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Technology turns teaching upside down

North Colonie students watching lectures at home, doing work in class

— Some would say technology is turning the education world upside down. And it would seem teachers in North Colonie Central School District are responding in kind.

Since September 2012, 60 North Colonie teachers have started dramatically changing how they teach their courses. Instead of the standard note taking in class and homework outside of class, they are making instructional videos for kids to watch at home and then spending the classroom time doing activities and labs based on the videos. It’s part of a teaching method called Flipped Learning.

Gary Cimorelli, the North Colonie K-12 technology instructional specialist, introduced the innovative form of instruction this past summer.

“We’ve bought enough equipment now, we have projectors, cameras, computers, but what are we actually doing with the technology? The big thing now is getting student engagement,” he said. “How do we get students more engaged?”

Using the Flipped Learning system, there is a constant connection between school and home, Cimorelli said. At home, students watch a two- to five-minute video created by the teacher and then the following day the teacher and students can work on problems together. It lets classes get straight to hands-on learning and allows students to watch lessons as many times as they want. If students have questions, they can come to come to school prepared or even email their teachers.

“They beauty of it is you have access to it anytime you want,” Cimorelli said.

At first, the district was worried if all students would be able to have access to the videos online. Cimorelli said it has not been a problem and students can also come into school in the morning to watch podcasts or use the school computers. There has been positive parent feedback with the new programs, he said, especially when it comes to the tougher elementary school curriculum, like the new Common Core Standards for Math.

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eliza527 11 months, 1 week ago

I have been listening to my son a 9th grader at CHS say he wishes that there was a better way to this. He does great on tests but when he gets to the homework cant remember what he learned, staying after school doesn't help because there is no one on one help. All he got was more and more frustrated with the whole school year. I have been in contact with the school psychologist thinking he had a learning disability, she says nothings wrong. Guidance just wants to scare you into colleges looking at your transcripts. I took him to counseling and he is so depressed at this point that he might fail, math, English, science and art(now a required class). So i got no help from the school and this is only 9th grade he still has 3 more years in this school. I think if my son went to north Colonie schools this year he would have probably hit the high honor roll or at least the honor roll like he used to in middle school. I don't know where the answers are if something doesn't change the way some teachers teach because they have a fear of change, I think my son and others will have problems learning enough. (These are not the bad kids that don't care because there are enough of those.) THESE ARE THE GOOD KIDS WHO DO CARE BUT ARE GETTING LOST IN OUR SCHOOLS BECAUSE NO ONE HAS THE TIME TO CHANGE THE WAY THEY ARE BEING TAUGHT. North Colonie schools has taken a opportunity to flip things up maybe all should follow. We all learn a different way why should schools only teach 1 way. Give every child that wants and knows they can do it a fighting chance to prove it.

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