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Guest Post: Flipping the Classroom for a New Approach to Learning

This is a guest post by Amy Hunt, site administrator and assistant principal of California Connections Academy @ Ripon..

 

The idea of a flipped classroom, while a foreign concept to some, is gaining traction in education with its implications to improve learning outcomes.

 

Photo Credit: California Connections Academy @ Ripon

Photo Credit: California Connections Academy @ Ripon

Teachers and students throughout America are trying out this model in a range of settings – from brick and mortar classrooms, to homeschooling, and online school. Even families with children who are not currently learning in this way can find ways to incorporate this unique learning method in their own education. At California Connections Academy @ Ripon, we have implemented this technique into our mathematics coursework and teachers are finding the approach supports student learning, and improves students’ retention of concepts.

 

With the flipped classroom teaching model, students are presented lesson content prior to attending the class where that content will be discussed in greater depth. This gives students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with key concepts and content and have questions prepared for when they meet with their teacher and classmates. Class time shifts from teacher lecture (since concepts have already been introduced) to opportunities for more in-depth discussion and collaboration about the topic. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the benefits of a flipped classroom include improved test scores and student attitudes, which are a few of the reasons we’ve been exploring flipped classrooms to determine what works best for our students. A flipped classroom is also similar, and can further prepare students for the way curriculum is commonly delivered in colleges and universities, and allows students to use classroom and teacher time more efficiently.

 

Teachers in traditional school settings, along with homeschool instructors, can also use this model to enhance engagement with their lessons. Though not every subject works well flipped, we’ve found that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts lend themselves particularly well to the flipped classroom. Teachers of STEM classes also benefit from this model because they have more freedom to tailor the pace and focus of class time, based on feedback from students, following the pre-class assignment.

 

In our math classes using flipped learning, teachers typically record and send students a 10-20 minute video lesson that students are asked to view prior to attending a meeting with their class online. After reviewing this video lesson and completing any assigned pre-class work, students come to their online classroom session ready to discuss, and get any needed clarification on, the lesson content. Class time shifts from being teacher-centered to be student-centered.

 

For parents with children not currently in a classroom using the flipped classroom model, you can still incorporate this concept into your student’s learning. We encourage families to take a look at upcoming chapters and lessons, to acquaint themselves, and even create supplemental learning activities, as appropriate. Whether supporting a flipped learning plan delivered by their school, or integrating it into the home, here are some tips for parents to set students up for success:

 

  1. Get Connected: Exploring online resources dedicated to flipped learning can help families find strategies that work for their child’s learning style and skillset. The Flipped Learning Network is a good starting point for families looking for examples, books, webinars, events and more on flipped learning. If you’re an active Twitter user, consider joining the weekly #Flipclass chat on Twitter on Mondays at 5 p.m. PDT, to connect with others interested in the flipped learning model.
  2. Team Up with Teachers: Even if your child’s teachers are not working under the flipped classroom model, they are a great resource for insights on lesson plans and recommended activities to augment learning.
  3. Offer Hands-On Support: While many students may prefer parents step back, offer to assist. This encouragement will make them feel supported, and is a good way to see if another flipped learning method could work better for a particular subject or lesson.
  4. Keep Communication Open: In any new learning method, it’s always best to communicate with your child about what is working well and what could be improved. Flipped learning and any supplemental activities should feel helpful and worthwhile to your student, so it’s crucial to stay in tune with their thoughts and needs.

 

Just taking a few minutes out of each day to preview upcoming concepts and review those already learned can make a difference in rounding out understanding and committing concepts to memory. Besides the additional practice that flipped learning provides, this model cultivates a sense of problem-solving and ownership of their education for students – which is an important quality in both education and life.

 

 

Amy HuntAmy Hunt is the site administrator and assistant principal of California Connections Academy @ Ripona tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K–12 in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties. The school provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an innovative curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. California Connections Academy opened in 2012 and is authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District and fully accredited (grades K-12) by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). At California Connections Academy, Hunt enjoys working with a dedicated team of teachers and administrators to create a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education.

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in: @Curious Conversation on How to Raise an Adult #Parenting

Curious Conversation on How to Raise an Adult,

 

Now that my boys are teens, I realize one of the biggest challenges of parenting is not raising an child, instead it is raising an adult. Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, has a common sense approach to this challenge. This Thursday,July 23 at 6:30 PM PT Julie will share insights about how to prepare kids to be their best selves and raise them to be happy, healthy and successful adults. Best yet, anyone can tune in for free at Curious.com, RSVP to the VIRTUAL CONVERSATION. HERE :“Curious Conversation” with Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, taking place this Thursday, July 23 at 6:30 PM PT

 

Julie Lythcott-Haims has a relevant background to speak in this area:

  • Mother of two children
  • Worked as a lawyer for 4 years prior to becoming dean
  • 14 years total working as administrator at Stanford (Dean at Stanford Law School, Assist. to the President, Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising)

 

Here is the publisher summary of her book,”How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success”: In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success. Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings-and of special value to parents of teens-this book is a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence. Book published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright © 2015.
 

