Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Digital Classroom: The Ideal Plot

Every year, I spend a good portion of my summer contemplating the upcoming year. A lot of that time is usually spent working on my personal website, reworking lesson plans, and organizing files; however, this summer was a little different. Because I had spent the previous year piloting two amazing programs (StudyBlue and Edmodo), the new year was going to change the way I approached education. Edmodo would serve as my digital classroom (posting assignments, answering questions outside the classroom, and adding digital notes) and StudyBlue would serve as my digital media (outlines and flashcards for studying purposes). With the two combined, I had an arsenal that could sustain the full year if need be.

clip_image002_thumb4Internally, things will not change compared to years past. As normal, I will continue to nourish the development of independent, critical, and inquiring thinkers (possible future link to Independent Thinker BLOG). However, with a push for technology to be fused into the classroom, my secondary approach will be altered slightly. Knowing this, I was required to think more about the procedural issues over the summer as compared to personal productivity. Nonetheless, I want to develop a process that is easy to follow and tolerating for months on end. I recognize students appreciate consistency; therefore, I feel that simplicity will have to be the answer.

Thus, when students read (goal 1), I will have them do one of two things (goal 2): In math, students will handwrite their notes unless they choose to type them. In information technology, students will be responsible for the latter. Either way, some form of note taking will take place.

Afterwards, students will then be responsible for taking their notes and converting them into flashcards (goal 3) using StudyBlue’s interface. Preferably, students should upload their notes to increase efficiency (that means scanning if they handwrote them); however, I will not require them to do so. Assuming their notes are accurate, this will be the 3rd or 4th time in which they’ve seen rich content – imperative for the brain to start saying, “Hey! This material is important!”

Lastly, students are expected to study their flashcards on a routine basis (goal 4). This process will continue throughout the chapter helping students prepare for the chapter assessment. What’s more, I spiral all chapters; therefore, their personal resources will be crucial for each subsequent chapter starting with week 1. Within a few weeks, students should find their routine and I’ll add checks and balances along the way to avoid complacency.


Daniel Rothrock


Disclosure: Daniel is a user and Teacher Advocate for StudyBlue.

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