In the past, trying to differentiate instruction in a tech class was almost impossible.
Take for example, teaching my fourth grade students how to edit their newly recorded podcasts in Audacity. I could only go as fast as the slowest student, because I didn't want to leave anyone behind. "Okay everyone, let's add music to our podcast. Under "Project" select "Add Track." I would say. Then I would have to go around the room and help those students that were now lost. Meanwhile my tech-whiz students would just sit there bored out of their minds. This kind of instruction was not working, two or three students were holding up the entire class.
Then the idea of a flipped classroom came along, where the students learn content on their own and get help from the teacher later when they are working on their skills. But the thought of making all those screencasts of the steps involved made my great idea fade. I just do not have the extras hours that doing something like this would take.
If only I had some screencasts...
I chewed on that for a few days when it suddenly hit me -- I use screencasts all the time to learn new tech skills. My school has a subscription to Atomic Learning for our teachers, but I didn't see any reason why I couldn't use it for my students. So I had the guys at Atomic Learning set up a generic log-in for my students and then assigned them the Audacity lessons that they would need to do their U.S. Constitution podcasts.
Boom baby! Instant differentiated instruction by flipping my classroom with Atomic Learning screencasts. Besides, there screencasts are way more professional than I would have done. Now my students can go as fast or as slow as they want when it comes to building new skills. My tech-whiz students now just pick and choose any video tutorials that they might need while other students will watch the same tutorial three times until they get what it is talking about.
Now I can spend my time "working the room," helping students one on one without slowing down the whole class.
- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School
Below is one of the U.S. Constitution podcasts that my students made.