User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Posts Tagged ‘flipped classroom

Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education

with 19 comments

The Flipped Classroom, as most know, has become quite the buzz in education.  Its use in higher education has been given a lot of press recently.  The purpose of this post is to:

  1. Provide background for this model of learning with a focus on its use in higher education.
  2. Identify some problems with its use and implementation that if not addressed, could become just a fading fad.
  3. Propose a model for implementation based on an experiential cycle of learning model.

Background About the Flipped Classroom

This first section provides information from various articles that describe the flipped classroom, and how it is being discussed and used in educational settings.

In its simplest terms, the flipped classroom is about viewing and/or listening to lectures during one’s own time which frees up face-to-face class time for experiential exercises, group discussion, and question and answer sessions.

It’s called “the flipped classroom.” While there is no one model, the core idea is to flip the common instructional approach.  With teacher-created videos and interactive lessons, instruction that used to occur in class is now accessed at home, in advance of class. Class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning. Most importantly, all aspects of instruction can be rethought to best maximize the scarcest learning resource—time. Flipped classroom teachers almost universally agree that it’s not the instructional videos on their own, but how they are integrated into an overall approach, that makes the difference (The Flipped Classroom by Bill Tucker).

Several trends have converged that are influencing how classes should be taught within higher education settings.

The first is technological innovation, which has made it easier to distribute lectures by the world’s leading instructors. Some faculty members wonder whether it still makes sense to deliver a lecture when students can see the same material covered more authoritatively and engagingly—and at their own pace and on their own schedule.

At the same time, policy makers, scholars, advocacy groups, and others who seek to improve higher education want to see more evidence that students are truly learning in college.  Cognitive scientists determined that people’s short-term memory is very limited – it can only process so much at once. A lot of the information presented in a typical lecture comes at students too fast and is quickly forgotten. (How ‘Flipping’ the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture).

Physics education researchers determined that the traditional lecture-based physics course where students sit and passively absorb information is not an effective way for students to learn. A lot of students can repeat the laws of physics and even solve complex problems, but many are doing it through rote memorization. Most students who complete a standard physics class never understand what the laws of physics mean, or how to apply them to real-world situations. (http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/tomorrows-college/lectures/rethinking-teaching.html)

Sal Khan, of the Khan Academy, states:

There was nothing practical that anyone could do about this broken “learning” model until recently. But we can now deliver on-demand content to any student for nearly zero incremental cost. The video content can be paused and repeated as needed.  Students can focus on exactly what they need to know. They don’t have to be embarrassed to fill in remedial gaps. They don’t need to take notes. Crucially, the lectures can be given by superb communicators, with a deep, intuitive understanding of the material.

Ten years from today, students will be learning at their own pace.  The classroom will be a place for active interaction, not passive listening and daydreaming. The role of the teacher will be that of a mentor or coach as opposed to a lecturer, test writer, and grader. The institutions that will remain relevant will be those that leverage this paradigm, not fight it.

There are a number of higher education initiatives that are seeking to go beyond the lecture and flip the classroom.

Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean for medical education at the School of Medicine, teamed with Chip Heath, PhD, a professor of organizational behavior, to design and use the Flipped Classroom with a core biochemistry course.

This year, our core biochemistry course at Stanford Medical School was redesigned following this model; rather than a standard lecture-based format, the instructors provided short online presentations. Class time was used for interactive discussions of clinical vignettes highlighting the biochemical bases of various diseases. The proportion of student course reviews that were positive increased substantially from the previous year. And the percentage of students who attended class shot up from about 30% to 80% — even though class attendance was optional (Lecture Halls without Lectures — A Proposal for Medical Education by Charles G. Prober).

Eric Mazur, a Harvard Physics teacher, has gained popularity due to changing his teaching methods.   The following are excerpts from the Harvard Magazine article, Twilight of the Lecture.

To Mazur’s consternation, the simple test of conceptual understanding showed that his students had not grasped the basic ideas of his physics course.  “In a traditional physics course, two months after taking the final exam, people are back to where they were before taking the course,” Mazur notes. “It’s shocking.”

Sitting passively and taking notes is just not a way of learning. Yet lectures are 99 percent of how we teach!

Active learners take new information and apply it, rather than merely taking note of it. Firsthand use of new material develops personal ownership. When subject matter connects directly with students’ experiences, projects, and goals, they care more about the material they seek to master.

Taking active learning seriously means revamping the entire teaching/learning enterprise—even turning it inside out or upside down. For example, active learning overthrows the “transfer of information” model of instruction, which casts the student as a dry sponge who passively absorbs facts and ideas from a teacher. This model has ruled higher education for 600 years, since the days of the medieval Schoolmen who, in their lectio mode, stood before a room reading a book aloud to the assembly—no questions permitted. The modern version is the lecture.

“I think the answer to this challenge is to rethink the nature of the college course, to consider it as a different kind of animal these days,” he continues. “A course can be a communication across time about a discrete topic, with a different temporal existence than the old doing-the-homework-for-the-lecture routine. Students now tap into a course through different media; they may download materials via its website, and even access a faculty member’s research and bio. It’s a different kind of communication between faculty and students. Websites and laptops have been around for years now, but we haven’t fully thought through how to integrate them with teaching so as to conceive of courses differently.”

