Posts Tagged ‘experiential learning’
I began my career as an educator as an outdoor educator. Now I teach educational technology. Given both the ever increasing sedentary and indoor lives of kids and the advancement of technology, the time is ripe to combine the two.
Current and recurring themes that guide my ideas about what constitutes a “good” education include:
- Learning should extend beyond the classroom walls.
- Outdoor education is good for students and adults.
- Mobile technology is engaging and interesting; and can create authentic and relevant learning experiences.
- Mobile learning should be just that – mobile.
Moving Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls
“[In traditional education]…the school environment of desks, blackboards, a small school yard was supposed to suffice…There was no demand that the teacher should become intimately acquainted with the conditions of the local community, physical, historical, economic, occupational etc. in order to utilize them as educational resources.”
- John Dewey, Experience and Education, 1938
The Council for Learning Outside of the Classroom provides the following rationale for taking learning beyond the classroom walls:
Learning outside the classroom is about raising young people’s achievement through an organized, powerful approach to learning in which direct experience is of prime importance.
This is not only about what we learn, but most importantly, how and where we learn. It is about improving young people’s understanding, skills, values, personal and social development and can act as a vehicle to develop young people’s capacity and motivation to learn.
Real-world learning brings the benefits of formal and informal education together and reinforces what good educationalist have always known: that the most meaningful learning occurs through acquiring knowledge and skills through real-life, practical or hands-on activities.
There is a wealth of evidence which clearly demonstrates the benefits for young people’s learning and personal development outside the classroom. In summary, learning outside the classroom:
- tackles social mobility, giving children new and exciting experiences that inspire them to reach their true potential. These real world experiences raise aspirations, equipping young people with the skills they need to become active and responsible citizens and shape a fit and motivated workforce.
- addresses educational inequality, re-motivating children who do not thrive in the traditional classroom environment, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with Special Educational Needs. Young people who experience learning outside the classroom as a regular part of their school life benefit from increased self esteem, and become more engaged in their education both inside and outside the classroom walls.
- supports improved standards back INSIDE the classroom, raising attainment, reducing truancy and improving discipline. Learning outside the classroom is known to contribute significantly to raising standards & improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development.
Find out more about research studies which reinforce and illustrate the wide-ranging benefits for young people on our research pages.
The Benefits of Outdoor Education
A report from the National Wildlife Federation, Back to School: Back Outside, shows how outdoor education and time is connected with wide-ranging academic benefits including:
- Improved classroom behavior
- Increased student motivation and enthusiasm to learn
- Better performance in math, science, reading and social studies
- Reduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Higher scores on standardized tests (including college entrance exams)
- Help under-resourced, low-income students perform measurably better in school
Mobile Learning in the Outdoors = Authentic, Engaging Learning
Mobile Learning in the Outdoors Benefits, Apps and Examples
Mobile devices can form an engaging platform for teaching and learning, with the potential to expand the realm of the classroom. Functionality and context are key considerations when selecting from the myriad of mobile-enabled web sites and applications.
Like a Swiss army knife, mobile devices and their apps can provide utility and flexibility in a compact, portable package. Among the options available are:
- GPS and other location-based functionality
- Video, audio, and still image capture
- Mobile networking and collaboration
- The ability to bridge to other tools and data
- Scanning and data logging in the field
- Visual and audio recognition
- Screen readers, slow keys, text to speak, and other accessibility features
The portability and convenience provided by mobile devices enables instantaneous, contextual observations in the field or whenever spontaneous learning opportunities arise. Collecting information outside the classroom can help students hone observation and collaboration skills, reinforce topic relevancy, or provide opportunities to emulate an expert system through use of the apps.
GPS-based apps for mapping, geo-blogging, and geo-tagging are especially powerful in this regard, because they enable direct linking of observations to specific times and locations. The ability to capture, reference, and share data, multimedia, and ideas within a spatial or temporal context helps students identify broader trends and relationships, foster discussion, and develop conceptual thinking.
- Mobile Devices
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are powerful tools for outdoor study. Access to the Internet, a camera and geospatial data (e.g. GPS) make it easy to gather, organize and submit data from observations. Applications (apps) can be downloaded to engage students in citizen science activities, like identifying wildlife.
- GPS Units
GPS (Global Positioning Systems) is a technology that communicates with satellites to pinpoint specific locations on Earth. GPS units are great tools for getting students outside and engaged in environmental field research and service-learning projects.
At Wisconsin’s Augusta Area School District, teacher Paul Tweed engaged his students in several projects that used GPS and GIS (Geographic Information Systems), one of which helped the Wisconsin Department of Nature Resources (DNR) track orphaned black bear cubs released into the wild.
- Digital Cameras
Students can use digital cameras to document their local environment, track their progress on science projects, collect evidence and present their findings in the classroom.
Students at Monroe City Schools in Louisiana use tech tools like digital cameras to enhance environmental education programs at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Learn more at: fws.gov/northlouisiana/blackbayoulake/environmental_education.html.
- Digital Weather Stations
Digital weather stations are small monitoring devices put in place to collect real-time weather data. They can be installed near home, school or in nearby parks, enabling students to add weather conditions to their study of the local environment.
Students participating in outdoor education programs with NatureBridge check digital weather stations at Olympic, Yosemite and Golden Gate National Parks for weather data to add to their field research. Learn more at: naturebridge.org/your-naturebridge-program-olympic.
