I've been teaching computer art at a public high school for 15 years. I've always taught the way most teachers do: stading up in front of groups of students and leading a discussion, demonstrating, or lecturing. Two years ago I started recoding short videos of me teaching almost all the content for one of my classes. I now have students interact with these videos at their computers to learn about 80% of the curriculum. They like this method, because they can control the pace and order of what they learn. I never realized what a tyranny it was making an entire class of students learn the same thing at the same pace. But here's where it gets really interesting from a human interaction point of view. The other 20% of the students' time is spent giving and receiving peer feedback and collaborating on projects. But even more transformative is that I now spend 100% of my instructional time moving among the students and having conversations with them about their work. Most of those conversations are structured--they are required to get my feedback at regular intervals. But many are also spontaneous. The side effect I hadn't realized is that I'm actually getting to know my students more than I ever had before. They're asking me questions face-to-face that they never would have asked in front of a whole class. I'm also becoming more familiar with their classwork, and sometimes their thoughts and ideas about the world. It's transformed my view about how technology might actually enable me to practice the art of teaching in a more personal way. Educational theorists have shown us for a long time that real learning--which hapens when a student links a new idea into their exising network of existing ideas in order to understand the world a little more--often happens during a one-on-one conversation. In my classroom I'm beginning to wonder if technology might actually help create a learning environment where those kinds of teacher-student interactions might be more possible.
More information about text formats