Personal Experiences

I began my teaching career in the field of experiential education – the focus, obviously, is on learning by doing.  My first job in higher education was as an instructor of Outdoor Education at Unity College in Maine.  I knew from past experiences as an experiential, outdoor educator for at-risk youth, and from my desire to create classrooms that I wished I had as a student, that lectures would not be part of my classroom strategies.  Theoretical content learning would occur as homework during the students’ time. Face-to-face classroom time would be spent putting the theory into practice.  In the twenty-plus years I have been in higher education, students were given course content to review and study at home.  Since I never valued the textbook as the best means for delivering that content (they are edited books based on one or two authors’ perspectives), I started by providing them with compendiums of theme/content-related articles, later lists of web links to articles, and currently adding video lectures to those lists.  Students are not required to read nor view all of the suggested web resources. The list offers a menu of learning possibilities.  Class time, as I’ve said, is then used to put the theory into practice.  These experiences include group problem-solving and team building games, simulations, case study reviews, and group discussions.

Use and Implementation Problems with the Flipped Classroom

Two noteworthy problems exist when thinking about using the flipped classroom in higher education settings.

  1. If video lectures drive the instruction, it is just a repackaging of a more traditional model of didactic learning.  It is not a new paradigm nor pedagogy of learning.
  2. Educators need to be re-educated as to what to do with the class time that previously was used for their lectures.

Repackaging Old Paradigms

As Cathy Davidson noted in Why Flip The Classroom When We Can Make It Do Cartwheels?

In some ways, the flipped model is an improvement. Research shows that tailored tutoring is more effective than lectures for understanding, mastery, and retention. But the flipped classroom doesn’t come close to preparing students for the challenges of today’s world and workforce. As progressive educational activist Alfie Kohn notes, great teaching isn’t just about content but motivation and empowerment. Real learning gives you the mental habits, practice, and confidence to know that, in a crisis, you can count on yourself to learn something new.

The flipped classroom isn’t likely to change the world. Energized, connected, engaged, global, informed, dedicated, activist learning just might.  Transformative, connected knowledge isn’t a thing–it’s an action, an accomplishment, a connection that spins your world upside down, then sets you squarely on your feet, eager to whirl again. It’s a paradigm shift.

Harvard Professor Chris Dede stated in his Global Education 2011 keynote in response to a question directed about the flipped classroom . . .

I think that the flipped classroom is an interesting idea if you want to do learning that is largely based on presentation. You use presentation outside of the classroom. Then you do your understanding of the presentation and further steps from the presentation inside the classroom. I think it is a step forward. It is still, in my mind, the old person.  It’s still starting with presentational learning and then trying to sprinkle some learning-by-doing on top of it.  I am interested more in moving beyond the flipped classroom to learning by doing at the center than a kind of the intermediate step that still centers on largely on tacit assimilation.

What am I supposed to do with class time that was once used for lectures?

In The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture, I discussed that a problem with flipping the classroom is that educators, who are used to and trained in using class time for lectures, do not know how to transition from a lecture-based classroom to one that includes more student-centered activities.  The message being given to teachers is that when students review the lectures on their own time, the teachers now have time to do whatever they want during class time. A major roadblock or barrier to the implementation of this model is that many educators do not know what to do within the classroom, with that “whatever they want to do” time.  For educators, who are used to and use the didactic model, a framework is needed to assist them with the implementation of the Flipped Classroom.

This problem is especially relevant in higher education where faculty are hired based on their content expertise not their expertise in being facilitators of learning.

There are many reasons professors who lecture don’t want to give it up. Tradition may be the mightiest force. A lot of them are not excited about the idea that they might have to move out of their comfort zone.

Professors stick with traditional approaches because they don’t know much about alternatives. Few get training or coaching on how to teach. It’s kind of ironic that professors don’t have any type of training in any way, shape or form. It’s the only teaching degree that you don’t need to go through any actual training in teaching to do. (http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/tomorrows-college/lectures/inventing-new-college.html)

The Experiential Flipped Classroom Model: Foundation

This section describes a model of flipped classroom learning that addresses the concerns just discussed.  It incorporates the use of videos and other online content in the flipped classroom fashion described by current proponents but also includes methods, strategies, and activities for the face-to-face and/or synchronous class time.