Here is a list of apps and websites that can assist learners in becoming citizen scientists:
Links to these websites:
- Project Noah – http://www.projectnoah.org/
- Journey North – http://www.learner.org/jnorth/
- Weatherbug – http://weather.weatherbug.com/
- Creekwatch – http://creekwatch.researchlabs.ibm.com/
- What’s Invasive – http://whatsinvasive.com/
- Nature’s Notebook – https://www.usanpn.org/natures_notebook
- Nature’s Find – http://www.naturefind.com/
- iNaturalist – http://www.inaturalist.org/
- Google Earth – http://www.google.com/earth/index.html
- Marine Debris Tracker – http://www.marinedebris.engr.uga.edu/
Mobile Learning in Outdoors Viewed with the SAMR Model
The SAMR model (http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/) is being used to discuss technology integration. The SAMR model, developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura, aims to support teachers as they design, develop and integrate learning technologies to support high levels of learning achievement and student engagement.
The guiding questions for the SAMR Ladder include:
It becomes apparent that these outdoor-based mobile learning activities can be categorized in the transformational levels of modification and redefinition as learners engage in tasks that are uniquely possible given the mobile technologies.
I sit in the lecture hall with 10,000 others waiting for my new teacher to speak. I look at my cell phone and silently groan that this in going to be a long hour; as long an hour as an hour can be as is typically the case when I listen to a lecture. She begins, “Let me tell you about Uncle Willie.“ I take a deep breath of relief and settle in to hear her story.
I came at the age of three to Grandma and my Uncle Willie in this little town in Arkansas. Uncle Willie was paralyzed on the right side. My grandmother and Uncle Willie owned a little store in town, and they needed me and my brother to work in the store. So Momma taught me to read and write, and my Uncle Willie taught me to do my times tables. He used to grab me by my clothes and hold me in front of a potbelly stove, and with a slur attendant to his condition, he’d say, “Now, Sister, I want you to do your foursies, your sevensies, your ninesies.” I learned my times tables so exquisitely even now, 60 years later, if I’m awakened after an evening of copious libation and told, “Do your twelvsies,” I’ve got my twelvsies.
I was so sure that if I didn’t learn, my Uncle Willie would grab me, open the potbelly stove, throw me in, and close the door. Of course, I found that he was so tenderhearted he wouldn’t kill a fly. One day my Uncle Willie died, and I went to Little Rock where I was met by one of America’s great rainbows in the clouds, the black lady who led the children into the high school in the late fifties in Little Rock.
She met me and said, “There is somebody who is dying to meet you.” She introduced me to this handsome black man in a three-piece suit.
When I met him, he said, “I don’t want to shake your hand. I want to hug you.”
He then said, “You know, Maya, the State of Arkansas has lost a great man in losing Willie. In the 1920s, I was the only child of a blind mother. Your Uncle Willie gave me a job in his store, paid me 10 cents a week, and taught me to do my times tables.”
I asked him, “How would he do it?”
He said, “He used to grab me like this…”
Then I knew he was talking about Uncle Willie.
He said, “Because of him, I am who I am today, the mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, first black mayor in the South.”
I look back at Uncle Willie, that crippled, black man in the South where lynching was the disorder of the day, I have no idea the range of his influence. But I know that when it looked for me like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, God put “a rainbow in the clouds” in the form of Uncle Willie.
I tell you my stories not to brag but to tell you about all of rainbows in my clouds. You are the rainbows in somebody’s cloud.
. . . Maya Angelou tells the 10,000 educators who sat at her feet at the recent ASCD conference. I exaggerated at the beginning about the expected boredom. This would have been the case if the speaker started to lecture to me. I knew Dr, Angelou would tell us stories and read us poetry. She is a master of storytelling, poetry, speaking, and teaching; and the energy in the room was palatable as she spoke to us.
I am a strong advocate against the use of lecturing for teaching which I discuss in detail in Who Would Choose a Lecture as Their Primary Mode of Learning? This does not mean I am against an educator standing in front of a group of learners to give procedural directions or to tell a story to teach a concept. I have been challenged by colleagues because I really like TED talks but many of the best TED talks tell a story. One of the most popular Ted talks of all time was Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight who told the story of her stroke and insights about the brain due to her her stroke.
So what is it that makes stories such powerful teaching?
Stories are different. Stories have everything that facts wish they had but never will: color, action, characters, sights, smells, sounds, emotions–stuff that we can easily relate to. We can imagine ourselves doing, or not doing, or having already done, what the story describes. Stories put facts into a meaningful, and therefore memorable, context. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/douglasmerrill/2013/03/08/a-story-about-stories/)
Brain Activity: Lecture versus Storytelling
It’s in fact quite simple. If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that’s it, nothing else happens.
When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too. (http://lifehacker.com/5965703/the-science-of-storytelling-why-telling-a-story-is-the-most-powerful-way-to-activate-our-brains)
What follows is a graph of a student’s brain activity during a given week. The student’s brain activity, the electrodermal activity, is nearly flat-lined during classes. Note that the activity is higher during sleep than during class.
So what happens to the brain when being told a story?
