Technology is changing our world at an exponential rate and educators face the daunting task of preparing students for future jobs we can’t even imagine. A great challenge facing educators today is that students have information accessible to them, on demand, 24 hours a day and many schools lack the proper tools to help them navigate this access to full-time learning. The cost for digital tools has largely been a limiting factor for education. Today, with the free and open software movement increasing, and hardware costs decreasing, educators are finally able to move beyond these cost barriers.
Digital education resources are now becoming more cost effective than traditional methods. Free lecture videos, apps, simulated labs, and tutoring services, like Khan Academy, have revolutionized the teacher toolbox. Access to digital tools, such as YouTube, allows educators to deliver quality content to students via devices such as Chromebooks, which are available for as little as $150.
At the center of this movement is the “flipped classroom”. A flipped classroom is one in which the traditional lecture, normally presented in the classroom, is instead presented at home via a device such as the Chromebook. The traditional homework practice, usually done at home, is instead done in the classroom, along with more interactive and teacher-guided activities. The flipped classroom allows for blended learning with ideologies once thought impossible to achieve.
When students view a lecture as homework, they can do so at their own pace. They can pause, rewind, and take necessary time to process the information; all of which is difficult to do in a classroom setting. Teachers in class then have more time to work with students in small groups or one-on-one to work on practice problems. The flipped classroom gives the teacher the ability to cater to each individual’s needs in a realistic time frame.
Damien High School recognizes the benefits of using technology to enhance our curriculum and has identified the Chromebook as our 1:1 tool of choice. Teachers have been training and exploring the different digital tools to enhance our strong academic programs and are excited by the new opportunities to customize each student’s educational experience.
Charity Trojanowski, Science Faculty and Project Lead the Way Coordinator, Damien High School