April 26 - May 7

“21st Century learning”: boy, has this last year made this a reality. No longer is learning based upon a textbook, using a notebook with pencils and pens. Technology is integrated with apps, learning management systems, extensions, Docs, Sheets, and on and on. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are all online, or if the learner has a question, one can simply “Google it.” But if the learner wants to see an example or how to do it, one goes to YouTube.

Videos -- both viewed and created by the learner -- are regularly a part of learning. This is true regardless of if the viewing is occurring at home (as it does for a “flipped lesson” or as an asynchronous learner or as a part of a review) or if the viewing is happening in the classroom (as a part of the direct instruction or within a small group or as a review) in a blended learning mode. But while the videos are now routine, the value from viewing has not reached its full potential.

Too often the power of a video is lost because it is a passive experience (consider the example of watching a television show). An educational video may be entertaining, but that is not its purpose; its purpose is to provide some level of understanding so the learner gains knowledge or sees a process that can be replicated. Four quick tips (basded on Avra Robinson's article in edutopia) can help bring value to the viewing.

  1. Use the pause, rewind, and stop options - part of the effectiveness of a video is that the learner can control the pace. Never should a student miss any information because the video lets her/him stop and go back. The learner can listen for key information. She/he can watch straight through to get the gist of what is being said and then go back, pausing to verify learning or to write down any points of confusion to ask for clarification later.
  2. Be sure to interact - this stopping and starting, watching as many times as desired, moves a passive experience into an active one. Note-taking while viewing captures the learner’s attention and keeps her/him engaged, and these multiple viewings help to reinforce the learning. If the first time is simply for orientation, the second time can be to comprehend new information, and a third time to confirm that the learner understands that information and can transfer it later.
  3. Break it down - these multiple viewings give the learner a kind of process for each time a video is a part of the learning mode. From there, whether to an actual person or just out loud/to a mirror, the learner should be able to explain the Targets of the video, achieving the value from the viewing.
  4. Summarize and reflect - finally, this explanation should be captured in writing (thoughts on the page), not only to solidify the learning but also to have something as a reference (on which to study for an assessment) for future learning (on which to build). Without this last piece to ensure the learning has been successfully processed and absorbed, the likelihood of the video having only been watched increases, and the learning potential is lost.

Sometimes videos get a bad reputation by falling into critics’ concerns that they add to the amount of screentime the student has per day. But that is unfair if the tips are followed. This is engaging and active, purposeful, not where one gets lost in one video after another after another and the minutes slip away into an hour. Videos are a fantastic tool, and I know this to be true, not only because I have seen them used properly, but because I have been engaged and used them personally...please excuse me, I have a plumbing problem that needs solving, and I need to watch a video on how to make that happen.


Weeks at a Glance

  • Monday, April 26: Teacher Professional Development Day - No Advisory
  • Tuesday, April 27-Friday, April 30: NJHS Pop Tab Collection for the Ronald McDonald House
  • Saturday, May 1: Nationals for Quiz Bowl
  • Monday, May 3: final Band Rehearsals for the Spring Performance recording
  • Monday, May 3-Friday, May 7: Teacher Appreciation Week


Have attendance plans changed?

Our desire is for each of our students to remain for their entire middle and high school experience at Spectrum to fully benefit from the top notch college preparatory education offered. We recognize that there are times when that is not possible. If attendance plans for the 2021-2022 school year have changed and your child will not be returning to Spectrum, please submit a Withdrawal Form to our Registrar, Christy Siegel ( admissions@spectrumhighschool.org), so that we can forward records to the next school.