We think in narratives all day long, no matter if it is about buying groceries, whether we think about work or our spouse at home. We make up (short) stories in our heads for every action and conversation. In fact, Jeremy Hsu found [that] “personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.”
Now, whenever we hear a story, we want to relate it to one of our exiting experiences. That’s why metaphors work so well with us. While we are busy searching for a similar experience in our brains, we activate, a part called insula, which helps us relate to that same experience of pain, joy, or disgust. (http://lifehacker.com/5965703/the-science-of-storytelling-why-telling-a-story-is-the-most-powerful-way-to-activate-our-brains)
So my advice for teachers is that next time you feel the need to convey information via a lecture, create or find a story that illustrates those concepts and tell learners that story. All will benefit.
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. — Robert McKee
Design Thinking is trending is some educational circles. Edutopia recently ran a design thinking for educators workshop and I attended two great workshops at SXSWedu 2013 on Design Thinking:
Design Thinking is a great skill for students to acquire as part of their education. But it is one process like the problem-solving model or the scientific method. As a step-by-step process, it becomes type of box. Sometimes we need to go beyond that box; step outside of the box. This post provides an overview of design thinking, the problems with design thinking, and suggestions to hacking the world to go beyond design thinking.
Design thinking is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand (http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/03/what-does-design-thinking-look-like-in-school). The following graphic was developed by Design Thinking for Educators to explain the process of design thinking:
As a further explanation of this process, here is an exercise by the d.School about how to re-design a wallet using the design process.
Here is another take on the design thinking process as applied to learning within a community setting:
“What does it take to create education in this age of imagination?” was the theme of the following Ted talk. Imagination, play, and social interaction become important to the learning process.
To further learn about design thinking, visit:
- The d.school’s Virtual Crash Course of Design Thinking
- d.School at Standford University
- The Third Teacher+
Problems with Design Thinking
Bruce Nussenbaum, in a Fast Company article, Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment. So What’s Next?, discussed the benefits of design thinking but also noted it has become a type of flavor of the month for corporations.
Design Thinking broke design out of its specialized, narrow, and limited base and connected it to more important issues and a wider universe of profit and non-profit organizations. The contributions of Design Thinking to the field of design and to society at large are immense. By formalizing the tacit values and behaviors of design, Design Thinking was able to move designers and the power of design from a focus on artifact and aesthetics within a narrow consumerist marketplace to the much wider social space of systems and society. We face huge forces of disruption, the rise and fall of generations, the spread of social media technologies, the urbanization of the planet, the rise and fall of nations, global warming, and overpopulation. Design Thinking made design system-conscious at a key moment in time.
There were many successes, but far too many more failures in this endeavor. Why? Companies absorbed the process of Design Thinking all to well, turning it into a linear, gated, by-the-book methodology that delivered, at best, incremental change and innovation. CEOs in particular, took to the process side of Design Thinking, implementing it like Six Sigma and other efficiency-based processes (http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663558/design-thinking-is-a-failed-experiment-so-whats-next).
I fear a similar outcome for design thinking within educational settings. As I stated in the introduction, design thinking, being a type of problem-solving model, is it’s own type of box. It attempts to solve problems via a specific process in order to come up with a new solution or product. John Media, in If Design’s No Longer the Killer Differentiator, What Is?, emphasizes the limited perspective that design thinking can create:
Designers create solutions. But artists create questions — the deep probing of purpose and meaning that sometimes takes us backward and sideways to reveal which way “forward” actually is. The questions that artists make are often enigmatic, answering a why with another why. Because of this, understanding art is difficult: I like to say that if you’re having difficulty “getting” art, then it’s doing its job.
Paul Pangaro, a technology executive, who combines technical depth, marketing and business acumen, and passion for designing products that serve the cognitive and social needs of human beings, further critiques design thinking in his video, The Limitations of Design Thinking.
If we stop with design thinking we won’t solve those problems that those in design thinking say they want to solve. Paul Pangaro
Hacking the World
All of this leads to the question of what types of learning in today’s classroom would help students acquire knowledge, skills, passions, and attitudes for living, working, and playing in today’s world. Design thinking is one process for creative problem solving, but to really survive and thrive in a world of such constant and rapid change, kids need to go beyond design thinking and be able to hack their world. Not only is it important to be able to use a creative process to solve problems, it is equally important to be able to identify problems to solve. As humans living within systems that are safe and comfortable for them using the tools and strategies that are familiar to them, it becomes difficult for many to step outside of that comfort zone to critically analyze these systems to identify problems and to discover better ways of living for themselves and for others.
Hacking is a way to do so. Hacking can be defined as:
Hacking is research. Have you ever tried something again and again in different ways to get it to do what you wanted? Have you ever opened up a machine or a device to see how it works, research what the components are, and then make adjustments to see what now worked differently? That’s hacking. You are hacking whenever you deeply examine how something really works in order to creatively manipulate it into doing what you want.
The real reason to be a hacker is because it’s really powerful. You can do some very cool things when you have strong hacking skills. Any deep knowledge gives you great power. If you know how something works to the point that you can take control of it, you have serious power in your hands. Most of all, you have the power to protect yourself and those you care about (Hacker High School).
