GUEST COLUMN | by Wendy Roshan
Before the era of smart phones, computers and digital blackboards, there was a time when teachers stood at the front of a classroom and lectured while students wrote notes with pencils. When the bell rang, teachers would verbally assign homework to students, and that evening, they would go home and work on the assignment. When I began teaching in the early 1970s, this was the kind of environment that defined classrooms around America, mine included. But a lot has changed since then, both for students and educators.
Gone is the old-school way of educating students; teachers can now communicate with students immediately through e-mail, exams and assignments can be handed in online with ease, and students can neatly type up their notes in class on their iPads instead of scribbling away on a notepad.
Like daughter, like mother
Like anything in life, change is difficult, inevitable — and an overall uneasy occurrence. As the times and technology were changing, I still insisted on educating my students in the way I was accustomed, while new teachers from a different generation were embracing new technologies. One of these new teachers was my daughter, Stacey Roshan, who is also a math teacher.
Stacey embraced new and innovative technologies and tools in the classroom. After learning about the screen-capture software, Camtasia Studio, Stacey began to record her lectures and assigned these videos for homework.
During class the next day, she would walk around the room and work with students individually. The flipped class model that Stacey was implementing created more 1-on-1 time for her to work with students and help them in difficult or confusing areas.
After watching my daughter apply this model to her own class (and some convincing), I finally decided to give the flipped model a try in my AP Calculus class. After using the model for one year, 80 percent of my students scored a “4” or a “5” on the AP exam.
Not only were the students enthused with the outcome, but they were also receiving more quality, 1-on-1 time with me, rather than listening to me lecture at the front of the room and being on their own with assignments at home. The new classroom format gave my students the ability to watch my lectures at their own pace, and pause and re-watch challenging concepts.
I’m hoping to incorporate the flipped model into all of my classes. Stacey and I spent this past summer recording lectures for Algebra II, which we are both teaching this year. Each video covers a lesson and is about twenty minutes long.
Camtasia has made the recording process surprisingly easy, as each video took us approximately one hour to tape and one hour to edit, a short amount of time considering all of the benefits that we and our students have already reaped.
Thanks to Stacey, I have learned how technology truly has improved the learning experience for my students. By replacing in-class lectures with at-home video lessons, students have thrived and become smarter and more relaxed learners.
This new teaching model has truly revitalized the traditional classroom setting. Instead of being excited to retire (which I was a year ago), I’m now excited to teach my students using the new great technologies that are available and watch the positive impact that it has on their lives.
Wendy Roshan is an AP Calculus teacher with 20-plus years of teaching experience, during which time she’s come to realize that she’s never too veteran a teacher to learn a new trick — and that mom’s can in fact learn a lot from their daughters. Write to: [email protected]