Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Flipping the Classroom and #FlippedLearning

As part of my own Professional Development I have spent quite a lot of time investigating the concept of Flipping the Classroom as part of the Flipped Learning educational model. In case you are not familiar with this exciting and fairly recent philosophy, the flipped classroom is a teaching model that utilises technology in the classroom and at home: students will do 'traditional' classroom activities like listening to and watching lectures while they are at home at their own pace which then leaves lesson time to engage in activities that might have normally been done for homework. Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams are considered the pioneers of the Flipped Class Movement.  He spent 24 years as a middle and high school science teacher before becoming the lead technology facilitator for a school district in Chicago. Jon helped found the Flipped Learning Network, a non-profit organization which provides resources and research about flipped learning.

Here is a great (and short!) overview of the Flipped Classroom concept by Dr Jackie Gerstein

I love that students can listen to lesson materials at home at whatever pace they are comfortable with. My ESL students, for example, can view the material as many times as they wish without having to rush through translating and note-taking. On the other hand, my higher level students can watch the material quickly and respond to more questions to gain a deeper understanding of the topic. In flipped classrooms all students will be encouraged to take responsibility of their own learning which shifts the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the student. It also gives the teacher time to see where students might be struggling and to adjust their teaching accordingly. This infographic explains the model perfectly!

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

There are many things that I love about this educational innovation but the main positive is the integration of many differing types of media. For example, I am about to start a unit of work all about the Renaissance and the Reformation and I have found a vast selection of videos on the free site Khan Academy.

Flipping the Classroom #FlippedLearning Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We've also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content. Via Khan Academy

For example, my students will be directed to watch videos and answer focus questions based on five 'lessons' on the issue of Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.  One night they will watch the introductory video below.

Flipping the Classroom #FlippedLearning

"Key issues" from the video are placed just underneath the video and near the 'questions' area so students can engage with other people learning all about this issue and answer questions about the key issues. An example of a question is "Did the mass printing (invention of the printing press) of the Bible, so the common person could have the Bible in their homes have any effect on the reformation?" Concept engagement will occur via communicating with peers and me the teacher via online discussion questions. I will also ask my students to answer some of the questions during class time the next day and while they are answering the questions I will be able to individually consult each student and get feedback on what they have learnt overnight.

Now, I know that all students in my class have access to technology but if students have limited computer and Internet access the Flipped model could be a bit problematic. I'm sure that if students had problems getting their own technology the school library or computer lab would be a great option.

With most schools using either their own user-pays IT program or the BYOT program I think the flipped classroom approach will really help students from all levels of ability to engage with course work. If you think you might like to learn more about Flipped Learning here are just a few resources that I have found invaluable. I will share more links over the coming weeks!

  • Jon Bergmann along with Aaron Sams, is considered a pioneer in the Flipped Class Movement. Jon believes educators should ask one guiding question: What is best for the students in my classroom? Their collaborative site is Flipped Class.

  • Educator's Technology is resource of educational web tools and mobile apps teachers and educators can use to successfully integrate technology in education.

  • Graphite is a free service from Common Sense Media, helps teachers find, understand, and share the best digital learning products available.

  • Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.

  • Teaching Channel is an online community where teachers can watch, share, and learn diverse techniques.

  • TED-Ed, TED's education initiative, is an online library of short, captivating videos that engage inquisitive learners all over the world.

  • Keith Hughes  has taught US History and AP Government for the past 15 years as well as edu classes in New Literacy and Technology for the Graduate School of Education at the University of Buffalo. His videos are entertaining, educational and perfect for flipped history classes. He is also on twitter and shares fantastic resources and links. You can follow @hiphughes here.

If you are on Twitter and would like to tweet with me please follow me-I am @natashainoz! I tweet about education, gender issues, social media, current affairs and social justice. I'm also over at Google+ and on Pinterest.

Happy Flipping!

Best wishes,

Monday, 30 March 2015

An Educator in Oz!

As an Educator in Oz I want to keep up with the ever changing world of learning trends, media and technology, not only in Australia but all over the world. Since media and technology are at the very centre of my students' lives I want to be able to navigate through their world with ease and to use the technologies they are so familiar with in my classroom.

Components of a 21st Century Classroom — An infographic by the team at Open Colleges via Mashable

Through this blog I hope to be able to keep up with the rapidly changing educational landscape that we live in by learning about ways I can use modern media and technology in my 21st century classroom in conjunction with old fashioned educational tools like books, paper and pens.

How Much Is Too Much Classroom Technology?

When one also take into account that young people today spend over 50 hours every week on some kind of screen and that 50 hours doesn't even include the time using technology for educational purposes, I think it's important to gauge both the negative and positive impact technology has on their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

Please join me in my quest to educate myself, other teachers, students, administrators, carers, and maybe even policymakers, by sharing information and ideas on how we can make our classrooms even more inclusive, engaging, innovative and above all, empowering.

Best wishes,