In an NPR article, At This Camp, Kids Learn To Question Authority (And Hack It), Michael Garrison Stuber, whose daughter participated in the camp, stated:
“Why would I do this?” he asks, while laughing. “Fundamentally the world is about systems. And we work within systems all the time, but sometimes systems are broken, and we need to be able to subvert them. And that is a life skill I absolutely want her to be able to have.”
In developing hacking as a skill, an attitude, and/or as an approach to construct and de-construct the world, it is more than just hacking in terms of computer science. In order to hack the world, we need to tear it apart, deconstruct it and analyze its components parts and how they operate in relation to one another within various systems. This is a mental, social, emotional, and whenever possible, a physical process.
The following icebreakers are designed for web design, but they could also be used to establish a climate of thinking outside of preexisting mindsets which, in turn, becomes a goal of hacking: to develop alternative mindsets.
To get a broader perspective on helping young people become white hat hackers (folks who enjoy thinking of innovative new ways to make, break and use anything to create a better world), see:
- DEFCON kids 2012 conference schedule -http://www.defconkids.org/?page_id=406
DEFCON Kids: Hacking roller coasters and the power grid with cell phones – http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/defcon-kids-hacking-roller-coasters-and-power-grid-cell-phones
Although I am currently looking towards hacking as a way to facilitate creative thinking and positive (world) change, it also has the potential to become a more standardized process as is the issue with design thinking. Hacking, but its very nature, should force learners and learning to the limits, but attempts to scale any movement can inadvertently and unintentional create the type of standardized, procedural system it is trying to avoid.
The Four Quadrant Poster is the newest activity added to Technology-Enhanced Social Emotional Activities. I love using this activity as an icebreaker for students to get to know one another and to provide me, as the educator, with a lot of information about student interests, passions, and thoughts.
- To provide a forum for learners to explore and identify their learning interests, strengths, and personal wonderment.
- To help learners get to know one another.
- To provide educators with diagnostic information about each of their learners.
- Hands-on: One 8″ x 8″ piece of cardboard or plywood per learner, lots of paint and paint brushes; paper and markers
- Technology-Based: Google Presentation doc shared so each learner can each have a slide; Internet access to find images and/or mobile devices so learners can take images.
- Explain to learners that they will be creating a four quadrant poster that includes images or symbols that represent the following:
- Quadrant One – The thing you do best
- Quadrant Two – Best learning experience ever
- Quadrant Three – The most fun thing you’ve ever done
- Quadrant Four – One thing you wonder about
- The following slide can be used as a template.
- For the hands-on version, provide learners with poster board or plywood and paints/brushes.
- Here are some examples:
Fifth grader Marc believes he is best at writing, finds art to be his best learning experience, being with girls to be the most fun and also wonders about girls
Second grader, Jeff believes he is best at computers and finds computers to be his best learning experience. Playing with friends is his most fun thing and he wonders about sunsets.
- Once done, tell learners that they will then present their posters to their peers. To prepare for this sharing phase, distribute blank paper and markers. Help learners divide paper into blocks equal to the number of students in the class and to put names of their peers as labels for the blocks; one peer’s name per block. Explain that as their peers share, they are to sketch into the blocks the one quadrant that they find most interesting. See example:
- Note/Reflection: The act of orally sharing one’s poster can be a powerful experience. It was time for one of the fifth grade boys, John, to share his poster. He was a blend-in-the-woodwork type of kid – not popular, not ridiculed, just kind of ignored. He got to his fourth quadrant. He had painted a picture of a man with a jet propelled backpack. He stated that he wondered when humans will fly on their own. Several of the boys at the same time spontaneously yelled out, “cool”. The look of pleasure on John’s face when they did so was priceless.)
- For a technology-based option, set up a Google Presentation so that there is a slide for each learner. Ask learners to locate or take photos to represent each quadrant. They can use their mobile devices to take photos or find copyright available images online. Here is an example:
- Learners can use a Google Spreadsheet to record information about each peer’s Four Quadrant poster.
The Presentation Slidedeck
Website of Mobile Learning Activities
Mobile Learning Reflections
Zoom: Communicating Perspective is a new mobile learning activity added to those found at Mobile and Technology-Enhanced Experiential Activities. This website describes mobile learning and technology-based activities that facilitate a sense of community in a variety of educational and training settings. They rely mostly on texting, emailing, and photo-taking activities. Free, group sharing internet sites are also used which require access to the Internet via a smartphone or computer. Sites such as Flickr Photo Sharing, Google Docs, and Web 2.0 tools supplement some of the activities.
- To build communication and problem solving skills.
- To understand and develop perspective taking.
- To build visual literacy skills.
- One mobile device with QR Code reader per one or two learners
- A copy of “Zoom” by Istvan Banyai (could be done without but it honors and compensates the author)
- This game is based on the intriguing, wordless, picture book “Zoom” by Istvan Banyai which consists of sequential “pictures within pictures”. The Zoom narrative moves from a rooster to a ship to a city street to a desert island and outer space. Zoom has been published in 18 countries.
- Hand out one QR Code/Image (see below or the original post via the link above for a downloadable PDF) per person/per pair (make sure a continuous sequence is used).
- After QR codes are distributed and images are accessed, tell participants may only look at their own pictures and must keep their pictures hidden from others.
- Encourage participants to study their picture, since it contains important information to help solve this challenge. The advantage of using mobile devices is that learners can zoom in on details of the image. It is the facilitator’s choice whether or not to tell learners this.
