User Generated Education

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Mobile Learning and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

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I have jumped onto the Flipped Classroom craze to take the opportunity to propose and discuss an experiential model of education (ala John Dewey and Kurt Hahn), one that has experience at its core and provides learning options for all types of learners.  In this model, the videos, as they are discussed in the flipped classroom. support the learning rather than drive it.

My series on the Flipped Classroom – The Full Picture includes the following posts:

This post continues the series by providing an overview of The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture using mobile devices.  Each phase of the model has suggestions and ideas for mobile-driven learning activities which can be implemented on most devices.  This supports Bring Your Own Devices programs and increases the chances students will use similar learning activities on their own devices outside of the classroom environment.

A major focus of mobile learning these days seems to be centered on the apps, but my focus is on designing and providing mobile learning activities that are cross platform.  Smartphone ownership is up in the United States, but it is still not universal and especially not within lower income communities.  Discussion of the app gap and this type of digital divide has occurred within several recent articles:

It also is the basis of my teaching philosophy – to provide access to learning regardless of learning differences, income, digital access, and geographical location.  Most students own mobile devices that have photo and video taking capabilities, and have Internet for content access.  The mobile activities described for the model below take advantage of these functions.


Engaging Experience

The lesson or unit begins with an authentic, engaging, often multi-sensory and often hands-on experience.  Its purpose is to hook and motivate the student to want to learn more about the topic.

Photo and/or Video Examples of Real Life Situations. One method to do so is to ask students to locate evidence of the learning topic in their immediate environments and record that evidence via a media sharing sites such as Flickr or Youtube.  Both of these sites generate (random) email addresses that can be given out to students so they can upload their photos or videos to the educator account.  Students do not need email accounts. The media is then aggregated onto the educator account.  For example, at the beginning of a unit on personal identity, I asked students to take photos of their core values and upload them to my Flickr account – see Picture Our Values.  This description also includes directions how to set up a Flickr account for a class project.

Texting Observations, Questions, Two-Way Communications. Students can use their texting functions to interview one other, discuss real world observations made, and report on real life experiences based on suggestions provided by the educator.

Example experiential mobile activities I have done with students to engage them in the topic include:

There are so many ways to get students excited about the content topics especially when asked to use their mobile devices to do so.  My advice to educators is to take the best experiential activities they have done and/or experienced and include a mobile element as I did with the activities above.

Concept Exploration

During this phase, learners explore the theoretical concepts related to the topic being taught.  This is the phase where videos, such as those being discussed in relation to the more popular articles and posts about the flipped classroom, are used in the lesson.  To make the content more accessible, as per Universal Design of Learning, a multimedia learning environment needs to provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation.  It is important to include content material presented in a variety of formats including ebooks, audiobooks, and content-rich websites can serve this purpose.

The key to this phase, to the use of these materials, and why it is called the flipped classroom is that content resources are recommended to the learners, and then they review them during the own time frames, sometimes as homework.

Meaning Making

Learners should, often need, to be given the opportunity to reflect on what they experienced and concepts explored during the previous phases.  For learning to be meaningful, they need to construct their own meanings and understandings of the concepts covered.

Some options for learners to reflect and synthesize their key learnings include:

Demonstration and Application

This is the integration phase where students demonstrate what they learned and how they will apply it to other areas of their lives.  This can be viewed as a celebration of learning where students create a project that represents their key learnings, significant experiences, and commitments-contracts for post-lesson implementation.

I discussed ideas for using Web 2.0 for this phase in Technology-Enhanced Celebration of Learning.  Many of these strategies can work on the students’ mobile devices.

The following is TJ’s example from an undergraduate course on interpersonal relations.  He used his skills at the Minecraft game and the webcam on his laptop to demonstrate what he learned.  What is especially relevant about this demonstration is that TJ has a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

June 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

One Response

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  1. I’m a Learning cycle lover, and i’m really glad someone put out a post relating the learning cycle to mobile/e-learning. Thanks!

    Vahid Masrour

    June 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm


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