Do I need to walk before I run when revolutionising my teaching?

Recently I accepted a part-time position in a new ‘virtual’ school with the NSWDEC, Aurora College. I will be teaching year 11 Chemistry to rural and remote students who may not be able to access this subject through their home school. This is both exciting and daunting at the same time.

I had been moving towards a flipped style in my classroom but this year I stepped out of the classroom to try an admin role on for size. This has really sharpened my online presentation skills. The team I work with covers a massive area effectively most of NSW from the Victorian border up to Wollongong in the East then up to the Queensland border in the North West. About two-thirds of the state. We use online presentations methods to share across this space. I have learned a lot about what not to do by making a whole lot of rookie errors.

Now I have to do this for students as well. The potential has me really excited and I have incredibly high expectations of myself. I think it is an amazing opportunity to transform my teaching and be innovative. However, my biggest worry is when things get rough, and I’m under the pump. I will revert to what I’ve always done. I don’t want to be delivering comprehension style worksheets via the Internet. (Not that that is what I do in my classroom now)

I’ve been doing some research on flipping, blended classrooms and mastery learning. I have also been reading up on the SAMR model. I don’t want to just substitute. I want to revolutionise my teaching. But am I putting too much pressure on myself? Do I have to start with substituting and build up to revolutionary lesson design? Do I aim for the stars and be happy to reach the troposphere?

If you have any advice I’d love to hear it.

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2 thoughts on “Do I need to walk before I run when revolutionising my teaching?

  1. Josh November 18, 2014 at 10:38 am Reply

    It’s a tough one, but I’m going to say that you should just go with things and you will adapt and survive one way or another. The best screencasts I have ever done have been first-attempts, not quite off the cuff but close – just an analogy but you should just jump right in I reckon. May I suggest you look at schoology.com as a tool to build connectedness with your students (plus will be more efficient to house videos, quizzes, documents, etc) and to leverage collaboration and other online pedagogies. Some people take small steps – had a laugh today with a maths teacher who genuinely does his best to incorporate technology: showed me his hand-scribed notes from 2007, then the following year he had used the promethean board to hand-scribe them again, the year after there was evidence of different colour use, the year after he used portions of typed text – just an example of some people who progress/adapt but in small steps. Good luck with it all.

    • jenglish2013 November 18, 2014 at 10:44 am Reply

      Thanks Josh. Sage advice. My problem has always been wanting too much too soon!

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