Many years ago, and by that I mean 2011, I entered the world as a connected educator. The summer of 2011 I was new to Twitter and trying to make sense of all I was learning. I took the time to determine what I felt was the most important instructional change I planned to make, and I decided to flip my classroom. I chose to make short videos that hit on the math concepts we were studying, and then upload them into a content management system for my students to access at school, or at home, to watch. The next day we could have large and small group discussions around the content, rather than whole group instruction. It truly made a difference in how my classroom could be differentiated. With a short formative assessment, I knew if my students were showing mastery from just the videos, which needed more revisiting, and which would benefit from small group instructional support in addition to the videos. It was the first time I felt I had a truly differentiated classroom, reaching each student as needed. I left the classroom after that year, and today I sit in a different role, but I always reflect back on that time as the experience that taught me the most about technology integration for bettering my instructional practice.
Fast forward to our present day 2017. Much has changed in 6 years. Resources, understanding, assessment, technology growth, and teacher leadership are just a few that I can name. It seems so simple, but at the same time, it really isn’t as easy to transfer that knowledge from 2011 Mrs. Vandergrift, to present day, digital literacy Mrs. Vandergrift. I have looked at so many tools and found that in the grand scheme of it all, what teachers really want, and really need is one stop shopping. Yes, we are looking for the Amazon on instructional leadership! We are looking to grow, yet not having to spend countless hours on multiple platforms just to get the ball rolling.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the opportunity to see the six-year difference in content area instructional creation. My early days included sneaking up to my room with my then infant asleep next door while recording videos. Using the ShowMe App, I recorded the videos and then did a short written and oral based assessment. I would like to think I was quite cutting edge back then. Now, I see this in a far simpler way. Today a tool like Classflow enables me to do all in one place. I can create, or even use an existing published and shared lesson, build that into an assignment, and in one stop learning, my students have access to media lessons, and on the spot formative assessment. This Groundhog Day Lesson I shared could easily be embedded into an assignment rather than run as a classroom lesson.
The best part is that you can choose the way you want to deliver. Changing the way we deliver instruction, and teach children will always be evolving, but one thing stays constant, knowing the best delivery tools is key to keeping your sanity in this ever changing educational landscape!