Basic Tenets

The tenets that drive The Experiential Flipped Classroom Model are:

  • The learners need to be personally connected to the topic.  Student engagement is the key to learning.  This is more likely to occur through engaging experiential activities.
  • Informal learning today is connected, instantaneous, and personalized.  Students should have similar experiences in their more formal learning environments.
  • Almost all content-related knowledge can be found online through videos, podcasts, and online interactives, and is more often better conveyed through these media than by classroom teachers.
  • Learning institutions are no longer the gatekeepers to information.  Anyone with connections to the internet has access to high level, credible content.
  • Lectures in any form, face-to-face, videos, transcribed, or podcasts, should support learning not drive it nor be central to it.
  • And from Doug Holton, “Lectures do still have a place and can be more effective if given in the right contexts, such as after (not before) students have explored something on their own (via a lab experience, simulation, game, field experience, analyzing cases, etc.) and developed their own questions and a ‘need to know.'” (http://edtechdev.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/whats-the-problem-with-moocs/)
  • A menu of learning acquisition and demonstration options should be provided throughout the learning cycle.
  • The educator becomes a facilitator and tour guide of learning possibilities – offering these possibilities to the learners and then getting out of the way.

Foundational Learning Theories

Along with the tenets above, the Experiential Flipped Classroom Model has it roots in several theories.  Older models of experiential learning can be updated to include technology tools and build off of the tenets proposed for the flipped classroom model.

Experiential Learning Cycle

The Experiential Learning Cycle models emphasize that the nature of experience is of fundamental importance and concern in education and training.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to structure and organize a series of experiences which positively influence each individual’s potential future experiences.  In other words, “good experiences” motivate, encourage, and enable students to go on to have more valuable learning experiences. Experiential Learning Cycles can be seen as providing a semi-structured approach.  There is relative freedom to go ahead in activity and “experience”, but the educator also commits to structuring other stages, usually involving some form of planning or reflection, so that “raw experience” is package with facilitated cognitive (usually) thinking about the experience.  (http://wilderdom.com/experiential/elc/ExperientialLearningCycle.htm)

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle

David A. Kolb (with Roger Fry) created his famous experiential learning circle that involves (1) concrete experience followed by (2) observation and experience followed by (3) forming abstract concepts followed by (4) testing in new situations. (http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-explrn.htm)

For more information, see http://www.ldu.leeds.ac.uk/ldu/sddu_multimedia/kolb/kolb_flash.htm

The 4Mat System

4MAT® System is a teaching model which combines the fundamental principles of several long-standing theories of personal development with current research on human brain function and learning. 4MAT is a process for delivering instruction in a way that appeals to all types of learners and engages, informs, allows for practice and creative use of material learned within each lesson. A very important component of this method is the need for teachers/instructors to understand and present their material conceptually, presenting the big picture, and the meaning and relevance of material to be learned.  The instructional events of the 4MAT system can be divided into four categories: orientation, presentation, practice, and extension/evaluation.

See http://www.aboutlearning.com/what-is-4mat for more information about the 4MAT model.

The Experiential Flipped Classroom Model

What follows is an explanation of the Flipped Classroom Model, a model where the video lectures, screencasts, and vodcasts fall within a larger framework of learning activities.

Experiential Engagement: The Experience

The cycle often begins with an experiential exercise.  This is an authentic, often hands-on, learning activity that fully engages the student.   It is a concrete experience that calls for attention by most, if not all, the senses.  According to McCarthy, learning activities are designed that are immersive.  Learners “experience the now.”  They become hooked through and motivated by personal connection to the experience, and a desire to create meaning for and about that experience (ala constructivist learning).

These are teacher generated and facilitated.  They work best during classroom time.  These are those “what to do with the time that used to be filled with lectures” class activities.

The options for experiential engagement are limitless.   Again, the goal is to offer an engaging and authentic learning activity that introduces learners to the course topic, that creates a desire for them to want to learn more. Options include:

Facilitating experiential activities may be tricky, at first, for those who have never led them.  Experiential activities are often used for organizational development and corporate training.  As such, those new to their use can get ideas for the how-to facilitation through business related websites:

There are also some options for online courses:

Concept Exploration: The What


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.

Some video archives and related online resources that may be of value in higher education include:

Teachers can also record their own lectures for student viewing.  Some tools to do so include:

(Note:  Describing the specific technologies that one can use to record one’s own lectures is not the intent of this post.  I recommend doing further research to decide which tools would be most appropriate.)

Free online courses by major universities also offer some materials that can be used to assist students in developing an understanding content-related knowledge:

Part of this phase can include an online chat for asking and addressing questions about the content presented via the videos, podcasts, websites.  Through online “chat” areas, learners can ask questions and post thoughts and opinions.   Responses can  then be provided by co-learners and educators.

  • TitanPad
  • TodaysMeet
  • Google Docs
  • Elluminate, Adobe Connect or Blackboard Collaborate Rooms with chat functions
  • Obviously, in a face-to-face setting, students can bring their questions into the real time environment where questions and answer periods become part of the in class activities.

Meaning Making: The So What

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

During this phase, the educator can demonstrate reflection strategies and offer choices for student reflections, but the focus should be on the learner constructing his or her understanding of the topic.  Learners can articulate and construct their understanding of the content or topic being covered through a variety of technology tools:

Within the standard school system where testing is the expectation, this would be the phase when students are tested about their understanding of the content.  If this is the case, it is recommended that the tests target higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – evaluation, applying, synthesizing.

Demonstration and Application: The Now What

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.

