Digitalization: A Way to Strengthen Education
| Juan Sanmartin - 16 Mar 2022

After two years of suffering from the COVID-19 global pandemic and several lockdowns, we have learned to live differently. As for teaching, this has meant a big technological challenge, new methods, and new ways to interact with our students by using digital technology.

 The current situation has given a boost to this reality that technological society has required. As for the autonomous community of Galicia, where I work, a “Plan Digital” based on the Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu) will be implemented in the following year 2022 - 2023 - The European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu), which is a scientifically sound framework describing what it means for educators to be digitally competent.

 Many teachers (and I am just one of them) have worked hard for the last few years to be professionally competent and to update our skills so as we can offer our pupils more technological teaching, more in tune with their digital environment. This also means a new way to interact with students and my choice was The Flipped Classroom to accept that challenge because the typical roles in the teaching/learning process can be changed.

 I teach Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry in Secondary Education and during my first school teaching years I developed a large amount of material and I also compiled the works previously created, publishing them online for free on my web: documents, exercises, presentations, videos, etc... This material, along with specific training needed in the methodology I was going to work with, allowed me to start the project that I will describe hereafter. This Project has grown, developed, and improved with time.

 The Flipped Classroom methodology reverses the process of teaching, freeing the teacher from explaining during class time and allowing the students to use that time in the clarification of doubts or resolution of problems. The pupil ensures a higher level of compression because, in the end, the teacher has more time within the classroom to solve the doubts of the students.

 The platform I use is Google Classroom (Google Workspace), which allows me to interact with the students and the collection of data for continuous evaluation. A proposal for the development of a unit in the subjects I teach would be the following:

 The start point is a previous session, outside the classroom, where I primarily use the tools EDpuzzle and Perusall depending on the material provided, video, or text, respectively. EDpuzzle allows me to share my videos with clarifications or questions where the students have to interact. The master class is outside the classroom. With Perusall, I use the text as a reference and I enrich them with questions. These two tools are very useful to assess the initial understanding by the students and give me fantastic feedback.

 The work of the teacher is essential and is shown in the classroom as the role of the teacher changes from being master-class support to a companion in the performance of the tasks which promotes learning. Student performs the tasks within the classroom with the guidance of a teacher, who solves their doubts as they arise, and proposes new tasks or challenges. Activities (for instance) on a sheet of paper with exercises or by using the tabs for interactive “live worksheets” (made by the teacher) allow the work within the classroom and show the degree of learning achievement after the initial session outside the classroom. These exercises can also be performed with such tools as Google Forms, or any other tool for questionnaires. As for me, I normally insert an explanatory video for those who need it.

 The idea is to get data in the teaching-learning process to be able to visualize the progression of the students and interact with them when required. We can approach the process of student understanding, we can expand or reduce the number of activities according to their characteristics and adapt them to their needs.

 Games introduced as a part of the learning process have proved successful for me but to do this I’ve had to select material or elaborate it. Quizizz platform allows me to see how my students are competing among themselves solving questions related to the issue we are working with: they play while they learn and they learn while they play. In addition, I have developed a series of games on the platform Genially that help the students to review and reinforce the contents. In these games, divided by levels, a keyword has been introduced to the game any time a student reaches a higher stage. That change of level helps me to know the degree of acquisition of the objectives on the part of the student.

 To end a unit, I usually make a global assessment of this unit or several units along a school year. These assessment tests are usually written or online, and they are related to the evaluation criteria outlined in the schedule. I often use “Socrative” for online tests because this tool gives me a test result with a final individual document.

 If the issue we are dealing with requires individual work, a project, or a presentation, the students are given a rubric, assessed by the “CoRubrics” tool.

 Although the development of most units normally applies to what has been explained up to now, the process of teaching-learning is dynamic. Some details or aspects can be modified, some new tools introduced, etc. But pupils must always know how they are going to be assessed and they should be aware of the process.

I’m Juan Sanmartín. I’m a Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry teacher at Vila do Arenteiro School, in O Carballiño, Ourense (Galicia-Spain), where I’ve been teaching for the last 23 years. I’m the creator and manager of a resource web of my own, www.juansanmartin.net (only Spanish version), with license Creative Commons.

 I’m also the author of various articles about education and digital tools, international lecturer on active methodologies such as   The Flipped Classroom, an innovative teaching approach that I have implemented and I’ve been using in class since 2014.



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