Technology: Website (flocabulary.com)
SAMR Model Rating: Substitution and Augmentation
Grade Level: Any, but probably better for younger students
Subject Area: Any
This month I was urged to try a resource that my colleague found called Flocabulary. She used the site in her class with great success so I decided I would try it in my Conceptual Physics class. Our two experiences were very different.
Flocabulary.com is website that features educational hip-hop and rap videos in just about every discipline.
My Conceptual Physics class had been studying the solar system and orbital velocity. I used Flocabulary on the last two days of the term. I created an assignment on EDU/NEO (our learning management system) so that when student came to class, they logged on to the class and opened the assignment that took them to the specific video they were to watch.
Students were asked to watch the rap video and fill in the missing lyrics on a worksheet that was downloaded from the site. My students, who are 11th and 12th graders at a continuation high school were very hesitant about listening to the rap. They want to hear Tupac and the idea of listening to someone “rap” about a topic from science class was not well accepted.
As students listened to the rap, their first reactions were along the lines of “this is lame” and “Oh my God, really Mowers?” But after listening to the video a few times I observed students bobbing their heads and tapping their pencils on the desk. Even still, the comments only warmed up to, ” I guess the beat is not too bad but the lyrics…really?”
On the next day I had the students listen to the video while reading the lyrics. They ran through the video three or four times and then I had them put their iPads and lyrics down to take the quiz. The quiz is also downloadable from the site. It was in the form of multiple choice questions which is not so ideal for Common Core assessment, but I was curious to see how effective this type of lesson would be for gaining understanding. I was disappointed that the majority of students did not perform very well, most hovered in the 70 percent range.
During the same time period, one of our English teachers tried the site as well. She told me that her students responded more positively than my students but she also said they thought it was fairly juvenile. I can see this could be an awesome resource for the right class and subject matter. I particularly think that elementary students would find this more engaging, maybe even middle school students.
There is an option for students to extend the lesson and write their own rap lyrics that they can perform using the beat provided in the video. My staff had varied reactions to the effectiveness of this site, which leads me to believe that subject matter and grade level are important factors to consider when designing a lesson around Flocabulary.com