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Posts Tagged ‘types

As I survey local flipped classroom and flipped learning ventures, and work with educators involved with these efforts, I have observed at least three patterns. There are the:

  1. Lone wolves
  2. Pockets of innovators
  3. Coordinated efforts
wolf by Cloudtail, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Cloudtail 

 
The lone wolves are the most common. They are mostly energetic and fairly informed individual who chose to work alone or do so under the circumstances. They do this because they are the peripheral innovators and/or they do not have  support.

Every organization has lone wolves and innovators, but they are not the same thing. I am referring to flippers who are both. They work faster and are willing to try and make mistakes alone.

But this asset is also their greatest liability. The run the highest risk of burnout or moving from one cool thing to do to another. They also risk being socially marginalized in their organizations if they are perceived to be aloof or too clever.

I have noticed lone wolf flipping die out within months. Most efforts are not sustainable because there is only one battery and bulb in a very dark room.
 

 
The pockets of innovators may or may not include lone wolves. They might be led by a former lone wolf. These are best represented by group of three to five teachers who share a common academic interest.

These pockets are likely to have the support of higher ups and their flipping efforts revolve around lesson planning and preparing videos for students. They might work semester to semester or have year-long plans. They deal only with their content area and for a selection of classes (rarely an entire level).
 

pockets of dolls by visagency, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  visagency 

 
Managed and supported well the pockets of innovators become coordinated efforts. The innovators might share their stories with others within their school or to a larger audience. Others buy in or are roped in by a school leader.

The flipping efforts cross academic subjects and involve entire levels of students. If ambitious enough, a coordinator of such flipping efforts might implement plans for other levels of students.

Such coordinated efforts are few. Even fewer are successful stories. Larger teams might mean more complex innovation because the small team efforts do not always scale up. A wise coordinator will realize this and manage pockets with a larger fabric.

There is a variant of coordinated efforts that could involve more than one school. This is practically non-existent as many schools here operate like Apple and Google. They do not share secrets.

This is a shame because schools do not have to be like that. Fortunately, there is an emerging level that is higher than that takes advantage of the first two categories. Educators on social media already connect on Twitter with hashtags like #flipclass or visit any of the repositories on flipping to learn from each other.

I might seem to imply that there is a better way to manage flipping efforts, but the different circumstances shape what different educators do.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that most focus on flipping their classrooms instead of flipping the learning. The latter is better [1] [2] because it nurtures the truly independent learner, changes pedagogy, and leverages on technology powerfully and meaningfully.

Tuition means different things to different people.

Mention tuition in the USA and people might think about university tuition fees and classes in the lecture-tutorial system.

Mention tuition in Singapore you might get an assortment of answers.

A minority might suggest that tuition is the shadow schooling system that contributes to high test scores. I know of at least one international testing group that has started asking survey questions about the extent of tuition. If that group shares what they find, we might have some evidence to back up that claim.

Ask parents and they might say that tuition is a lifeline for their kids to catch up, stay at the top, or fulfill some other academic agenda.

Ask our politicians about tuition, and as of last week, you have this collective response.

That headline hints at the dependence on and mindset towards tuition, not tuition per se.

So what is tuition? It means different things to different people even in our context.

In that tuition continuum, there is tuition that is:

  • nannying (keeping kids occupied, possibly with just busy work)
  • remediation (coaching for learners who cannot keep up with the curricular race or the demands of schooling)
  • extra (kiasu type: repeating what happens in school and even providing content in advance)
  • ensuring As (kiasi type: for kids who are already ahead but what to keep up with the best in the chase for grades)

There are probably other categories and the ones I listed above are not mutually exclusive. For example, a parent might desire tuition to nanny and ensure As.

The last two categories are part of enrichment tuition that blights our social landscape as tuition centres in malls all over Singapore.

Enrichment tuition is probably what is being addressed at the highest levels of our country. After all, this is the type of tuition that emphasizes the academic chase largely for grades and glory instead of the pursuit of meaningful learning.

Meaningful learning that focuses on the individual talents and pitfalls. This is learning that stresses long term mindsets, values, and skills. It is learning that makes a better person and one that contributes meaningfully to community.

Contrary to what enrichment tuition agencies say on their brochures and websites, I have not come across any evidence that enrichment tuition contributes to meaningful learning. However, not all tuition is bad. In its original form, tuition once stood for personalized coaching and testing that supplemented school effort.

Why is remedial tuition necessary?

Schools tend to rely on one-size-fits-all approaches because they follow the industrial model. Kids that do not fit fall through the gaps. The more fortunate ones have parents who pay for remedial tuition as a safety net.

In theory there should not be a safety net. We would like to think that schools should be able to meet the needs of every learner. That ideal is not what happens in practice. Kids are different; school wants to treat them all the same. Learning is messy; teachers are not taught to embrace it.

If you study systems as I do, you can attribute schooling problems to tests that do not evolve with the times. If school is a factory, then tests are quality control (QC). QC determines everything else: What the inputs or raw materials are, who the staff and machine cogs are, what the overall process are, what the supporting processes are. If QC bleeps because it detects something wrong, every other component in the system jumps and changes to diffuse that alarm.

Our tests and QC are not going away or going to be redesigned any time soon. We lack the moral courage to make the changes.

In the meantime, a few ex-teachers and non-teachers coach, individualize, and even innovate because of they love their academic subject and/or the learner. This is the sort of tuition that should not go away because it is learner-focused and may also teach schools a thing or two if schools decide to redesign themselves.

One of the key intiatives of the CeL will be mobile learning or m-learning. A working framework of the possible categories of mobile apps emerged from my discussion my m-learning project leads: Core, peripheral and parallel eduapps.

Core eduapps: These are apps that are designed to promote formal learning opportunities. So one or more LMS-linked apps could notify learners that someone has responded to a discussion thread and allow the user to respond in kind.

Peripheral eduapps: These are peripherally relevant to learning but could provide learning opportunities. Examples might include a directory app for contacting tutors by email or phone, a libary app that notifies a user of available resources or book pick-ups, and location aware apps that help you find places, people or resources.

Parallel eduapps: These are existing apps that may or may not be designed with education in mind. Examples might include Dropbox (for file distribution and sharing), Evernote (for note-taking) and the WordPress app (for reflective edublogging).

I do not think that these categories are mutually exclusive. For example, the WordPress app could be used to maintain a blog which serves as user’s e-portfolio. Depending on how you look at it, the app would be a parallel, peripheral and core app. But I think that this framework will help us decide which apps to prioritize for development.


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