How it all started…

So just to give you all some background information on me…

I started teaching back in 2006.  I taught at an after-school academy in Korea to students that ranged from Grade 3 all the way up to Grade 12.  This academy was very advanced in their technology, offering blended learning and on-line tutoring during non-instructional hours.  I immediately started looking for more ways to improve and advance my effectiveness as a teacher.  But I was shut down very quickly due to the prescribed methodology enforced by my employers.  That’s when I decided that it was time for me to come back to Canada, apply to teacher’s college, and try and start a career here as a teacher.

Despite the bleak future of the teaching profession (ie. lack of jobs, large pool of certified teachers, mandatory supply work, LTO experience before being offered a contract postition), I decided to go for it anyways.  I applied to teachers college, was accepted, graduated, and was offered a position as an occasional teacher in 2010.  So then started my career as an intermediate teacher.  

Because technology was something I was comfortable using and learning about, I was quickly pegged as the “techie” and was embraced (or shunned) by my colleagues.  Really though, I was not at all comfortable with using technology, but just comfortable asking my students for help.  This really made the difference in my comfort level with hardware and software.  When I didn’t know, I asked!  Very simple…

So I started my tech experience using the Smart Board.  I fumbled about for a few months until I was able to use it proficiently.  I realized at this point that if there was someone else that is creating the lessons, why should I bother making my own.  However, I did end up making quite a few lessons to fit the needs of my students.  I used OERB and Smart Exchange for most of my lessons to use on the Smart Board.  This got me though my first few years until I was comfortable using the Smart Board.

Then came the blogging and wiki-ing with my students.  I used Blogger to start and PB works as a class wiki.  My students found it cool and neat as all new software and apps are, but then the novelty wore off and I was stuck with two websites that were rarely used.  This was until Edmodo…this website looked and felt like Facebook!  I still use it today.  The kids were immediately engaged and I successfully used this for two years (and currently) for many different things.  Using this site was successful in the fact that the students took advantage of the collaborative nature of the site and were happy to log on and use it for their learning.  The classes took on a more self-directed model and the lessons were more focused and engaging for the students.  

But, I was still looking for more.  I wanted to have more of a focused class and work more towards inquiry-based learning. I reflected on my own academic career and remember how University was structured.  You would be given a syllabus at the beginning of the year and would be expected to complete the readings that were assigned prior to attending the lecture.  I remembered that I would have no clue what was going on if I didn’t do the readings and would zone out during the lecture.  However, if I did the readings, I was captivated throughout the lecture (well…depending on the prof).  So this gave me an idea…I started assigning the reading prior to the students coming to class.  This failed miserably because the students didn’t do the homework because they knew that they would be taught it in class anyways.

So I thought, maybe if there was something on Edmodo they would be more inclined to check it out.  So I started with some articles and some questions.  This got more students to prepare for class, but still it wasn’t 100%.  Then I thought about videos…they wouldn’t mind watching something, as long as it was engaging.  I looked up topics on Learn 360 and found the videos to be boring.  So I looked to youtube and was blown away at the amount of videos available on all different subjects!  You can literally find anything you need, for any subject, and for any grade!  I posted my first video on Edmodo, and I got 100% homework completion.  I was shocked! Students that normally wouldn’t even bring home a pencil were doing homework.  To my surprise, I found out that what I was doing was not new.  There were people everywhere around the world doing this same thing.  It was pegged as the “Flipped Class” and I needed to know more.  

So here’s where we begin…on this blog…

I want to log all my experiences…good or bad…all the workshops, apps that I use, conversations with colleagues, student discussions, and different perspectives I encounter around the “Flipped Class”.  I hope that this journey will help you through yours and that you will share your experiences so we can learn from one another!

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