This is in line with the highest level of learning within Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Learning – Creating – whereby the learner creates a new product or point of view. In essence, they become the storytellers of their learning (See Narratives in the 21st Century: Narratives in Search of Contexts).  A list of technology-enhanced ideas/options for the celebration of learning can be found at: https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/a-technology-enhanced-celebration-of-learning/

Here is a slideshow of former students’ Demonstration and Application projects and presentations.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Examples included:

  • A ten commandments of teaching strategies.
  • A calendar where each month had reminders of application ideas.
  • A Minecraft video of what was learned and how it is being applied in his life.
  • A Medicine Wheel by a Zuni student about how the course concepts applied to the Native American culture.

Flipped Classroom Full Picture: An Example Lesson

An example on how this model was used in a blended undergraduate course can be found at Flipped Classroom Full Picture: An Example Lesson.

Summary

The Flipped Classroom offers a great use of technology – especially if it gets lecture out of the classrooms and into the hands and control of the learners.  As it is being discussed, it is part of a larger picture of teaching and learning.  The Flipped Classroom videos have a place in the models and cycles of learning proposed by educational psychologists and  instructional designers.  Providing educators with a full framework of how the Flipped Classroom can be used in their educational settings will increase its validity for educators and their administrators.

A Review of Sal Khan and Khan Academy

leave a comment »

I had the opportunity to hear Sal Khan speak live at the Boise, Idaho Ed Sessions on May 1. This post is not a description of Khan Academy.   A lot has been written about Sal Khan and Khan Academy.   What I provide here is a short review of what I find to be the strengths and drawbacks of Khan Academy as a model of education.

Khan Academy’s Vision and Mission

Sal Khan and Khan Academy have a great vision of providing resources to all.  The goal of the Khan Academy is to use technology to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.  Khan Academy does not charge nor do they plan to charge for their services.

He prides himself on showing testimonials of the use of Khan videos from around the globe.

I see want to see a world that we tap into the potential of kids. I want Khan Academy to provide a love of learning. Sal Khan

The Ability to Learn Content Based on One’s Own Time and Need

A strength of content-based videos, not just from Khan Academy, is that people can view them during their own time frame, reviewing parts that are of particular interest or to develop greater understanding.  Sal Khan emphasized this point during his talk.  He described how students in our traditional education system are provided with an instructional unit and then tested.  Then the next unit is taught.  But what happens to those students who tested lower on a unit?  They are asked to move on even though they have not achieved proficiency.  This often results in the student failing to fully understand the concepts, often giving up and feeling like a failure.

Sal Khan stresses that learning content should be based on the students’ timing.  It is based on knowledge acquisition and gaining proficiencies.

There was one young man in the audience who held up a I Love Sal Khan sign prior to and after the presentation.  This enthusiastic young man summed up his love of Sal Khan.

Critiques

Content-Driven Model

It is a content driven model with an end state or outcome being the acquisition of the knowledge about something . . . about math, . . . about science . . . about history.  Learning the “how-to” processes such as those related to innovation, creativity, digital literacy, searching/evaluating content are not part of Khan’s educational model.

Data-Driven Assessments

Khan developed a dashboard for students and teachers to track their progress through the website’s Knowledge Map.  Teachers and coaches can access all of their students’ data. Teachers can get a summary of class performance as a whole or dive into a particular student’s profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic (http://www.khanacademy.org/about).

I believe a quiz model of assessment has limited value except for assessing the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – understanding and comprehension.  Students aren’t assessed via the Khan Academy model for their ability to apply the concepts to a variety of scenarios, to evaluate and critique the ideas, and to create new ways of using the concepts in the real world.

Face-to-Face, Classroom Time

Sal Khan emphasized that watching the content videos frees up the class time to do more experiential learning, group discussion, and question-answer sessions.  He repeatedly used the example that during a summer camp that he facilitated, the kids played the board game, Risk, to learn about stock trading.  The video example of classroom setting he used showed all of the kids on their own laptops viewing the Khan Academy videos.

I discussed in The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture, that a problem is that educators, who are used to and trained in using class time for lectures, do not know how to transition from a lecture-based classroom to one that includes other student-centered activities.

A major roadblock or barrier to the implementation of this model is that many educators do not know what to do within the classroom, what to do with that “whatever they want to do” time.  For educators, who are used to and use the didactic model, a framework is needed to assist them with the implementation of the Flipped Classroom.  In other words, the message to teachers to do what they want during classroom is not enough to make this transition.

Khan Academy often produces some emotional reactions by educators – on both ends of the spectrum, from believing this model will produce an educational revolution to the other end with educators totally dismissing it as just a restructuring of traditional pedagogy.  Sal Khan is a good guy with great intentions.  It is important to review all new educational approaches with an open mind while at the same time with a critical eye.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

May 3, 2012 at 1:03 am

Is the Educational Revolution About Videos: Ted-Ed and Khan Academy?

with 7 comments

The Ted-Ed website was introduced today and received a lot of press coverage:

Prior to going into my critique of this so-called educational revolution, I am giving this disclaimer, I love TED and love the videos being produced by Ted-Ed.