- The challenge is for the group to sequence the pictures in the correct order without looking at one another’s pictures. They are to use only verbal communications to describe the images they have.
- When the group believes they have all the pictures in order, they can indicate so and the pictures on the mobile devices can be viewed by everyone. Share the book or the following video so they can see the level of correctness in their order.
- A follow-up discussion can include characteristics of effective communication, how perspective affects how we see and communicate, using visuals to communicate.
Earlier this week, I tweeted,
If we focus on preparing students for their futures in college and the workforce, we often miss the joy, passion, enjoyment and flow of what is occurring in the present.
This was posted prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy. This tragedy reinforced how important it is to be in and grab onto every moment with our students. As a young adult, I embraced the existential philosophy and the tenet that knowledge and acceptance of our death assists us to live in the present.
Knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest gift ever given to us because unless you know the clock is ticking, it is so easy to waste our days, our lives. Anna Quindlen
I have taken this awareness or knowledge into my teaching. My teaching experiences include elementary gifted and PE, and teacher education courses. Some classes last an hour, some a full day (gifted kids and weekend intensives for pre- and in-service teachers). I bring this philosophy into the classroom in all my teaching – regardless of the age or content. The learners are giving me their time, literally pieces of their lives. It becomes my responsibility to provide them with experiences worthy of their time. In most of my teaching situations, I would see them again for the next class – but one never knows. I have had a handful of students who suddenly went missing-in-action due to family conflicts, emergencies, etc.
In terms of what this means in my teaching practices, I strive to bring magic and joy into my classroom. I want students to shiver with positive anticipation and energy when they enter class that day – not knowing exactly what to expect, but knowing it will be something exciting.
I reflect upon and assess my performance after each class session using the following questions to guide me:
- Did I express and/or show students that I cared deeply for them? Sandy Hook teacher, Kaitlin Roig, locked her and her first graders into a bathroom to protect them by the Sandy Hook shooting. She told reporters:
I need you to know that I love you all very much. I thought that was the last thing that they would ever hear. I thought we were all going to die. I don’t know if that was okay because, you know, teachers, but I wanted them to know someone loved them. I wanted that to be one of the l http://youtu.be/X4RzAQuH81Q
I was so proud of Kaitlin but it broke my heart that she thought it was not okay to tell her students that she loved them. I don’t use the word “love” easily but do tell my students I love them. I do give them hugs (even with all the admonishments about touching students.) I “preach” to my pre-service teachers that if you don’t love them, then find a different professional field.
- Did I put student needs above the need or desire to cover content? If the student(s) experienced emotional distress, did I stop the lesson instruction and spend time to discuss it? When studies are stopped to help students with some emotional problem they are experiencing, they are given a powerful message that they are important and worthy of class time.
- Did the students learn, do, and/or experience something new during class . . . a new aha . . . a new question . . . a new insight . . . a new interest . . . a new sense of personal power?
- Did the students experience joy, laughter, excitement, flow, astonishment during class time? I seek to create moments where students’ minds, emotions, bodies, hearts, and “souls” are congruent and present in the moment. For each time we are together, I attempt to create powerful, experiential, awe-inspiring instructional activities.
- Did the students feel being an important part of and connected to each other and the world? As is discussed in so much of the literature on human needs (e.g., Maslow), a sense of belonging is such a powerful, universal, and important human need. All of my class sessions include some form of peer-to-peer interaction and groupwork.
- If I lost my temper with the student(s), did I say I am sorry? I am human, I loose my temper. When I do, I also believe in and act upon making apologies. The situation dictates whether I do this in a who group setting or on a one-to-one with the student.
- As the students exited my classroom, did I make some kind connection with every student? My ritual, at the end of each class day, is give each individual student a high five and a smile as as they leave the classroom.
I work towards and have a desire for every student to leave each class session qualitatively different than when he or she came to class that day. This is a lofty goal but really adds to the creativity, engagement, and joy I attempt to infuse into each class session. I want each student to leave my classroom each day saying, “I was happy to be in class today.”
I want to loudly reinforce to my students of all time, “I love you.”
Module One – Powerful Learning Experiences
During this module, we will think about, explore, and discuss these areas:
- Qualities and characteristics of epic learning.
- Building a community and student engagement as prerequisites for a successful flipped classroom.
- Discussion: Discuss an Epic Learning Experience.
- What is an epic learning experience you had as a learner or facilitated as an educator? This is a learning experience that you would classify as a peak experience, being in a state of flow, and/or an epic win. (Note: It need not have occurred within a more formal educational setting. Learning occurs all the time in all types of settings.)
- What made your learning experience epic?
- Add a slide (image and statement) about your epic win to our Google Presentation at http://goo.gl/LS0DD
- Activity: Choose an artifact (photo, symbol) that represents peak learning experience or epic win (as related to #1). Be prepared to show and tell about it.
- Discussion: Brainstorming “What Questions Do You Have About the Flipped Classroom?” after reviewing resources.
- The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture
- Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education
- ebook The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture
Module Two – Experiential Engagement
During this module, we will think about, explore, and discuss these areas:
- Characteristics of Engagement
- A Rationale and Methods for Experiential Engagement
- Discussion: “How do you define and promote meaningful learning engagement?”