Being a parent in Silicon Valley, it’s especially difficult to not fall into the helicopter parenting trap. There is so much pressure on kids to reach unattainable goals in school academics and after-school sports. Some kids even kick-off their own tech start-up while still in high school (seriously!). Unfortunately, this leads to kids being over-scheduled and over-stressed, bringing tension to the whole family limiting the free time needed for them to develop  strong resilience and independence prior to leaving for college. When I read perspectives by Julie Lythcott-Haims on these challenges it is like a breath of fresh air, helping parents focus on what is really important. I look forward to tuning in for the Curious Conversation this Thursday July 23!

 

What are your biggest parenting challenges when it comes to raising your “adult”?

 

 

 

Summer Learning: Creative and #STEM Videos On @Curious

With summer around the corner, I already am wondering how I can keep my kids engaged in learning over the next few months. They enjoy learning from videos so I thought, “Why not find some cool videos for them to watch?”  The boys were excited, provided that the videos were interesting and engaging.

 

Curious.com is a website with a mission “to connect the world’s teachers with its lifelong learners”. They have a great selection of video courses in the categories of business, brainy subjects like math, coding, craft, food, health, lifestyle, music, photo and tech.  One of my sons wants to learn how to use Final Cut Pro X to edit videos for school projects and as a hobby. I found the course “Final Cut Pro X Tips for Beginners with Dion Schuddeboom” that can help set him down the learning path.

 

Curious.com videos learning

 

 

My other son wants to learn Photography and Photoshop. The courses called “Photography Basics with Bernie Raffe and Photoshop Tips for Beginners with Michael Gatewood” look like a great fit.

 

Curious.com videos learning

 

Listed below are more examples of creative and STEM videos for summer learning.

 

CREATIVE:

 

Hands-On Beginner Photoshop Projects with Chamira

 

Final Cut Pro X Tips for Beginners with Dion Schuddeboom

 

Photography Basics with Bernie Raffe

 

Photoshop Tips for Beginners with Michael Gatewood

 

Online Video Production 101 with Rick Davis

 

 

STEM:

 

Calculus I Essentials with integralCALC

 

The Ultimate Guide to Modern Physics with Es Einsteinium

 

How to Build a Custom Gaming Computer with Carey Holzman

 

Learn to Code Python Games with LearnToProgram

 

HTML in 1 Hour with 1HourAcademy

 

Evolution and the History of Life with Bleier Biology

 

SAT Math Essentials with TAPAprep

 

 

 

What summer learning activities are your family planning?

 

 

 

STEM Maker Projects With Tinkering Labs

STEM Activities: Tinkering Labs

Photo Credit: Tinkering Lab

 

While on a hunt for weekend maker activities for my 12 year old twins, I found a site called Camperoo which has weekend STEM workshops for kids. The event we went to was run by the team behind Tinkering Labs, which gives children aged 6-13 “affordable access to packaged Tinkering kits called Catalysts. Each Catalyst includes components, materials and tools that enable unlimited projects and discoveries related to principles in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)”. My boys and their friend were technology free and happily “tinkering” away for more then 2 hours. My twins and their friend each made a different design that all had moving parts (which is also why it is important for kids to wear safety glasses) . I was thrilled at the Camperoo workshop and how the Tinkering Catalyst kits keep the kids engaged in a STEM related activity.

 

 

The very first Catalyst that Tinkering Labs designed, prototyped and tested was “Electric Motors.” They have tested that with kids from the Exploratorium, the Boys and Girls’ Club and Stanford Design School to Girl Scout troops and schools around the San Francisco Bay Area. The activities related to using the Catalyst kit also supports teamwork by allowing kids to work together.

 

STEM Activities: Tinkering Labs

Photo credit: Tinkering Labs

 

 

CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN:

One of my goals of Techmamas was to support small businesses that are creating STEM activities for kids, so I asked Tinkerlabs for information on their crowdfunding campaign and story to share. I was also thrilled to see them bring their kids into the business:  a son of one of the founders made a presentation at the Maker Faire on how to encourage young makers. Tinkering Labs launched their crowdfunding campaign in April 2015 “Bring Tinkering into Your Home & School with Tinkering Labs”. Campaign perks include single Catalysts, multi-packs for use in schools and other groups, and donations to Bay Area schools in need and Boys & Girls Clubs. A percentage of all profits will go to the nonprofit Institute for Applied Tinkering.

 

 

STEM Activities: Tinkering Labs

Photo credit: Tinkering Labs

 

 

 

TINKERING LABS STORY:

 

STEM Maker Activities: Tinkering Labs

 

” In the summer of 2005, my friend Gever Tulley held the first Tinkering School camp at his house south of San Francisco.  He said he wanted to find out what would happen if he gave kids a big challenge, real tools, time to think, work and play, and just enough guidance to prevent serious injury. What could they get done? What would they learn? And how would it change the way they see the world and themselves?