Khan Academy and the new Ted-Ed website are being touted to create an educational revolution.  What I am concerned about is the underlying pedagogy of Ted-Ed and Khan Academy.  I love listening to a good talk and talking about it afterwards, but does it change my thoughts and/or behavior? Typically not.  Grant Wiggins’ recent post, Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong. Really discusses this point:

The point of learning is not just to know things but to be a different person – more mature, more wise, more self-disciplined, more effective, and more productive in the broadest sense.

In the flipped classroom, as it is being discussed, the videos, instead of a live teacher, are at the core of the learning process, become the venue for the didactic presentation.  The explanation of the flipped classroom provided on the Ted-Ed website . . .

The [flipped classroom] refers to a method of instruction where classroom-based teaching time and traditional “homework” time are reversed (flipped). A teacher provides video lessons to be reviewed outside of class, which in turn gives teachers more time in class to focus on higher-order learning skills.

. . . and from the Mashable article:

When a teacher flips the classroom, they assign lectures to watch at home and save class time for working on homework together. When a teacher flips a video, they add supplemental content such as questions and additional resources.

The TED-Ed website has a suite of tools that allow teachers to design their own web-assisted curricula, complete with videos, comprehension-testing questions, and conversational tools.   The Think and Digging Deeper questions are, I assume, prompts or guides for the higher level thinking.  The use of lectures, quizzes, and questions to teach and for students to demonstrate learning is a Eurocentric, consumption-based model of education. There is value in linguistic-oriented and Socratic method (adding reflective questions and discussion) of teaching but it does not honor learning-by-doing.  Tinkering and experimenting; engaging in the arts; going out into the community; tapping into students’ talents, interests and passions are not part learning process.

Harvard Professor Chris Dede believes of the flipped classroom . . .

I think that the flipped classroom is an interesting idea if you want to do learning that is largely based on presentation. You use presentation outside of the classroom. Then you do your understanding of the presentation and further steps from the presentation inside the classroom. I think it is a step forward. It is still, in my mind, the old person.  It’s still starting with presentational learning and then trying to sprinkle some learning-by-doing on top of it.  I am interested more in moving beyond the flipped classroom to learning by doing at the center than a kind of the intermediate step that still centers on largely on tacit assimilation (https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/flipped-classroom-full-picture-an-example-lesson/).

I proposed The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture as a way to get educators’ attention given the press this model is receiving.  I did so in an attempt to encourage educators take the resources and opportunities that technology (including the use of videos) affords to truly create a learning revolution, one that is constructivist, student-centric, hands-on, and passion-based.

Conclusions

So are Sal Khan and Ted-Ed initiatives really going to disrupt education, create a learning revolution?  It sounds a bit like Thomas Edison’s thoughts about how film would change education.

It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture. Our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years. (http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/02/15/books-obsolete/)

I do see a use for high production, high interest videos but to support a student’s learning not to direct it.  There is where the flipped classroom and the Ted-Ed, Khan, and other videos have value – to reinforce and add to a student’s learning – not be central to it.  TED is about ideas worth sharing.  I am curious if the kids, after being directed through the Ted-Ed lessons, will develop and spread their own ideas with their peers.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

April 26, 2012 at 12:41 am

Dutch Version of The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

leave a comment »

Kennisnet translated my model of The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture into Dutch.

Kennisnet‘s purpose is:

Kennisnet is the public educational organisation which supports and inspires Dutch primary, secondary and vocational institutions in the effective use of ict. Kennisnet ensures that educational institutions are aware and take advantage of the opportunities offered by ict. Research has shown that, for the use of ict for educational purposes, a balanced and coherent use of four building blocks is essential. These blocks are: vision, expertise, digital learning materials and ict infrastructure. Kennisnet facilitates the schools to achieve this. Barriers are removed and the strengths of the educational sector are bundled together.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

April 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Flipped Classroom Full Picture: An Example Lesson

with 6 comments

The flipped classroom, as it is currently being described and publicized, is simply recording the didactic content information via videos, having students view these as homework, and then using class time to further discuss these ideas.

Harvard Professor Chris Dede stated in his Global Education 2011 keynote in response to a question directed about the flipped classroom . . .

I think that the flipped classroom is an interesting idea if you want to do learning that is largely based on presentation. You use presentation outside of the classroom. Then you do your understanding of the presentation and further steps from the presentation inside the classroom. I think it is a step forward. It is still, in my mind, the old person.  It’s still starting with presentational learning and then trying to sprinkle some learning-by-doing on top of it.  I am interested more in moving beyond the flipped classroom to learning by doing at the center than a kind of the intermediate step that still centers on largely on tacit assimilation.

As I describe in The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture, I believe, as Chris Dede does, that the problem with the flipped classroom is that the major focus is on the didactic presentation of information, that it is still at the center of the learning experience.  The flipped classroom, given that is currently getting so much press, provides an opportunity to change the paradigm of learning, whereby learning–by-doing, the experiences along with the understanding and application of those experiences become core to the learning process.

