IPad Integration – Journal Entry #1

I specifically remember having the conversation with my wife that Flipped Learning was a “fad that will come and go like so many other trendy things we try to sell in education.”

It seems that crow is best for eating, and I am dining happily.

I am reading a book, Making Thinking Visible (Ritchhart, Church, Morrison) and I am pleasantly surprised to find a fresh perspective on thinking and how we can enhance student learning by assessing students on the way they think rather than what they know. Sure, this topic has appeared frequently in the last few years; however, the approach taken in this book has me thinking about thinking in new ways…and inspires me to do more.

I have begun to analyze my curriculum in order to estimate just how much of it facilitates only associative or emotional learning rather than meta-cognitive or strategic learning. I am revisiting each day’s lesson to find ways to stretch the minds of my students to reach what the authors of the book describe as the “greater awareness of the nature of thinking” (17). The first two levels are achieved by most classrooms, while the last two are not often reached because of ineffective teaching methods or simply because of student immaturity, i.e. the kids are ready for higher level thinking.

The reason I am intrigued by this book is because the authors’ research has led them to recognize that thinking and understanding does not occur in a linear fashion, as theorized by Bloom’s Taxonomy. Rather, thinking occurs in an active, free-flowing version of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Where Bloom’s is a stair-stepped approach to understanding, the authors of this book stress that thinking is fluid and can attain any of the four categories mentioned above depending on how the instructor coaches his students to do so. Asking open-ended questions, encouraging observation, facilitating collaboration to build strategies to approach a problem all help students gain comprehensive understanding of a concept.

I believe I can take this theory and improve my classroom. Especially with the class time real estate that flipping will provide (in theory). In the past I left the journey towards understanding in the hands of my own students a little too much, sitting in the back seat of the suburban rather than the front passenger seat. I will always want them to drive; however, it is clear that middle school minds need further prodding and herding towards meta-cognition and strategic thinking. Technological integration will allow time and pace for this to happen, as long as I structure the overall program correctly.

As I complete the format of the class, I will post more. I have not come across too many life-experience blogs regarding the art of integrating IPads or flipping classrooms, much less doing the two of them together. So keep reading, this should be a wild ride.

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