 

So I volunteered my son Nik. He was the youngest kid there (6 when he arrived at camp, 7 when he came home). None of us had any idea what would happen.

 

A week later, the answer was stretched across Gever’s property in the form of a functioning roller coaster big enough for an adult to ride on. In the five days it took the kids to build it, they not only experienced a deep sense of accomplishment, but they also picked up some important 21st century life skills. Not just things like how to measure properly and use power tools safely, but skills that will help them face life’s inevitable challenges down the road: teamwork, resilience, creativity and adaptability.

 

Fast forward 10 years, and I’ve now seen the impact of Tinkering on thousands of kids.  As a board member of Gever’s non-profit, I helped him expand Tinkering School into many new programs and new parts of the country.  The Tinkering activities have taken many forms, but they are always centered around open-ended learning that is goal-directed but unscripted.

 

Kids need this. But between the electronic devices that mediate much of their experience, schools that emphasize rule following, and even sports and playtime that are organized by adults, many kids are not getting much practice working, playing, and problem-solving independently in the real world. By activating their hands and their minds, Tinkering helps kids develop the skills, knowledge and grit necessary to become the innovators their generation is going to need.

 

As much as Tinkering School has expanded, it can only reach a fraction of the kids that could benefit from it. So about two years ago I started brainstorming ways to make Tinkering more accessible.  After testing many ideas, I decided the best way would be to develop a series of kits designed to make it easy and affordable to bring real Tinkering to any home or school.
I wanted the kits to have a name that expresses that they are a starting point for kids’ imaginations.  And believe it or not, it was my son Nik, now 16, who came up with the name Catalyst.  So our first kit is called the Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst.  In November 2014 we started testing it with help from our friends at the Exploratorium, Boys & Girls Club, Stanford, and schools around the Bay Area.  And now we’re launching it with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.  We’ve already got kits going to 33 countries, and we hope they’ll help create the next generation of innovators.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Tinkering Labs Website

Tinkering Labs Crowdfunding Campaign 

TED Talk: Life Lessons Through Tinkering

 

 

 

How To: Mobile Photo Printing and MyPrintly.com Photo Crafts

I have always open about the dichotomy of being equally tech savvy and craft challenged. Even looking at the beautiful crafts on Pinterest makes me hyper ventilate..When I took the time to understand what caused my advanced state of craft issues, I realized that I just need simple steps to follow. Of course, when those steps involve technology that helps automate some steps, even better! When I was asked by MyPrintly.com (disclosure: my client) to create some videos with steps on how to use the HP Envy Printer to print from iOS and Android mobile devices, I jumped at the chance. Not only would I get the opportunity to do what I love (figuring out how to use technology) but also give myself the challenge of using the technology to do crafts..

 

Photo Crafts MyPrintly.com and Mobile Printing HP Printer

 

Well, not only did it help me start enjoying the art of crafting – but I can’t wait to create more photo crafts (I can’t believe I said that)..  

 

Below are video’s that show how to print from an iOS and Android device to an HP Printer  I used this amazing videographer and editor (my son Ben Blecherman). The videos include the steps we did to create our own version of the Photo Balloon Party Decoration craft I found on MyPrintly.com.

 

Step 1: Get Supplies:

MyPrintly.com Photo CraftsTo gather supplies I went to my local party supply store for balloons, a fun weight for the balloons (I picked a blue metallic party box style) and place card holder that I could put into the balloon weight. It does not really matter what the bottom looks like because it will be placed in the balloon weight.  I could only find heart place card holders in the wedding area of my supply shop, so I used them. Bigger party stores and online party sites may have basic place card holders that you can buy in packs of 6 or 12 at a time (to save money).  We made sure the balloon ribbons where long enough to also tape pictures onto the strings. The last supply was HP 4×6 Photo paper that we found at our local office supply store (but that can also be ordered online).

 

 

 

Step 2: Print Photos and Assemble Photo Craft:
 
I used the wireless features of my HP Envy Printer and my smartphone to send photos to the printer. Then we just placed the photos in the place card holder and taped photos the ribbons of the balloon.  Printing from my mobile phone saved time and enabled me to have more flexibility on the location of where I was printing. The video’s below show how to do the photo craft and mobile printing from an iOS or Android phone.  There is also a guest surprise appearance from our lovable Henry the Hamster.. Of course, he was the star of the show!

 

Mobile Printing with Harry the Hamster TechMamas.com

 

How To: Mobile Printing from iOS Device to HP Printer

 

 

 

How To: Mobile Printing from Android Device to HP Printer

 
 

 

What photo crafts do you want to try?

 

For more photo craft ideas check out MyPrintly.com   Here is the link to the for Photo Balloon Party Decoration craft found on MyPrintly.com.

 

Disclosure: MyPrintly sponsored the videos. Products were supplied for video production. This post is NOT sponsored, I am just sharing the crafting fun….