfilter=30687#showDoc
The district and its teachers have done a very good job of developing videos that explain a vast array of topics. The value is that students can view these before a lesson, thus giving the teacher more time to help students practice the concept, and obtain individual assistance.
For an entirely different approach, check out a video by Minnesota Transitions, an inner city charter school that cleverly focuses on negative numbers. It’s called “Don’t be Negative,” and is found at vimeo.com/35905316
Finally, West St. Paul Sibley High School teachers sent several videos they have created. The first helps explain how they are replacing word problems with video problems.
Sibley teachers also are helping students make their own videos illustrating physics principles. A basic learning principle is if you can explain something to others clearly and accurately, you know the subject well.
In talking with people from more than 30 districts and charters, I saw enormous creativity. Here’s hoping that we’ll see more sharing of teachers’ best work.
Joe Nathan, a former public school teacher and administrator, directs the Center for School Change at Macalester College. He welcomes reactions, email@example.com