COLONIE 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.