On this episode of the Blending In Podcast, I’m chatting with John Muro, another colleague that I first met at Diamond Valley Middle School while I was working as a site-based instructional coach. John, currently a middle school math teacher, says that he thinks he became a computer geek when he tried to fix his broken Atari 2600 years ago!
His passion for technology led him to study electrical engineering after high school before becoming a teacher in 2010. His love of technology continues in the work he does in pro wrestling and podcasting, but most importantly, with his students in his math classroom. He has taught a wide range of students from kindergarten through high school, but his “jam” is middle school where he’s been for the last 7 years of his career not only teaching, but coaching cross country, running the audio-video club for students, and doing eSports with students.
In today’s episode, Mr. Muro gives us some insights into how his background in the martial arts helps him set the tone and structure of his classroom “dojo” and how the concepts of respect and redemption comes into play in his learning community. He shares how blending in the use of video instruction has helped him tremendously in creating more student agency, increasing his efficiency, and allowing him to be more available to his students to provide one-on-one instruction and feedback during class time. Listen to learn more about Mr. Muro’s Digital Dojo!
In our conversation in this episode, Mr. Muro referenced several sources from which he has drawn inspiration for implementing a blended learning environment:
He also mentioned that he learned a lot from just watching YouTube videos!
One key idea he reiterated was the use of instructional video in blended learning activities. He uses Screencastify to create videos and he stated that it was important to make sure the videos were short, engaging, and had closed captions turned on to support students with disabilities and his English language learners. Here are a couple of articles that may be helpful if you’re thinking about creating instructional videos for the diversity of learners in your classroom:
John utilizes our district purchased GoGuardian program to monitor students’ online activity while they are using their district issued Chromebooks in his classroom.
A few gamified assessment platforms that he mentioned using frequently in his classroom are Kahoot, Blooket, and Quizizz.