Teaching is not a career that people choose because it is easy. People jump into the fire—stress in the form of parents, grades, misbehavior, planning, limited time that can consume everything it touches—not due to a preference for third degree burns but due to their own inferno inside that dwarfs any meager flames around them.
We save other children from their own fires.
But all of this effort and research and planning and grading takes time. As the year wears on, our own spirits tend to decline. Our best intentions can erode with the constant winds of stress and frustration.
So when a teacher stands up and speaks to his fellow teachers and says, “I found this great new tool,” skepticism is often one of the first reactions. This energetic teacher who is wishing to share is speaking to great teachers, yes, but more importantly to the limited resources that make up that individual. At professional learning time and faculty meetings, the myriad of minds gathered there are drifting off to think about groceries, time with the kids, lesson plans, and many items on a mental checklist that will either be delayed or sacrificed for the greater good.
In order for a new technology to enter the arena, it has to be worth the teachers’ time. It needs to inspire a greater fire within while also shielding people from those fires environing them. I’ve talked before about the unique opportunities iBooks Author affords teachers and students in the way that it enables differentiation and multi-sensory learning. However, there are ways to take this great program even farther, and we can do that withTumult Hype.
Why this program is necessary is due to the age that we live in: teenagers and pre-teens expect instant feedback yet attend classes where they wait a week for a test and much longer for an essay. Writing in particular needs close observation to correct brain pathways before the incorrect answer triggers more similar responses, so the incorrect road becomes the major highway for those questions.
Tumult Hype involves animations and hyperlink type of responses. The teacher can embed responses tailored to the question, and students can receive instant feedback and improve as they learn.
After seeing Anthony DiLaura give a presentation on Hype to create a math example, I used his template as a model and a means for exploring the program. I saw with this program an opportunity to make an interactive grammar book that could help explain and give better, more individualized instruction that could help students improve their understanding of grammar and their sentence fluency.
Many times teachers are preoccupied with putting out the fires around them to see a way to prevent those fires. Individualization and differentiation and feedback aren’t just buzz words. Together we can improve our lessons, improve our instruction, and watch as the flames grow brighter within us.