Registration ticket in hand, I excitedly entered the Auditorium for the 2015 Palm Beach Technology Conference. The line-up of featured speakers was fantastic; Lodge McCammon PhD, Steve Dembo of Discovery Education and Cameron Evans from Microsoft just to name a few. Breakout sessions included representatives from Apple, Google, Dell and many more. It was amazing to directly engage in discussion with the leaders in technology.
The biggest takeaway for me was the opening Keynote Speaker’s presentation. Dr. Lodge McCammon's Musical Kinesthetic approach to learning is engaging and meaningful. Of course, I did my homework and read up on his work, prior to attending the conference. I knew I could expect something great; he wasn’t great, he was PHENOMENAL! The presentation was moving, literally. Lodge very effectively modeled the way his method should be implemented in the classroom. He began by speaking to us about his background and approach and provided the brain research to support all of this. At different points during the presentation he played short pre-recorded video lectures, a method he refers to as “flipping the classroom”. “Flipping the classroom” reduces the time allocated to lecture delivery and extends time devoted to challenging students to be practicing and engaged in their learning. This practice is centered on using 1-take video to flip the effectiveness of the classroom by establishing a self-paced learning experience. Lodge noted that this could be very valuable even when devices are not tangible outside of school. This is not a call to ask students to watch videos at home for homework.
Lodge demonstrated that by “flipping the classroom” content is delivered more efficiently creating time in the class to get students up and moving. He offers more than stretch breaks. These kinesthetic activities and assignments are linked to content adding value and enriching the lesson. The “Walk and Talk” was a strategy I was able to try first hand. It is easy to implement, and was very moving. Pardon the pun. First, we were offered questions about the topics addressed in the presentation, then we were asked to discuss in groups, answer and teach back to the class. In order to stimulate the brain and foster an optimal learning experience, we were directed to walk and talk while accomplishing this task. Not only did Lodge provide us with the brain research to support this; he guided us through experiencing it first hand.
Another movement-based lesson activity Lodge suggested was to ask groups of students to design and act out movements that represent key points of the assigned content, much like developing choreography for a performance.
Along with the kinesthetic lessons, Lodge composes and plays original curriculum music. The music itself is fantastic, however, when coupled with the movement it becomes a transformative way to teach and learn. The lesson takes on a life of its own. When music is added to a classroom environment it naturally calls students to move. Students are now training to be thinkers on their feet, which is our goal as teachers. Free range of motion inspires freethinking. All of this activity makes the learning experience engaging, meaningful, motivating and dare I say… FUN!