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Posts Tagged ‘learning

This is the final part of the FAQ on flipping that originated from two seminars I conducted this month. I shared part 1 and part 2 previously.

There are more questions and answers, but it is not meaningful to share all of them here because they are specific to content and context.

These questions were submitted to me via a Google Form before a seminar. Once again, I am simply pasting the answers I provided in our SG Flippers Google+ space. My replies are short partly because I might have addressed the questions during the seminar. Short answers also tend to be incomplete, so that might spark thought and discussion.

time by spapax, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  spapax 

Question: On the average (from your experience), how much time does a student spend on going through the materials before coming to class?

My answer: As little as possible. Even less if they are already hard-pressed for time and if the out-of-class materials are busy work, not what they are passionate about, or otherwise not meaningful to them.

Design so that they have a clear stake in the the process and product.

38/365: Homework by cplong11, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  cplong11 

1. how to ensure that students do their “homework”- ie. readings?
2. when should be good moments for flipping?”

I addressed Q1 during the seminar with two ideas. I reiterate the second: Question the assumptions you have that homework helps. Focus on the different ways they learn.

Q2 is very subjective, i.e., it depends on your experience with the content. But here is what I have found to work across many academic subjects. To flip learning (not the classroom), the greyer the content, the better for flipping. Answers are not so black and white; opinions and suggestions matter.

Addendum: Two instructors caught up with me while I was decompressing at a coffee place after my second seminar. One thing we chatted about was backchannelling as a small way to flip lectures. Here are some things I have written about this topic:

I continue what I started yesterday by sharing some of my answers to questions raised before, during, and after my August seminars on flipping.

Today I focus on quick Q&A in a TodaysMeet backchannel. The questions and answers are SMS-length because that an affordance of the platform.


Is there a need to prepare students for this kind of pedagogy for this approach to work? If so how?
1:35pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by ***
To ***: To summarize the answer I gave ‐ Yes, prepare them technologically and pedagogically for the approach. Anticipate their issues.
2:37pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by Ashley

Can the process of learning be objectively assessed?
1:34pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by **
To **: Clear-cut content might be objectively assessed, but visible thinking is subjective. Well-designed rubrics might help keep focus.
2:39pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by Ashley

How to manage workload of students when they create content?
1:27pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by *******
To ******* on workload. 1) Give them ownership (help them make it theirs). If they’re passionate about it, they’ll invest the energy.
2:58pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by Ashley
To ******* on workload. 2) Help them manage the load with metacognition: How to plan, change plans, manage tasks, etc.
2:59pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by Ashley

Students may not “believe” what the fellow students teach them. How to settle this?
1:28pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by *******
To *******: Consolidate learning with strategies like whole class discussions or forum‐based critiques. Make good ideas rise to the top.
2:40pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by Ashley

How to get paid if learners may learn better without teachers
1:11pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by *******
To *******: By reinventing yourselves. Be mentors, models, facilitators, meddlers in the middle.
11:05am, Sat, Aug 15, 2015 by Ashley

different students have different pace of learning, can this be done efficiently on effectively for the relatively “slower” learner?
1:36pm, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 by *******
To *******: By providing variety & choice in & outside class.
11:05am, Sat, Aug 15, 2015 by Ashley

Stay tuned to Part 3 tomorrow.

I fielded questions on the flipped classroom and flipped learning during my last two seminars. I collected the questions with Google Forms, Padlet, and TodaysMeet.

I answered all the questions in the SG Flippers Community space in Google+. But I thought I should share some of the questions here on a more open platform.

One question was about the age or developmental appropriateness of flipping.

iPads arrive in 4th grade... by timlauer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  timlauer 

Question: Are Primary school students ready for flipped learning? Doesn’t it require a certain level of maturity and self-motivation?

My brief answer: The video I featured was done by Primary school students. They created and taught, which are more complex skills than passive consumption.

Maturity and self-motivation are not prerequisites to flipping; they are end results or desired outcomes. See an elaboration to a similar question I answered earlier.

More thoughts: I have encountered higher education instructors thinking that flipping is better suited for younger learners and teachers of young students assuming that flipping is better for older learners. If the question is not asked out of honest curiosity, I might be tempted to say that the question is a manifestation of an instructor’s or a teacher’s deflective mindset. My question is: What are you running away from?

Question: How do we get our “please-serve-me-on-a-platter” students ready for flipped learning?

My brief answer: With several concurrent and supporting strategies. Here are five broad ideas.

  1. Resist the urge and ease of serving. Ask more Qs than providing immediate As.
  2. Establish this as an expectation for both you and your learners. Stick to it.
  3. At strategic intervals, remind your learners (and other stakeholders if necessary) the rationales for getting them to think more actively and do more meaningfully.
  4. Design authentic work and assignments. These rarely have clear answers or are easily served.
  5. Work with other like-minded folk so that your efforts are not isolated.