- Discussion: “How do you define experiential learning and how can you facilitate it in your own educational setting?” Experiential learning is loosely defined as authentic, hands-on, multi-sensory learning. Expand on this to include how you would define it in the context of your learners, educational setting, and content area. What are some general strategies you can use to facilitate experiential learning within your learning environment.
- Activity: The first phase of The Flipped Classroom – The Full Picture is engaging learners through an authentic, engaging experiential activity. Locate and list at least 10 experiential activities that you could use in your setting to engage your learners and motivate them to learn more about the content/topic. These can be activities selected from the resources found below, ones you’ve created, and/or other activities you’ve heard about/located.
- Meaningful, Engaged Learning
- Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement
- Flow – A Measure of Student Engagement
- Experiential education
- John Dewey: Education and Experience Synopsis
- Wilderdom Index to Group Activities, Games, Exercises & Initiatives
- Energizers® Classroom Physical Activities
- Steve Spangler Science
- Kitchen Science Experiments
- Pure Mathematics Project Ideas
- Experiential Mobile Learning
- Kennedy Center Artsedge Arts Activities
- 100 Incredible & Educational Virtual Tours You Don’t Want to Miss
- Phet – Interactive Science Experiments
- Google Earth Showcase
- Google Art Project
Module Three – Conceptual Connections
During this phase, learners are exposed to and learn concepts touched upon during Experiential Engagement. They explore what the experts have to say about the topic. Information is presented via video lecture, content-rich websites and simulations, and/or online text/readings. In the case of the flipped classroom as it is being currently discussed, this is the time in the learning cycle when the learners view content-rich videos. This is where and when videos are used to help students learn the abstract concepts related to the topic being covered. The role of the teacher, during this phase, is to offer the learners choices of video and related online content to learn the concepts being covered.
During this module, we will think about, explore, and discuss these areas:
- The Purpose and Function of Conceptual Engagement Within the Cycle of Learning
- The Role and Characteristics of Video Lectures and Other Online Material to Support Concept Development
- Discussion-Activity: “What purposes do lectures service in the classroom?” Be prepared to have a debate during around the question, Should lectures be used in face-to-face learning settings? A Mentormob playlist has been prepared with resources about this topic – http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/lectures-in-the-classroom. A forum on Debate.FM has also been set up – http://www.debate.fm/745454938/should-lectures-be-given-during-facetoface-class-time. (Note: Sometimes it is an interesting intellectual challenge to take what is known as a reasonable opposite, this is a position that is opposite of your own belief, but one that you can argue. It provides a prospective from the other side).
- Discussion: What are the characteristics or qualities that define a good video lecture?”
- Activity: The second phase of The Flipped Classroom – The Full Picture is assisting your learners to learn the concepts related to the topic being explored. Locate and list at least five videos or other online resources you could use in your setting to help your students learn more about the content/topic. These can be videos selected from the resources found below, ones you’ve created, and/or other activities you’ve heard about/located OR use a screencast tool to create a short video about your topic.
- Lectures in the Classroom- Opinion Pieces Mentormob Playlist
- Aggregates of Online Video Lectures – Mentormob Playlist
- Categorized Directory of Online Video Sites - http://tubeteaching.blogspot.com/p/video-directory.html
Module Four – Meaning Making Through Critical Reflection
During this module, we’ll discuss the third phase of The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture Based on an Experiential Cycle of Learning:
During this phase, learners reflect on their understanding of what was discovered during the previous phases. It is a phase of deep reflection on what was experienced during the first phase and what was learned via the experts during the second phase. Learners develop skills for reflective practice through discussing, reviewing, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing key learning through their experiential activities and exploration of expert commentaries.
I discussed the importance of reflection in a blog post, Where is reflection in the learning process?
Learners do not just receive information only at the time it is given; they absorb information in many different ways, often after the fact, through reflection. The most powerful learning often happens when students self-monitor, or reflect.
Students may not always be aware of what they are learning and experiencing. Teachers must raise students’ consciousness about underlying concepts and about their own reactions to these concepts. ETE Team
- Discussion: Discuss the following questions in a way that makes sense to you.
- What does it mean for you to be accountable? How do you demonstrate your own accountability in your educational setting? To your students? To your colleagues? To your institution? To your profession?
- What do you do to encourage students to be accountable for their own learning?
- How do you assess student learning?
- How to do assist your learners in identifying and acknowledging their own learning and progress?
- Discussion: Using the follow table as a guide, discuss your own philosophy regarding constructivism and how you promote learners constructing their own meaning in your educational setting.
- Activity: The third phase of The Flipped Classroom – The Full Picture is assisting your learners to reflect on what they experienced during the first phase and what they learned during the second, the concept exploration, phase. Discuss what reflective strategies you can use in your learning environment based on your content area interests-grade level.
During this phase, learners get to demonstrate what they learned and apply the material in a way that makes sense to them.
When students have multiple choices in ways to demonstrate their knowledge, the evidence of their learning is more accurate. We wanted the students to actually become the experts through the learning process. This assessment isn’t just a fancy term for a presentation at the end of a unit. To actually engage in an authentic celebration is to witness a true display of student understanding. (http://education.jhu.edu/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Assessment%20Alternatives/meyer_glock.htm)
This goes beyond reflection and personal understanding in that learners have to create something that is individualized and extends beyond the lesson with applicability to the learners’ everyday lives. Opportunities should be provided for students to, at the very least, make concrete plans how they will use the course content in other aspects of their lives.
