Social networks and mobile phone applications are a great opportunity for a type of teaching that depends on proximity and empathy as a means to encourage learning. The whole network formed by Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc… configures a cloud where leisure is very present and, with the adequate tools, permit using them as a pedagogical tool without any possible resistance from the student. On the contrary, it creates a comfortable and recognizable landscape for them.
I’ve been in an Art History teaching position for over 20 years. One of my main objectives has been to motivate my students to learn and enjoy the subject, while making them aware of its presence outside the classroom. Like many others, I started by using presentations, showing lots of images in class and trying to broaden their minds. Since the integration of technology, my capacity to motivate and help the students to generate and acquire knowledge has exploded for the better.
Some time ago seeing a mobile phone in class was a big problem for me and created distraction and conflict in the classroom. Today, however, I see it as an indispensible tool for my educational activities and for the students themselves, both inside and outside the classroom. Another aspect that made me rethink my way of teaching and educating has been to understand and apply the “Flipped classroom” method or inverted class.
The “flipped learning” method, in a global and comprehensible state, is simple. The students are informed that they need to view a video outside the classroom as an introduction to the unit that is to be started in the following sessions. We use a tool, Edpuzzle, which is useful for teachers because they can have absolute control in this online activity that the students are doing. Watching the videos several times is recommended to fully understand them. Being users of Youtube or Vimeo, as two examples, they don’t need many instructions.
To get a better idea about “Flipped learning” the website “The Flipped Classroom” can be accessed, the great Spanish and European benchmark.
So that the students can have a better understanding, the site also contains complementary activities and tasks, some of which must be done individually at home, while other activities are done in class as a group.
In the session after watching the video, questions are asked and resolved in class to ensure complete understanding. In addition to this, teachers have the option to ask for the tasks from the video in writing, with which they have a complementary tool for evaluation.
Seeing as the teacher already has prior knowledge, and is aware of the goals to be reached on the specific piece of artwork and artistic style that will be done in class, the objective is achieved through the dinamic of working in a participative manner, and the teacher becomes a moderator withing the debate or discussion.
We can’t educate in the 21st Century the same way we educated in the 20th Century. We must take advantage of emerging technologies to improve education. Of course, new apps and tools that go on appearing in the market every day can help a lot. All we need to do is practice with them, assess positive and negative impact, and then use them in class. However, the teacher’s intervention is needed to achieve the vital objective. We are not simply managers, we are also pedagogues that adapt learning in the society that sorrounds us. And now mobile phones and networks are exactly that. Let’s take advantage of their positive aspects.
(Translated into English by Inéz Sardín Clarke)