The following lesson describes a type of flipped classroom.  This lesson did not center around the content media, in this case the Slideshare, but on the students’ personal experiences, interactions with other students, and acquisition of tangible life skills.

Interpersonal Communications: Listening Skills

Experiential Engagement: The Activity

The cycle often begins with an experiential exercise.  This is an authentic, often hands-on learning activity that fully engages the student.   It is a concrete experience that calls for attention by most, if not all, the senses.   They become hooked through personal connection to the experience and desire to create meaning for and about that experience (ala constructivist learning).

For this lesson, the learners started off with the Lighthouse activity, where in partner teams, the sited person led his or her blindfolded partner through a series of obstacles.  The goal of this part of the lesson was to provide an experience that overtly demonstrated the importance of listening – especially when the sense of sight is taken away.

         

Conceptual Connections: The What

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 like PHET 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.  The videos support the experiential learning rather than being at the center of the learning experience.

In this lesson, the learners were asked to view and review the following slideshare via their own computer terminals.

The benefit of this form of personalized viewing is that the learners have control of the media so they can view it at their own pace – spending more time on the concepts they need to further review or of which have special, personal interest.  Use of their own computers also permit them to search for more information about a given topic.

Meaning Making: The So What

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 can articulate and construct their understanding of the content or topic being covered through written blogs or verbal-based audio or video recordings.

For this lesson, the learners made a personal connection with the content as they were asked to identify the 10 listening skills they believed they needed to further develop.  This also became a technology-enhanced lesson. Learners made a mind map of their identified 10 skills that included: (1) the skill, (2) normal and current behaviors associated with the skill, and (3) goals and steps for improvement.

  

Demonstration and Application: The Now What

During this phase, learners get to demonstrate what they learned and apply the material in a way that makes sense to them. 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.  This is in line with the highest level of learning within Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Learning – Creating – whereby the learner creates a new product or point of view. In essence, they become the storytellers of their learning (See Narratives in the 21st Century: Narratives in Search of Contexts).  A list of technology-enhanced ideas/options for the celebration of learning can be found at: https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/a-technology-enhanced-celebration-of-learning/

Part One

The learners practiced their active listening skills during class time.  Feedback was provided to the listener via their mobile devices using Celly.  See the full description at Students’ Own Mobile Devices and Celly Provide Peer Feedback.

      

   

Part Two

The learners located a professional in their area of study to interview.  Their interview questions focused on the communication skills expected of those in that profession.  Their homework was driven by real-life experiences going out to speak with a professional in their communities.  The professional was asked to complete an evaluation of the student’s performance during the interview. Homework was designed to further promote the applicability, transferability, and relevancy of this lesson.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

November 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture

with 90 comments

Due to Khan Academy’s popularity, the idea of the flipped classroom has gained press and credibility within education circles. Briefly, the Flipped Classroom as described by Jonathan Martin is:

Flip your instruction so that students watch and listen to your lectures… for homework, and then use your precious class-time for what previously, often, was done in homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, researching, collaborating, crafting and creating. Classrooms become laboratories or studios, and yet content delivery is preserved. Flip your instruction so that students watch and listen to your lectures… for homework, and then use your precious class-time for what previously, often, was done in homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, researching, collaborating, crafting and creating. Classrooms become laboratories or studios, and yet content delivery is preserved (http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/3367).

A compiled resource page of the Flipped Classroom (with videos and links) can be found at http://www.scoop.it/t/the-flipped-classroom

The advantage of the flipped classroom is that the content, often the theoretical/lecture-based component of the lesson, becomes more easily accessed and controlled by the learner. Cisco in a recent white paper, Video: How Interactivity and Rich Media Change Teaching and Learning, presents the benefits of video in the classroom:

  • Establishes dialogue and idea exchange between students, educators, and subject matter experts regardless of locations.
  • Lectures become homework and class time is used for collaborative student work, experiential exercises, debate, and lab work.
  • Extends access to scarce resources, such as specialized teachers and courses, to more students, allowing them to learn from the best sources and maintain access to challenging curriculum.
  • Enables students to access courses at higher-level institutions, allowing them to progress at their own pace.
  • Prepares students for a future as global citizens. Allows them to meet students and teachers from around the world to experience their culture, language, ideas, and shared experiences.
  • Allows students with multiple learning styles and abilities to learn at their own pace and through traditional models.

One of the major, evidenced-based advantages of the use of video is that learners have control over the media with the ability to review parts that are misunderstood, which need further reinforcement, and/or those parts that are of particular interest.  (Using technology to give students “control of their interactions” has a positive effect on student learning,)

It is important, though, not to be seduced by the messenger.  Sal Khan is very charismatic and has produced good videos to explain some complex mathematical concepts.  With the growth of open education resources via Youtube and Creative Commons, it is important to note that excellent video lectures have been and are freely/easily available.  The Flipped Classroom concept, though, was not developed and articulated by Khan but by teachers such as Karl Fisch and Jon Bergman/Aaron Sams.