- Contribute to the discussion, “How do you assess if your learners developed new habits of thinking and/or doing?”
- Contribute to the discussion, “What techniques do you use/can you use to assist students in transferring what they learned in your class to apply to other settings?” Discuss at least two.
- Complete Week 5 Activity: Celebration of Learning: Demonstration and Application of Learnings from This eCourse.
- Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong. Really. http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/everything-you-know-about-curriculum-may-be-wrong-really/
- A Technology-Enhanced Celebration of Learning – http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/a-technology-enhanced-celebration-of-learning/
- Celebration of Learning -
• Prepare a celebration of learning that symbolizes what you learned during this presentation and how you plan apply these learnings to your teaching.• Prepare a “sales pitch” for implementing the Flipped Classroom: The Full picture by either writing a two page paper, recording a 5 minute video (Youtube, Animoto, etc), or developing a image-rich 25 slide Powerpoint presentation.
Module Six – Exploring Your Own Topics, Concepts, and Connections
During this module, we’ll discuss and develop a foundation for The Flipped Classroom Lesson. The foundation is driven by essential questions and over-reaching concepts. This serves two purposes. First, it helps to insure that the concepts, as opposed to the technologies, are central to the learning process. Second, essential questions and over-reaching concepts provide touch points as the instructional activities for The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture are established.
- Discussion: Purpose of Essential Questions – Drawing from your own understanding and the unit resources, how would you describe essential questions and concept driven curriculum? How do or can essential questions drive your lesson planning?
- Activity: List two essential questions for the lesson you want to develop or modify for the flipped classroom the full picture.
- Assignment: Develop and post a concept map for your lesson. Include all the essential questions, and major concepts and skills you want you learners to acquire. Either through hand drawn or web tool (Inspiration, Creately, Mindomo), show the major connections of between the essential questions and major concepts.
- What’s the big Idea? by Grant Wiggins – http://www.authenticeducation.org/ae_bigideas/article.lasso?artid=99
- Essential Questions – http://questioning.org/mar05/essential.html
- Understanding by Design: Essential Questions – http://www.huffenglish.com/?p=363
- Essential Questions Prezi – http://prezi.com/7q8zgwquxlpd/copy-of-essential-questions/
- Use of Visual Maps -http://agilitrix.com/2010/10/thought-you-were-a-good-trainer-guess-again/
- Concept Mapping in the Classroom by Kathy Schrock – http://www.schrockguide.net/concept-mapping.html
Module Seven – Lesson Planning: Developing a Natural Cycle of Learning
During this module, you’ll be putting the learning activities you located and developed in the first half of the course into the Flipped Classroom: The Full Classroom framework. The result will be a lesson based on a natural cycle of learning using videos and media to support student learning.
- Discussion: What obstacles do you foresee facing when trying to implement The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture based on an experiential model of learning?
- Activity: Using the template, flipped%20classroom%20template.pptx, list the learning activities for the lesson you began in the previous module. List activities for each phase of The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture. Substitute your learning activities for each of the “directions” within each quadrant. It is a PPT slide as it permits easier use of graphics. Upload your PPT slide or as a PDF.
- Experiential Learning Cycle – http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/sgitc/read2.htm
- The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture
- Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education
- ebook The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture
- The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Tinkering and Maker Education – http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/the-flipped-classroom-the-full-picture-for-tinkering-and-maker-education/
- Mobile Learning and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture – http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/mobile-learning-and-the-flipped-classroom-the-full-picture//a>
Module Eight – Lesson Planning: Embellishing on Your Learning Activities
As you discovered when you were working through your flipped classroom lesson, there are phases of the cycles that caused you some problems. Most educators have some problems thinking about, locating, creating learning activities in one or more of the phases. As such, this week, using checklists and peer evaluations, we will examine how your learning activities can be expanded and enhanced.
- Discussion: As you discovered when you were working through your flipped classroom lesson, there are phases of the cycles that caused you some problems. Most educators have some problems thinking about, locating, creating learning activities for one of more of the phases. Which one(s) gave you some problems?
- Discussion: This week you will get some feedback from your peers about your lesson plan. Where and how in your everyday work setting do you bounce ideas and get feedback about your instructional strategies?
- Assignment: Using the checklists provided, provide feedback for two of your co-learners. Insure that you address each phase of the cycle in your feedback,
- Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture Lesson Plan Evaluation Checklist (downloadbale document)
- Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning
Module Nine – Assessments, Evaluation, and Developing a Change Mindset
Implementing The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture is obviously more complex than some to the simpler lesson plan models that teacher use. As such, when implementing this lesson plan, you should build in formative assessments and evaluations throughout the cycle to help insure that:
- The learning activities are achieving desired results.
- Students are getting ongoing feedback about their performance.
- Group Satisfaction Assessments
- Exit Tickets
- Journal Entries
- Research Notes
- Graphic or Visual Notes
- Developing Questions
- Use of Graphic Organizers
- Exit Slips
- Peer Assessments
- Interviews – Being Interviewed
- Documenting Processes
- Evidence of Personal Meaning/Usefulness
- Analysis of Use of Resources
- Exit Slips
Demonstration and Applications
- Rubrics – both teacher-generated and student generated.
