The “flipped” classroom

The notion of a “flipped” classroom has been gaining a lot of attention in the past year or so.

First of all, what is a “flipped” classroom? By most accounts, a flipped classroom is one where the instruction takes place online outside of class hours, thereby freeing classtime for discussion, application and/or homework on the online lesson’s ideas and topics that students have previously viewed.

I have been following the development and interest that it is gaining and wanted to collect a number of links to some valuable resources on the flipped model:

This infographic provides a nice overview of the flipped model.

A collection of 10 reasons to consider flipping a classroom countered with 5 reasons not to flip a classroom.

A balanced commentary on the flipped classroom model for learning.

The flipped class manifest outlines the core tenets of a flipped classroom.

A discussion on how the flipped classroom is radically transforming learning.

The Flipped Class Network is a professional learning community to support teachers as they consider flipping a lesson or even their entire class.

YouTube for the classroom

Numerous teaching and learning blogs announced the big news today that YouTube is beginning to offer an education-only site of videos appropriate for use in the classroom. This site will  1) disable all comments (so there will be no distraction from other viewers’ inappropriate comments), 2) offer only related videos on topic as suggestions of similar videos (no content will be suggested that can distract students from learning), and 3) “beef up” its K-12 content, much of which will be aligned to the Common Core Standards.

In addition YouTube also reported partnering with education content-creators by investing in 100 channels that will produce original material exclusive to YouTube. This material will not be available on other video sites.

Schools need to sign up to access this service in order to receive an authentication key that will allow them to modify the YouTube URL address for the videos.

Additional advantages of this initiative include:

  • School network settings can now allow teachers and students the ability to access hundreds of thousands of free educational and learning videos while still filtering access to the general YouTube site.
  • School administrators and teachers can log in to watch any video in order to customize the content available in their school.
  • Hundreds of playlists of videos  organized by subject and grade have been developed by YouTube. These playlists can help teachers spend less time searching for the “right” video.
  • In addition, teachers can create their own playlists of videos that are viewable only within their school’s network.
  • Students cannot log in to the general YouTube site. They can only watch YouTube EDU videos plus videos their school has added.
  • All comments and related videos are disabled. Search features are limited to YouTube EDU videos.
 Some useful resources:

Video presentation on this initiative

YouTube for school

YouTube.com/education

YouTube’s Teacher’s channel – to learn how to use videos in the classroom

YouTube playlists

TED education channel

Suggestions of other videos from education organizations can also be found here.

 

Digital citizenship and protecting student work

I was reminded today that any classroom instruction which may include  online components and/or digital media should help foster appropriate digital citizenship in our students. We need to help students understand and practice safe, legal and responsible use of information and technology. This is especially important as we help students develop an online presence that glorifies God in all aspects of their digital footprint.

The new aspect that I hadn’t considered before, though, is to help students learn how to protect their own work, such as videos, audio, images or text, through a Creative Commons license. We need to include instruction on this and other aspects of copyright as we foster media literacy. The Creative Commons license-choosing tool is a good resource to help students practice this aspect of digital citizenship.

Reference:

Saltman, D., (2011). Turning digital natives into digital citizens. Harvard Education Letter, 27(5).  Accessed 9/19/2011 at http://www.hepg.org/hel/article/511.

National Educational Technology Standards for Students (2007).

The shift in thinking patterns of digital kids

In addition to the four implications discussed in my post on a foundation for 21st century schooling, I wanted to highlight a fifth, significant implication for the classroom that Kelly, McCain and Jukes (2009) associate with the reality of the online digital world and its relationship to schooling. Simply put, there is emerging evidence that today’s kids are thinking differently than their teachers. As a result, schools need to address the shift in thinking patterns of digital kids. This is, indeed, a novel observation that I had not considered before.

Kelly et al. discuss the theory of neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain’s ability to modify the organization of its neural pathways, thereby effectively rewiring itself in response to new demands placed upon it by the external environment. Neuroscientists suggest that such brain plasticity underlies the brain’s ability to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize how it processes information based on new input. If the brain encounters a new kind of input for sustained periods of time on a daily basis for an extended period of time, it will reorganize neural pathways to handle the new input more effectively. This is what happens when a child learns to read. With sustained exposure to textual input on a daily basis, the child’s brain reorganizes how the brain processes this new input so the brain can make sense of it.

In the same way, kids growing up in a digital world are being exposed to new kinds of input from digital experiences for sustained periods of time on a daily basis. Consequently, their brains are reorganized to handle the digital environment more effectively. This is creating a huge problem in our schools. Kids are quite literally thinking differently than those who teach them. (p. 23)

As a result of growing up in an increasingly digital world, it appears that the neuroplasticity of the brain has impacted student learning preferences. Kelly et al. suggest that the digital generation prefers:

  • receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources
  • parallel processing of content and multitasking
  • active, engaged learning
  • processing pictures, sounds and video before text
  • random access to hyperlinked multimedia information
  • networking simultaneously with many others (p. 23-24)

These learning preferences are more often than not in direct contrast to teachers who have learned, and therefore tend to teach, differently. They prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources, favor passive learning models such as lectures, choose to provide new information linearly, logically and sequentially, and ask students to work independently before they interact in groups.

Kelly et al. highlight the following implications for quality teaching and learning to reach the digital generation:

  1. Classroom instruction must shift from a predominantly lecture format to one that focuses more on discovery learning. Students should be provided with hands-on learning activities that allow them to master the digital tools for learning.
  2. Teachers must make a shift from the text-based instructional tools to include pictures, video and sound as appropriate media to convey information.
  3. Teachers must provide students with more access to hyperlinked information that can be navigated randomly. This ‘random access’ approach to navigating information in the World Wide Web is a mode of learning that students are already used to. Guided opportunities to develop these skills further are essential.
  4. Teachers must allow students to network and collaborate with each other and with experts from around the world on an ad hoc basis. (p. 24-25)

Without a doubt, these implications will impact teacher preparation substantially. Today’s students are developing skills from using new technologies that should be incorporated into the classroom. It is imperative for schools to provide the necessary professional development and appropriate collaborative planning time to help them succeed. Unfortunately, it appears that far too many of today’s teachers focus, instead, on of the skills that the students do not have because of the technologies.

Reference:

Kelly, F. S., McCain, T., & Jukes, I. (2009). Teaching the digital generation: No more cookie-cutter high schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Wesson, K. (2010). Neuroplasticity: Experience and your brain. Retrieved from http://brainworldmagazine.com/?p=717 on Feb. 1, 2011.