Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Increasing Student Achievement: Anyplace, Anytime, Anywhere...

Technology in the hands of students - ubiquitous.  Students would rather catch on fire than lose their phones.  It is awesome to leverage that technology in an effort to increase student achievement.

There are so many reasons students don't achieve their potential.  And with class size pushing 40 in Edmonton high schools, it becomes exhausting and near impossible to connect fully with each student in your class.

Some high schools in  Edmonton Public Schools are piloting "High School Redesign" where credits are not tied to the Carnegie unit and there is flexibility in teaching minutes. This has allowed schools to incorporate built in "tutorial" time during the day.  This is a fantastic opportunity for motivated students to benefit from one on one time with their teachers. However, for at risk students, or students who are not so motivated, there still needs to be opportunity.

Learning doesn't only have to happen in the classroom.  Students miss class for a variety of reasons and having only the textbook as a resource can be intimidating for students.  Students are told, "if you are away you  are responsible for the work missed".  That statement bothers me on so many levels.

Really?  A teenager is responsible?  Sometimes, yes. But, most of the time,  not really.

To increase student achievement, we need to provide meaningful support for students.  If students love their phones, then put the lessons on the phones.

I have created three YouTube playlists; one for each class I teach.  It takes me less than fifteen minutes to screencast the lesson and upload it to YouTube.  Time well spent - it will save me time when I can't connect with the student face to face, and save students time as they can learn anyplace, anytime or anywhere.

My YouTube channels (still being developed) are for the Alberta Program of studies:
Science 10: https://goo.gl/pYE049
Chemistry 20: https://goo.gl/2waUar
Chemistry 30: https://goo.gl/N63rLn

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Power of Vodcasts

So far the blended model of the flipped classroom seems the best.

I create vodcasts of each lesson and then have the flexibility to use them as a stand alone lesson or a tool to manage absences, lates or otherwise. The vodcasts are simple, easy to make and periodically have some errors in them for the students to pick up on.  I only do one take as my workload this year is particularly large.  Furthermore, in Alberta, our class sizes have reached ridiculous sizes and are averaging close to 40 students.

Last week was our parent teacher interviews. I spoke to many parents who have watched the vodcasts alongside their child in an effort to support learning.  I hadn't considered that would happen.  The parents are happy to learn the science and help along the way.

I hope to continue building my library of vodcasts and try a true flipped class next year!

Check out my Chemistry vodcasts on my YouTube channel at
Chemistry Vodcasts Playlist