Podcast Response: BrainPop

I think I would definitely use podcasts for professional learning in the future.  After reading the article Enhanced Podcasts I thought it was really interesting the different ways that podcasts can be used in the classroom, across all disciplines. I really liked the idea of being able to create one and then e-mail it to parents as a sort of weekly newsletter and including student narration.

I watched the podcast EdGamer 104: Special Hangout with BrainPOP at ISTE 2013.  This was a really interesting podcast for me to watch because I have used BrainPOP before to find lesson ideas and things but didn’t know that much about it.  This podcast really walked you through what there is on the site.  I also found it interesting that BrainPOP is not just for elementary school students but it is can be used all the way through high school.  The main difference is BrainPOP vs BrainPOP Jr.  BrainPOP Jr is for K-3 students while BrainPOP is for students 4-12.

On both BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr there are a lot of cool educational games that can be found as well as videos and information.  The best part is that the BrainPOP educator section is free, so us teachers can have access to a lot of cool lesson ideas and things without having to pay to access them.  This site is linked to the Common Core standards as well as each individual state standards, including Canada.  When you get to the BrianPOP educator page you can search by standard, subject, as well as grade that way you will be sure to find content appropriate for whatever level you teach.

I also learned that on BrainPOP educator there are quizzes about many different topics, some of them teacher created.  Also, if you find a quiz but realize that it maybe has a question or two on there that you don’t want, you can edit it and only show the content that you want it to.  This way the students can take the quiz and you don’t have to worry about there being questions on there you don’t like.  On BrainPOP educator you can also create your own quizzes and share them with other people who access the site.  So it becomes almost like a social networking tool where you can create and share these different ideas with people.

On the educators page there is also a training section so if you are ever unsure of how to use BrainPOP best in the classroom this will help you.  After watching this podcast I went and explored the educators page a little further and found curriculum guides, lesson plan ideas, and a lot of other things.  There are videos, quizzes, lessons, games, and more on both of these sites.  I think they are both ones that I would like to use in my classroom in the future.

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Flipped Classroom

I read the article To Flip or Not to Flip by Stacey Roshan and published by edudemic.  I thought this was a very interesting article and I really liked how she outlined the reasons why she flipped and why she finds it so useful.  I think they idea of spending less class time teaching the material and instead spending the time doing what homework they would have for that night is really great.  It gives the teacher a better idea of what the students don’t get, and it gives the students the excellent resource that is their teacher during the time they are doing this activity this way if they don’t get it the teacher can help them.  I mean why have the students sit in class and be bored listening to a lecture when they can be getting the help that they really need actually working through the material, that is what is going to demonstrate their knowledge of it anyways.

I would also think that this might help with classroom management because the students get to work in groups to help figure out the problems.  This way they still get to talk and socialize with each other, but it gets to be about academics.  How is that a bad thing?  The article also stated that an increase in test scores was seen.  So if the students are learning better this way and the test scores are proving it then why not at least give it a try?  It does sound like it would be more work for the teacher but it sounds to me at least like it might be worth it, at least to give it a try.

I remember frequently going home and getting started on my homework, only to realize I had either forgotten all that the teacher had said during class or I really didn’t get it as well as I thought I did.  In some cases I would call a friend and hope that they understood it better than me but that wasn’t always the case.  This model would eliminate that problem.  Instead of having to go home and get stressed and frustrated because they have no clue how to get the work done, they can have the teacher be right there helping them to better understand it.

The only problem I see with a flipped classroom is that in some areas the students don’t have the technology at home to listen to the lectures.  In cases like this the teacher would have to be sure to know their students and the demographics of their classroom.  If a student does not have access to a computer at home, then there needs to be some kind of alternative for that student.  Also, students could have the same luck as me, that their computer breaks periodically, making it so they no longer have the access to the technology needed.  As a solution, I think that there always needs to be some sort of alternative to watching these lectures but you never know when technology can fail on you.

In the end, despite the technology issues, I think this is an idea that is at least worth giving a try.