This series continues tomorrow.

Today I conduct another seminar on flipped learning, this time at a local institute of higher learning.

I conclude the delivery with three more wisdoms on flipping (here are my first three).

Note: This is segment 4 of the seminar. Each segment is mile-stoned with an overview slide like this one.

But if I only had time to just focus on one, I would advise educators, administrators, and policymakers who are thinking of a system-wide implementation of flipping to remember that flipping was, and still is, a ground-up movement.

This means letting educators decide if, when, and how they flip. It means giving them ownership of the problems and solutions, and providing the support they need.

As I point out in one slide, you do not need a lot of money or a special new building to flip. There is also no single method of flipping.

The flipped classroom and flipped learning movements did not rise to where they are today by riding on numbers. Educators realize that it is not about grades, money, or cool tools. It is not about having a quota of online lessons to create. Such things matter operationally, but they can also distract and detract from what is really important.

Flipping is about changing the mindset of teachers and moving away from the old practices of teaching to focus the learners and learning. No amount of money or strong-armed policy is going to change mindset. Only support by individual conviction, community-building, personal learning networks, and professional development are.

I ask participants of my seminars and workshops to complete quick exit tickets before they leave in order to find out what they are taking away from the sessions.

currywurst by thevince, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  thevince 

If I do not ask participants what they learnt, they might not ask themselves that question and therefore walk away empty from the session.

I like providing open platforms and asking simple open-ended questions instead of using overly protected spaces and rating scales.

The open platforms make learning visible and shared. This allows each person to see what others have learnt and puts some positive pressure on them to illustrate their own takeaways clearly and concisely.

Open-ended questions like “What did you learn?” instead of “What did you learn about A? How about B? Now how about C?” remove constraints from replies. If patterns start to emerge from open responses, I know that I have hit some nails on the head.

For example, here were four representative exit tickets from the seminar I conducted yesterday on flipped learning. (Click on each screencapture in the tweet to see it in entirety.)

I include only four partly because that the maximum number of images I can attach to a tweet and partly because that is all I need.

My main objective was to help teachers realize there was a difference between a flipped classroom and flipped learning. Most of the audience members who completed their exit tickets did. A bonus finding was the openness of a few to want to try something new.

How about outliers or the unexpected? I share some thoughts on those tomorrow.

This month I am conducting two seminars on flipped learning. One is with a major edtech vendor and the other is for an institute of higher learning.

Here are some insights into my preparation for the first one.

The seminar runs today, but the official paperwork was only confirmed a week before. I do not normally take such tight deadlines, but having done a quick run on a different topic with another group before, I decided to challenge myself.

I am familiar with the content, but I do not believe in blindly copying and pasting. I fine tune every slide deck and activity to the expectations and context of each new event. So my modus operandi is to meet with the organizers in person and then poll the participants with Google Forms. Collectively their inputs help me determine what to focus on.

My go-to tools are Google Slides (presentation), TodaysMeet (backchannel), QR apps (for quick access to resources), and Padlet (exit ticket: reflection and feedback).

But since I had just a week to collate and create content as well as prepare the platforms, I opted to use a slide template by SlidesCarnival. I had previously used one of the free templates for a presentation on social media-based PLNs. (Full disclosure: SlidesCarnival does not sponsor me.)

I chose the Oberon template because it is simple and clean. Its backgrounds are bold colours and serve as visual shifts for different segments and concepts. For example, here is one of my main WHAT slides.

It differs in background colour of my self introduction, content-oriented, and thank-you slides.

The use of colour as a visual cue to trigger cognitive processes is something I understood as a teacher and it was reinforced when I did a Masters in instructional design over 15 years ago. This was something I used to teach informally to student teachers in Singapore and formally to college students in the US who took my course on web design. It is something I apply to this day.

I find that a little thought goes a long way in making a presentation effective. Audience members might not be able to articulate why they “got it” more easily, but I do and that is very satisfying.

This video of a toddler enjoying rainfall went viral.

Video source

What is so captivating about a child experiencing rain for the first time and enjoying every minute of it? The obvious answers might include our sharing the joy she experienced or mourning the loss of our child-like wonder.

For me the video is a warning about unbridled schooling. We lose that ability to learn for the sake of enjoyment largely because of the demands of schooling.

Video source

Note how the little girl was upset when she was taken away from the rain and how she ran back to it (1min 10s to 1min 35s mark, highlighted above). How often do you see normal kids running towards school-sanctioned homework?

Yes, all of us must grow up. But who is to say that we cannot retain the ability to learn by doing, to enjoy learning, and to find reward in the experience itself? These are values and processes to aspire to and perpetuate.

I am not interested in hearing the barriers that stand in the way. I am fully aware of them.

I am more interested in knowing how we might not put these barriers up in the first place or how we might break existing barriers down.

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