The problem is that educators, as a group, know how to do and use the lecture.  When educators are asked to replace their in-class lectures with videotaped ones (either their own or others) that learners watch at home, educators may not know what to do with this now void in-class time.  Those who advocate for the flipped classroom state that class time can then be used for discourse and for providing hands-on, authentic learning experiences.   In a recent interview Khan stated. “If I was a teacher, this is exactly the type of class I’d want to teach, I don’t have to prepare in a traditional sense. But I do have to prepare for projects and all that, so I have to prepare for creative things” (Meet Sal Khan).  As Frank Noschese notes:

Sal Khan is not showing any examples about what students and teachers are doing beyond Khan Academy. The news stories are not showing the open-ended problems the kids should be engaging with after mastering the basics — instead they show kids sitting in front of laptops working drills and watching videos. The focus is on the wrong things. Khan Academy is just one tool in a teacher’s arsenal. (If it’s the only tool, that is a HUGE problem.) http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/khan-academy-my-final-remarks/

In other words, the message being given is that teachers can do what they want to during class time. Now educators have time for engagement and interaction with the learners (#EdCampChicago presentation).

A major roadblock or barrier to the implementation of this model is that many educators do not know what to do within the classroom, what to do with that “whatever they want to do” time.  For educators, who are used to and use the didactic model, a framework is needed to assist them with the implementation of the Flipped Classroom.  In other words, the message to teachers to do what they want during classroom is not enough to make this transition.

In order to minimize the flavor of the month syndrome (recall character education, phonics movements, multicultural education, Reading First, powerpoints in the classroom), the use of video lectures needs to fall within a larger framework of learning activities – within more establish models of learning, providing a larger context for educator implementation.

What follows is an explanation of the Flipped Classroom Model, a model where the video lectures and vodcasts fall within a larger framework of learning activities. (Note: I am titling it the Flipped Classroom Model to get folks’ attention given the Flipped Classroom popularity right now.  It really is a cycle of learning model.)  It provides a sequence of learning activities based on the learning theories and instructional models of Experiential Learning Cycles – http://reviewing.co.uk/research/learning.cycles.htm and Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT Cycle of Instruction- http://www.aboutlearning.com/what-is-4mat/what-is-4mat.

The Flipped Classroom Model


Experiential Engagement: The Activity

The cycle often begins with an experiential exercise.  This is an authentic, often hands-on learning activity that fully engages the student.   It is a concrete experience that calls for attention by most, if not all, the senses.  According to McCarthy, learning activities are designed that are immersive.  Learners “experience the now.”  They become hooked through personal connection to the experience and desire to create meaning for and about that experience (ala constructivist learning).

Students become interested in the topic because of the experience.  They have a desire to learn more.  This is in line with John Dewey’s thinking regarding experience and education. The nature of experiences is of fundamental importance and concern in education and training.  People learn experientially.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to structure and organize a series of experiences which positively influence each individual’s potential future experiences (http://wilderdom.com/experiential/elc/ExperientialLearningCycle.htm).

Examples of Experiential Engagement include Experiential Learning Activities, Science Experiments, Simulations, Games and use of the Arts.

Setting:  These activities are designed for in-class time and often occur in a group setting.  In a blended course, these are synchronous activities conducted during face-to-face instructional time.  In an online course, students could be asked to go to a community event, museum, . .  or the creative educator could provide some type of hands-on activity or simulation for students to complete during a real-time synchronous webinar session via Adobe Connect, Elluminate or through a 3D Learning experience such as Quest Atlantis

Conceptual Connections: The What

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 like PHET 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 such as those archived by Khan Academy, Neo K-12, Teacher Tube, or other video services are used to help students learn the abstract concepts related to the topic being covered.

McCarthy reinforces that concepts should be presented in accessible form.  By providing learners with online resources and downloadable media, learners can control when and how the media is used.  This is the major value of flipping the classroom . . . content-based presentations are controlled by the learner as opposed to the lecturer as would be the case in a live, synchronous, didactic-driven environment.

In a user-generated learning environment, students could be asked to locate the videos, podcasts, and websites that support the content-focus of the lesson.  These media can then be shared with other students.

Part of this phase includes an online chat for asking and addressing questions about the content presented via the videos, podcasts, websites.  Through a “chat” area such as Etherpad or Google Docs, learners can ask questions with responses provided by co-learners and educators.  Videos could even be embedded into a Voicethread so students can post comments/reactions to the content.   Obviously, in a face-to-face setting, students can bring their questions into the real time environment.

Setting:  These materials are used by the learners in their own setting on their own time.  In other words, students have the opportunity to access and interact with these materials in a personalized manner.  They can view them in a learning setting that works for them (music, lighting, furniture, time of day) and can view/review information that they find particularly interesting or do not understand.   It is asynchronous learning and as such permits the learner to differentiate learning for him/herself. 

Meaning Making: The So What


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 can articulate and construct their understanding of the content or topic being covered through written blogs or verbal-based audio or video recordings.  Within the standard school system, this would be the phase when students are tested about their understanding of the content.  If this is the case, it is recommended that the tests target higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – evaluation, applying, synthesizing.

