Moving to Modern Classroom?

Moving to Modern Classroom?

This school year West Potomac implemented Modern Classroom, a new teaching system that focuses on self-paced video lessons rather than regular lectures to guide students through learning.

However, this isn’t just something at this school, it’s an entire project that can be put in place at any school. The system, according to the Modern Classroom website, includes teacher-created videos, “self-paced learning,” and “mastery based grading.” Students watch the videos and later complete “mastery checks” to prove they understand the material. The system is supposed to allow for teachers to help individual students more because they don’t need to spend a large portion of class time lecturing. A study, written and conducted by Modern Classroom, and reported on by the John Hopkins School of Education claims students feel more confident along with being able to teach themselves new academic content, and teachers feel less stressed.

When asked, science teacher Ms. Pendleton agreed, saying “…If you’re teaching a lesson in front of the whole class, there was a little bit of time pressure there… But Modern Classroom really frees me up to spend the time helping students instead of just talking at them.”

As for her students, she said, “…The model is benefiting some students who would struggle with a traditional model of learning. I know I have some students who struggle with school in general… but because all of the lectures are videos, they can access them at any time and I do see improvement.”

Some students are less enthused about the self-paced learning aspect of Modern Classroom.

Iris Ramirez, a junior at West Potomac, said, “I personally don’t like it because I can’t form that relationship with the teacher like in a live classroom. I can’t ask the same type of questions because everyone is on a different section of the unit making it harder to collaborate with other students.”

Other students feel the success of Modern Classroom can vary between classes.

Junior Reilly Tynan explains, “In my opinion, it depends on the teacher and how the teacher handles it.”
Some students see positives and negatives in self-paced learning.

Junior Nicholas Lee elaborates, “I love being able to work at my own pace and kinda make my own lesson plan. However… it can sometimes feel slow or very boring which can lead to skipping videos and getting lower grades on assignments.”

Ms. Pendleton has advice for teachers about Modern Classroom, saying, “I feel like some teachers are really hesitant to try it because it is a lot of work upfront on the planning end because you have to plan all the lessons and all the practice at the same time. But it’s worth it because you get to spend a lot of time with students and actually build relationships and get to know them.”