- Creating, Collaborating, Verifying, Summarizing
- Synthesizing Performances
- Error Analysis
(Ideas gathered from 4MAT)
- Discussion: What does authentic assessment mean to you? How do you build authentic assessments in your daily lessons?
- Discussion: The use of technology and the flipped classroom methods often ask the educator to try out new things in the classroom. How do you/will you evaluate the efficacy of the learning activities during the cycle of learning? What will/can you do if you find the learning activities are not achieving desired results?
- Assignment: Implementing The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture is obviously more complex than some to the simpler lesson plan models that teacher use. As such, when implementing this lesson plan, you should build in formative assessments and evaluations throughout the cycle to help insure that:
- The learning activities are achieving desired results.
- Students are getting ongoing feedback about their performance.
For this assignment, identify the types of assessments you plan to use during each phase of the cycle.
Module Ten - Personal Integration and Celebrating Integrations
It is the final module of the workshop. It is a time for reflection and establishing the “What’s Next”.
- Assignment: Develop a personal integration plan for future lesson planning that includes significant learnings from the past nine modules. What specific action steps do you plan to take to enhance your lesson plans due to things you discovered during this course? Please list at least 10.
- Assignment: Use one of the following Web 2.0 tools to visually/metaphorically describe The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture -
I started off my journey as an educator in experiential education. For about a decade I was member of and attended the annual Association for Experiential Education (AEE) Conference. Their vision is:
Our vision is to contribute to making a more just and compassionate world by transforming education. Our mission is to develop and promote experiential education. We are committed to supporting professional development, theoretical advancement and the evaluation of experiential education worldwide.
This group of educators preaches, promotes, and practices the tenets of John Dewey and Kurt Hahn. They design learning experiences that are hands-on, learner-centric, group-focused, and service-oriented. As a young educator, I was excited to have found my tribe. I needed this educational network even back then as public schools have a history of being didactic and curriculum-text-test driven. I found other educators who had similar pedagogical beliefs and instructional practices.
My teaching still focuses on experiential learning, but I began integrating technology as a means to enhance the learning experiences. As such, I discovered and re-established my educational network through Twitter, Virtual Conferences and Webinars (Classroom 2.0 Live, The Global Education Conference, The Future of Education) and face-to-face educational technology driven conferences (ISTE, DML, EdCon).
Last year, I integrated mobile learning into my undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations. I used a lot of activities I learned through my early days in experiential education, but added a mobile element to them. The results were very exciting, see:
- Technology Driven Community Building Activities – http://community-building.weebly.com/
- Mobile Learning: End of Course Student Survey Part II – http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/mobile-learning-end-of-course-student-survey-part-ii/
Recently, I became loosely reconnected with AEE by following them on Twitter and Facebook. I noticed a lack of technology integration and social-educational networking by its members. Coming from a mentality that when promoting technology integration, we must begin where the educators are at, I thought that presenting at this year’s AEE conference might help members of the organization see the value of technology integration. The activities I use for experiential mobile learning are familiar to the members. They just have the added enhancement of technology integration.
My workshop got accepted and I presented it to about 20 educators. They laughed, played, bonded, and created. See photos from the workshop:
I was excited to see the close to 100% engagement throughout the workshop until I get to the final reflection. To end my workshops, I do a go-around the circle inviting participants to describe how they might use the workshop activities in their own learning settings. Many of the participants questioned and criticized the use of technology in schools. “Kids will abuse it.” “Our IT department has shown us all of the non-student friendly parts of the internet.” “Technologies are not stable enough.” A few did “get it” . . . The 30 something teacher said, “I thought I knew technology but need to get more up-to-date,” . . . The 21 year old college student who said, “This is natural to me. I wish more of my college teachers would use technology,” . . . The twenty-something French Canadian teacher who stated that she can’t wait to try these with her French class. The workshop evaluations were less than stellar (not poor but not great either) and confirmed their skepticism about educational technology. I was extremely grateful for one comment on an evaluation that stated, “It was great to have some new activities at the conference.” Their negativity and critical responses took its toll on me especially given the amount of energy, passion, and excitement I put into my workshops
As I feared, they are not my tribe any longer. I not only mourned the loss of this tribe, who meant so much to me earlier in my life, but also mourned that this organization cannot transform education, as per their mission, as long as members remain in their like-minded educational network bubble.
The questions that have emerged from this experience include:
- So do I teach and present to those who are already or partially converted to the power of technology to enhance learning; or focus on those who may have a solid/progressive pedagogy but are technology skeptics in hopes that a few of those educators see its power?
- If I do decide to save myself the emotional toll of critics and naysayers, am I doing the same thing as the members of the Association of Experiential Education – staying with like-minded educators, staying safe within my own educational networking bubble?
- Do these educational networking bubbles actually do the opposite of their intended visions – hinder advancements in educational reform rather than promote them?
- Is my passion and excitement for educational technology perceived by others, who are not “converted,” as being too zealous resulting in the opposite results – a turn-off rather than a turn-on (double meaning intended – turn-on the technology).
Whichever direction I choose to go, I grateful for the opportunity to connect, share, and get support from my human-humane network . . . which has become so much more to me than just a social network.