Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Technology - The Rate Limiting Step

Edmonton Public Schools eliminated all curricular consultants during the spring of 2013. The Alberta Government was allocating less money to School Boards so consultant positions were deemed unnecessary.

I got to go back to the classroom.

To be honest, I was excited to try flipping my classroom and couldn't wait to start creating vodcasts.

When studying kinetics in chemistry, it is the slowest step of a series of chemical reactions that determines the overall rate of reaction- otherwise known as the rate limiting step.  This idea of rate limiting step will serve as an analogy to the success of my flipping journey.

I assumed that I would have a classroom with a SMART Board, easy access to Youtube, students with easy access to the internet, maybe a document camera and a webcam.


I have a blackboard, whiteboard, projector that projects onto the whiteboard, Youtube that must be downloaded as the bandwidth can't manage the giant population of the school and no webcam. I do have a wireless mouse, keyboard and really great tech support if I need it.  I also have access to two class sets of Chrome books, two sets of laptops and two sets of net books that I can book out in advance.

I  have 35 students in each of my classes with almost no room to get around to each student. And the students are in desks of which I can't pair as there is a bar one one side of the desk making it impossible to get in and out of. So the idea of group work - a necessary part of flipping -  is physically challenging.

So, how to flip?

I've started slowly with the creation of a student website that includes Google Doc notes particular to each class I teach. I used to have an overhead projector and Google Docs represent a 21st century version that allows students access even if they miss a class. However, this is not flipping at all. Students help generate the notes during classroom discussion, however I struggle with the notes as science doesn't translate easily on the keyboard.

At this time, my classes are teacher directed but I engage students with many hands on activities where they are showing me what they know. But I know I'm not getting to every student in every class every day and that is bugging me.

So, how to flip?  The reality is that students need to have equal access to the technology to watch the vodcasts.  If they don't have access then I need to find a method for them to access them.  Will they seek out the technology and watch the vodcasts on their own time?

Rate limiting step!

In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to try to flip some lessons. Is the access to technology going to limit my success?

Welcome the catalyst of change.


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