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November 16, 2011 10:01 PM

Changes In Teaching And Learning

Sioux Falls, SD

It's no surprise that teaching and learning in the classroom has changed drastically over the years, especially with the introduction of technology, that often times have turned the teacher into the student.

Sitting in class, listening to the teacher, is the typical educational experience we've all had.

But, in today's classrooms that might be one of the few similarities to years ago.

"Everything has changed from how we take attendance to how we keep track of our grades, to how we present material to how we give tests," O'Gorman Math Teacher Ken Lindemann said.

Lindemann has been teaching for 22 years. Today, his lessons are largely computer based, a big change from over two decades ago.

"22 years ago, at the beginning of class, you grabbed an attendance slip you wrote down who was missing, you stuck that on a door, you stood at the front of the class and described things and you wrote down in chalk what you were talking about," Lindemann said.

His teaching is now chalk free. The black board that turned into the white board is almost obsolete as well, with the introduction of the Smart Board.

"There's more prep time involved, I can't just stand up there at the board and talk about what I want to talk about anymore, it's got to be prepared ahead of time," Lindemann said.

"I went from using a whiteboard for everything to now if I use a white board it means technology isn't working," BJ Keppen, also a math teacher at O'Gorman, said.

Keppen started teaching just over seven years ago. He's also noticed a change his teaching style.

"I’ll use laptops, PowerPoint’s, different software programs we have almost daily," Keppen said.

One teaching style that’s changed is how information is presented, it used to be you'd sit at your desk, listen to the teacher talk, and then go home and do your homework, well now some teachers have flipped that.

"I really feel they understand the material more, it's a better change for them to learn everything from the standpoint of a traditional classroom, they do the homework at home, if they get stuck they don't have anyone to ask," Keppen said.

Keppen instead puts his lessons together and then records himself using a Webcam and a microphone. The students watch his lecture outside of class from a computer. Class time is then used to answer questions.

"He basically does what every other average teacher does, but we watch on the computer," Anderson said.

Senior Katrina Anderson wasn't sold on the idea of the reverse classroom at the beginning of the year, but is now getting used to it. She says it takes more time outside of class, but gives her more opportunities to understand the material.

"It makes the class a little more interactive with Mr. Keppen, we're able to ask questions in class," Katrina Anderson said.

Back in Lindemann's class, his teaching with graphing calculators, and computers, while a bit different, is also giving kids a different way to learn. That he says is helping them excel.

"These kids are at a level studying math where I was at the end of my second year of college, they just get so much more," Lindemann said.

But, while the advancements in technology have helped students, it does pose a few problems for Keppen and Lindemann who haven't always been around it.

"We have to help them a lot," Anderson said.

"One of the great things has been you learn so much of the technology from the kids, I can't tell you the number of times I stand at the front of the room and say now how do make it do this, and they say oh hit that button," Lindemann said.

An ever evolving learning experience for the teachers, who are making sure their students get the best education they can, no matter what changes around them.

Keppen also teaches math to students in other districts using video streaming.


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