Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Staci Weeks, Ridge View High School

Flipping Calculus 

Ridge View High School teacher, Staci Weeks did not want her students to skip a beat when she was out for maternity leave. Since cloning was out, she decided to go with the next best option--flipping. (Flipping is a form of teaching in which a teacher uses technology to teach content outside of class so that students have more time to practice what they have learned in the class. This allows a teacher time for small group and individual instruction.) Mrs. Weeks used a combination of Tech Smith’s Snagit software, a Smart Slate, and Edmodo to teach her lessons. She uploaded the videos to Screencast.com and to Edmodo so that students would have access to the videos both on and off campus. Students watched the videos for homework and then came to class the following day to practice what they had learned for homework. Students helped one another in class and asked questions on Edmodo. 

How did the students feel about the flip? Many would like this method to continue. One student said, “. . .The method of her teaching was rather enjoyable. While learning lessons at home, it was much easier to understand because I could rewind a lecture whenever I did not understand something and replay as many times as I wanted. Doing homework in the classroom allowed me to look to other students for guidance if I was ever stuck on a problem.”

Mrs. Weeks gives the following advice to teachers thinking of trying to flip: “If you're planning on flipping, know that it will be time intensive at first, but it will save you time in the long run.  There is a learning curve to making the videos, but once you get the hang of it, you can make a video in less than 15 minutes, and it saves you SO MUCH classroom time.  I didn't realize how much time I lost in a lecture due to small interruptions like administration calling for a student, small discipline issues that need to be addressed, waiting for a slower student to copy notes, or PA announcements until I actually started fitting 45-minute lectures into a 15-minute video.” Here is a sample of Mrs. Weeks Flipped Lesson.

Student Approved:
This way of learning was better than I thought it would be. If Mrs. Weeks wasn't out, it would provide a way to learn the lesson at home, and then ask questions in class if we needed further assistance. Virtual lessons also allowed me to pause the video if i needed to and rewind if i she was moving too fast or if i didn't fully grasp the concept. I am able to learn the material at my own pace. In the end, I think I would much rather learn through the virtual lesson, compared to the in class lessons we have now. I am glad I had the opportunity to experience something like this, because it might be a method of learning I would need to use in college”
C'Asia .

“During the time that she was out on maternity leave, we had a "reverse classroom" meaning she would teach the lessons online, which we would learn at home, then we were to complete the assignment in the classroom. Personally, I had mixed feelings towards this. Learning the lesson at my home was nice. I was able to stop the lesson and rewind it whenever I didn't completely understand anything which was helpful. However, I didn't like the lack of a teacher who knew the subject in the classroom. If I had a question about a problem, I would have to ask a fellow student or email Mrs. Weeks and wait for a response. I prefer a more hands on or personal experience. Although, if we were to continue this sort of teaching with the actual teacher present, I would probably prefer it over the traditional classroom standard of teaching” Haley.

“ I would first like to say learning from videos was a different experience and took some getting use to.
Learning from the videos was sort of the same as if learning in class.  An advantage was being able to pause the video to write down the slides and then listen to the teacher.  It was also helpful to watch the videos as homework and practice problems together in class with my fellow students.  The only difficult part was adjusting to the videos & any technical problems and being able to ask questions and have answers right away.  Overall I believe it was a nice experience and was a nice way to learn from the classroom atmosphere” Kiana.

“The virtual experience with Mrs. Weeks was remarkable. The pros of virtual AP Calculus are : Even though our teacher was not at school, we could stay in touch with her in terms of lesson plan.
We could replay the video. Thus if we miss something, we could replay and watch it. We did not have to worry about taking notes, instead we could focus on the material”  Shadman.

Staci Weeks has been a math teacher at Ridge View High School since 2007.  She loved math as a student and earned her diploma from the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics.  After a part-time tutoring job in college, she decided to pursue a career in public education.  She married while attending USC for a BS in Mathematics.  She has since earned a Masters in Teaching, also from USC, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Lugoff, SC.  The newest addition to her family, her son Jack, was born on November 1, 2012.