A reflection about rethinking my own pedagogical approach and integrating emerging technologies

I enjoyed thinking about using flipped learning this week because it was something I had purposely avoided in my work; there have been many times that program participants ask me if they should take something home to “finish” and I usually tell them that it is always an option but certainly not required.  I’ve been in non-profit, social work frame of mind for a while so access to time, resources, and support is something that is always a priority for me.

As I was reading about flipped learning and contemplating how that would take place in my programs, I realized that there was a potential for it to be effective but that I would certainly need to shift my thinking and spend some time figuring out the best fit.  I can certainly see the benefit for participants who have to miss the program for a day or two; this doesn’t necessarily set them back but they miss out on learning about content that might be valuable to them.  It could also be helpful for all of the ESL students that I have worked with over the years, to be able to review video or audio on their own time and to feel better prepared for our activities at the next program session.

I was eager to read other blogs to see which emerging technologies my peers would be interested in trying with their students.  @Becca1Doyle and @racheledehaan shared concerns about access outside of the classroom for their students if they integrated flipped learning; I listed some strategies that I thought would be possible but might need to be adapted to their own unique circumstances.  Some of those I mentioned include using resources at public or school libraries that students could access, gradually developing their own skills at flipping their instruction, using audio instead of video, starting with content that was “easier” to learn or review and gradually moving into more complex topics and skills.

@BarbaraUlroan had many of the same concerns with MOOCs; I suggested adapting the concept of MOOCs to what technology was already available in her school.  Since they have internet access, using websites or blogs might be easier for bandwidth than video streaming or web conferencing.  The potential is there and I suggested researching other similar communities who share the same concerns and restrictions to get ideas about solutions that would work.

@lw693lw693 wrote about adopting or utilizing all emerging technologies for students who did not succeed in traditional learning environments.  I have my own opinions about these traditional learning environments but that’s another category of blogs.  In short form, I think the traditional learning environment needs to evolve and improve to include these students rather than pulling them aside to apply alternative or emerging strategies.  I understand that there is potential for emerging pedagogies to meet the needs of certain students but I felt that it was asking a lot of classroom teachers to be able to integrate a range of emerging technologies.  However, I have been writing over the last couple of weeks that I believe its teachers that play an important role in figuring out where these emerging technologies and pedagogies best fit into the learning environment of schools, so the more that teachers can integrate them into their practice, the closer we will get to adopting them and taking them off the “emerging” list.  And finally, I was intrigued by

@mandibekker’s blog because she mentioned the need for resources that help students learning difficult concepts in math.  It seems each teacher is always looking for their own resources or not quite finding a good fit and making their own versions to use with their students.  I responded that it seems MOOCs could be a great way for students to learn with others in an engaging and challenging way.  Now as I think about my response, I think it works better for teachers to host their own MOOCs by similar interest in pedagogy, grade level, or content to share some of the great work they have done but to also solve common issues related to their teaching practice and strategies.

I hadn’t thought about MOOCs in my own program too much this week, but besides flipped learning, that might be the other emerging pedagogy/technology that I would explore and try to integrate into my practice.

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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