We flipped professional development and our teachers loved it

[I’ve been quite fortunate to work and present with Aaron Sams, one of the gurus of Flipped Learning. In this eSchoolNews article Aaron and Justin Aglio, the Director of Innovation for the Montour School District, explain how the Montour Learning Network (MLN) has flipped traditional professional development and increased participation by educators by 600%.]

BY AARON SAMS AND JUSTIN AGLIO, September 12th, 2016
Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Learning cultures have no doubt shifted for students in most K-12 public schools. With new one-to-one initiatives, blended learning, online courses, project-based learning, one could argue that students are now more prepared than ever before for the 21st century. But what about teachers?

How are teachers learning to operate as professionals in the 21st century? Most teachers rely on traditional professional development methods like guidebooks on curriculum implementation or face-to-face. lecture-style settings, the gist of which is “Tell me something and maybe I will do it.” Other teachers, though, strive for more dynamic personalized learning opportunities (like the ones our students receive). So, how is it that we are preparing our students for the 21st century with a sense of urgency, but when it comes to quality learning for teachers, many school districts do not practice what they preach?

There are many theories of why we use words like collaboration, creativity, and communication with students, but we judge and evaluate our teachers with words like individual assessments, standards, and individual accountability. Maybe it is the fault of a “system” that places high expectations for teachers to teach 21st-century skills, but only be evaluated on 20th-century learning outcomes.

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Blended 2.0 shifts learning in schools

[Blended learning continues to evolve. In this District Administration article schools are moving towards greater personalization of learning using technology resources and tools. I’ve always wondered how teachers can combine a personalized approach with deeper learning through projects. Summit Schools provides an excellent model and as this article indicates provides a free tool to help teachers / schools manage a more personalized approach.]

By Patricia Daddona

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Third-grader studying the Spanish settlement of California found a virtual tour online and shared the trip with her classmates by slipping a smartphone into a Google Cardboard viewing device.

Such limitless online resources represent a big, blended leap beyond the essays students in Coalinga-Huron USD in Central California used to write. Blended learning for the district’s 4,400 students began three years ago, and in the past year has gravitated to blended 2.0, says Joe Casarez, associate superintendent for instructional services.

“If you define blended learning in the first iteration as a combination of technology and print,” Casarez says, “then what we are seeing when you marry 2.0 personalization with the Common Core standards are more authentic activities in the classroom.”

A survey of 1,381 students in the district showed nearly 74 percent were more engaged, and 89 percent agreed they could solve problems or create presentations by researching online, he adds.

Across the country in New York, all 7,300 students in the Middletown City School District engage in variations of blended 2.0. Students begin researching topics online at home and then get guidance from teachers in the classroom, says Superintendent Kenneth Eastwood.

“Kids go online, watch films and view PowerPoints in preparation for a deeper conversation in the classroom,” Eastwood says. “This flips the lecture piece to the outside of class. The class itself is for clarification and expansion of concepts.”

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3 ways the flipped classroom leads to better subject mastery

[For the past five years I’ve worked with Aaron Sams and Justin Aglio, the authors of this article on eSchool News article. I’ve had a chance to present with Aaron at the FlipCon and I’ve collaborated with Justin in his roles as a principal and now Director of Innovation. I’ve always felt that Flipped Learning was a powerful tool to personalize learning. I started down this path close to ten years ago in my teaching at Carnegie Mellon University where I used Classroom Salon to flip my class. While the article talks about using video, I believe it’s really any digital resource – video, graphic, or text – that becomes the key for an extended conversation with the focus on the in-class experience to generate greater depth of learning through the Flipped Learning experience outside of class.]

August 15th, 2016
Aaron Sams at FlipCon

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Flipping is more than a buzzword. It helps teachers personalize lessons, assessments, and reporting

Now that the buzz about flipped learning is calming and the novelty is wearing off, the time has come to dig a little deeper into the natural outcomes of flipping. Specifically, flipping can change the type of work students complete and the way in which class time will be used; it can modify the nature of assessment, and it can alter the way in which teachers will report student work.

First and foremost, we should define some terms. On the most basic level, flipped learning occurs when instructors make use of video lectures outside the class in order to bring what was being done in the homework space back into the classroom. In short: lecture at home, homework in class.

Much of the conversation about flipping has focused on using teacher-created video as an instructional tool, but the real benefit of flipping the classroom does not come from video. The true benefit comes from using videos as a teaching tool to deliver direct instruction at home so teachers are free to reinvent classroom time.

Truly personalized learning

Inevitably, a teacher who is new to flipping will use materials from previous years. In fact, beginning flippers often change only the time and space in which content is delivered and practice is completed. One main benefit of this basic form of a flipped classroom is that, instead of students completing homework assignments outside the observation of the teacher, they now complete all work under the direct supervision of the classroom teacher. Thus, in a flipped class, the time that a teacher once spent delivering new content can be used catching and correcting each student’s misconceptions.

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