Setting:  If possible, learners should be given the opportunity to reflect upon and make meaning of the content-related concepts within their own time schedule . . . both at a time when they feel ready to do so and taking the time they personally need for producing self-satisfactory work.

Demonstration and Application: The Now What


During this phase, learners get to demonstrate what they learned and apply the material in a way that makes sense to them. 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.  This is in line with the highest level of learning within Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Learning – Creating – whereby the learner creates a new product or point of view. In essence, they become the storytellers of their learning (See Narratives in the 21st Century: Narratives in Search of Contexts).  A list of technology-enhanced ideas/options for the celebration of learning can be found at: https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/a-technology-enhanced-celebration-of-learning/

Setting:  This phase of the cycle is best when it occurs in a  a face-to-face, group setting within the classroom.  The reasons for recommending this type of synchronous learning are (1) the educator can guide the learner to the types of projects and tools best suited for him/her, and (2) an audience of peers and mentors increases motivation and provides opportunities for feedback.  Obviously, in an online course, students can work on their projects and present them to peers/educators during a synchronous, interactive online forum.

Here is a slideshow of former students’ Demonstration and Application Projects and Presentations.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Summary

The Flipped Classroom offers a great use of technology – especially if it gets lecture out of the classrooms and into the hands and control of the learners.  As it is being discussed, it is part of a larger picture of teaching and learning.  The Flipped Classroom videos have a place in the models and cycles of learning proposed by educational psychologists and  instructional designers.  Providing educators with a full framework of how the Flipped Classroom can be used in their educational settings will increase its validity for educators and their administrators.

A Simple Example: Undergraduate Communications Course

Goal of Unit: Identify and analyze strategies for using language more effectively.

Experiential Engagement

Students participated in the Mine Field and Bridge-It experiential exercises.

Mine Field

Bridge-It

Concept Exploration 

At home students reviewed related media and had associated text readings.  Here is an example of one of the videos students reviewed at home:

Personalization and Meaning Making

Students blogged about what they learned comparing the in-class experiential activity with their text readings and video viewings.

We broke into groups of three and were asked to create one side of a bridge within our group to connect to the others groups bridge.  We were in two separate rooms, with the same supplies and could only communicate with one member of the other group at a time, every five or so minutes.  I was the communicator for my group.   This was extremely hard trying to build the same thing as someone else in a totally different room.  As the project moved further along, people began to get frustrated and irritated for different reasons.  Even though it was successful as far as the construction, many of us left class upset and frustrated. In the readings I read “the process of constructing meaning is itself symbolic because we rely on words to think about what words and other things mean” (Wood, 2010, p. 100).  I think this is so true and it was evident in our project.  Each team was relying on the words of the other team to determine the explanations of the bridge construction.

. . . and from another student:

To clarify, without our ability to SEE the other group’s project, we had to solely depend on words. Words are discussed as never being self-evident or absolute (Woods, p. 100). With each person’s individual perspectives, we assign individual and unique meanings to words.  In that process, we unintentionally open the doors to misinterpretation.  As Woods describes, language defines, evaluates, organizes, allows hypothetical thought, and also allows self-reflection (Woods, p. 103-107). The key roles witnessed during this activity were the organization of perception, hypothetical thought, and evaluation. Mainly these were present between each group’s communicator to the other group, but they also trickled down to the communication within the groups as information was passed along; much like a chain of events. The power of verbal language is almost jarring.

Demonstration and Application

This phase had several components:

1)  Students demonstrated what they learned through in-class listening exercises.

2) Then learners selected listening skills they decided to practice in real life.  They reported on their results through blog entries.

When it comes to pseudo listening, it seems like for the most part there were just too many distractions or barriers going on. I found myself wanting to listen to people around me, but I couldn’t turn the internal dialog off. So throughout the week I tried to catch myself, and found that it wasn’t too hard. Most of this type of non-listening occurs when I’m on the phone (particularly with my parents) for a long period of time. I’m not very good at talking on the phone anyways because of the lack of eye-contact and my distractions caused by trying to multi-task. The best results in correction my pseudo listening were to go and sit in a quiet area (have a smoke) and literally sit on my free hand.  If my mind still wandered, I fought to catch myself and redirect my attention to who I was speaking with on the phone.

3)  Finally students integrated their course learning through a celebration of learning.  They created metaphors for the course content, and explained personal learning and future applications via these metaphors.

A Board Game

A Face Metaphor

. . . and Celebrating

Postscript: Learner-Educator roles change. At the conclusion of this course (June, 2011) a student stated, “You were so much more than a teacher to us.”

Final Note:   The title of my blog is User-Generated Education.  I have a goal of assisting with educational reform in that a learner-centric system of education evolves.  I believe that this cycle of learning is a natural way of learning and that educators can assist students in understanding this cycle so they can use it for their own personalized learning experiences.

Photo Image for Phase 3 Blog Picture: Blog Photo Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcteach/5066409388/in/set-72157625004568191

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

June 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

%d bloggers like this: