As we continue our ongoing series focused on the flipped classroom in higher education, it’s time to tackle another frequently asked question: “How can I flip a large class?”
I like this question because it’s not asking whether you can flip a large class, but rather what’s the best way to do it. Faculty who teach large classes are challenged not only by the sheer number of students but also by the physical space in the classroom. Having 100, 200, or 400+ students in class means teaching in large lecture halls with stadium seating and seats that are bolted to the floor. It’s not exactly the ideal space for collaboration and group discussions, so the types of flipped and active learning strategies you can use are more limited.
Often, faculty fall back on the “think, pair, share” format or use clicker questions to encourage student engagement. But there are other techniques we can deploy in these large classrooms to engage students and involve them in higher levels of critical thinking and analysis.
To start the conversation, here are three strategies that work well in large lecture halls because they don’t require students to sit in groups or move around the room. Each of these strategies provides a framework for generating discussion, which increases engagement and encourages students to analyze a variety of perspectives. And if you aren’t teaching to the masses, these strategies can be easily modified for any class size.
Stanford University's Graduate School of Education has launched a new online course, Effective Conversation in the Classroom, designed to help educators learn to create rich and meaningful conversations in their classrooms.
A few months ago, I heard a podcast by Michael Hyatt, a best-selling author and speaker who helps clients excel in their personal and professional lives. This particular podcast focused on how to “create margins” in life to reduce stress and avoid burnout. Quoting Dr. Richard Swenson’s work, Hyatt defines a margin as “the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. . . . Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion. . . . Margin is the opposite of overload.”
As I listened to this podcast, I realized that the idea of creating margins also applies to the flipped classroom. I often hear comments like “The flipped classroom takes too much time,” “I don’t have time to devise so many new teaching strategies,” “It takes too much time to record and edit videos,” “I don’t have time to cover everything on the syllabus,” or “I don’t have time to redesign all of my courses.” I also hear “I tried to flip my class, but it was exhausting; so I quit.”
We tend to think of project-based learning as focused on research, planning problem-solving, authenticity, and inquiry. Further, collaboration, resourcefulness, and networking matter too–dozens of characteristics “fit” into project-based learning. Its popularity comes from, among other characteristics, its general flexibility as a curriculum framework. You can do, teach, assess, and connect almost anything within the context of a well-designed project.
But what if we had to settle on a handful (or two) of itemized characteristics for modern, connected, possibly place-based, and often digital project-based learning? Well, then the following might be useful.
Research shows that when technology is used as a tool for interactive, teacher-guided learning -- rather than drill-and-kill -- learning is enhanced, especially for at-risk students. This is the finding of Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning, a 2014 report from Stanford SCOPE and the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Read the report to learn about the latest research on educational technology, from flipped classroom to blended learning, with tips on how you can use tech in your classroom to enhance learning.
Research Cited: Darling-Hammond, L., Zielezinski, M. B., & Goldman, S. (2014). Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) and Alliance for Excellent Education.
Research shows when people are curious about something, not only do they learn better, they learn more. It should come as no surprise, then, that inquiry-based learning is proving to be an effective education model. Inquiry-based learning occurs when students discover and construct information with the teacher’s guidance. It is a learner-centered model that arouses students’ curiosity and motivates them to seek their own answers. Increasingly, technology is the foundation of an effective inquiry-based lesson. Download this Center for Digital Education paper to learn more about inquiry-based learning and how you can support this model in your classrooms. The paper also offers sample lesson plans that draw upon inquiry-based strategies with the integration of technology.
Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, but the trend of learners educating themselves is on a continuous upward movement. The reasons may include freedom to choose, no fear of questions being asked, learning at one's own pace and place, absorbing at one's own capacity and much more. The self-learning trend has been empowered by cutting edge educational technology innovation.
With the 42 model, based on peer-to-peer learning, students at the 200,000-square-foot Fremont campus, pay no tuition, come and go freely day and night and have neither teachers nor lectures. They’re assigned to programming projects for some of the school’s research partners, and are able to use more than 1,000 top-of-the-line iMac computers connected to high-speed broadband networks and large-capacity storage servers.
Building collaboration skills today means building global collaboration skills. Educators have their work cut out for them Ed note: Innovation in Action is a monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.
It’s one thing for today’s students to connect with the world and to appreciate the diversity and significance of potential interactions through everyday, real-time interaction. It is a whole different challenge to be able to collaborate with learning partners across town — or around the world.
The latter, in truth, is what all educators and learners should be aspiring toward, but the reality is you cannot run before you can walk. Unless educators understand and experience the power of using digital technologies for online collaboration in a local context first, it is likely that jumping head-first into global contexts — with its myriad challenges — will not be successful.
Most discussions on the future of school focus on education reform. Authors and policy analysts ask questions like, how can we change existing institutions to improve on their outcomes? We get discussions like those around federally subsidized student loans, funding for schools, school vouchers, the viability of charter schools, and what ought to be included in exam standards for coming years. These questions, while valuable, miss the broader point of education and the marketplace today. We sit at a pivotal moment in the history of schooling and education. Thanks to a number of market forces, primarily led by leaps in technology and its relation to education costs, it is finally possible to realistically remove education from school (as we know it) for the population at large.
Kim Flintoff's insight:
Is a deschooled society likely even though its totally possible? I suspect the gaps in the implementation plan discussed here relate to other social constraints and controls that dictate the function of schools... they serve to contain and restrict the free movement of minors during the working day... and as we seem not to trust children, or society that's a big next step...
I notice that there are at least ten instances of the use of “I” and “my.” Instead of creating an environment driven by learners, it was one driven by me, the teacher. It was my classroom, and I was dictating how and what learners would be expected to learn on a daily basis. In general, my classroom ran smoothly, I had very few discipline issues and learners met my expectations a majority of the time, but those attending my class were doing only that, attending. Engagement was low and they were doing the minimum to achieve a grade, all while not learning to their potential. They did not enjoy coming to my class for the most part and simply jumped through the hoops to get by and meet what I consider to be high expectations. Enrollment numbers for my courses, mostly upper level electives, were low and I wanted to increase them. The question that I asked myself pertained to how I could encourage learners to take my class while meeting the goal of having them achieve the same high level of expectations that I have had for them throughout my career.
Currently, evolving ways of communication, interpretation and creation of meaning are challenging the ways people view themselves and the world, altering their learning demands and needs. Closely related to this process of change is the need to re-conceptualize schooling. Working within these realizations, the theories of affinity spaces and multiliteracies pedagogy are brought into the foreground of the discussion to consider: What are the requirements of school for the twenty-first century? What are the potentials of affinity spaces and multiliteracies pedagogy to empower meaningful school-based learning? The core of this chapter reports on the development, implementation and evaluation of a theory based framework named Affinity Multiliteracies Practice (AMP) with the intention to provide an example of a teaching and learning approach to schooling that acknowledges students’ multiple and diverse identities, experiences and capabilities while also equiping them to become the flexible and dynamic learners required in the twenty-first century.Official Full-Text Publication: Re-imagining Schooling: Weaving the Picture of School as an Affinity Space for Twenty-First Century Through a Multiliteracies Lens on ResearchGate, the professional network for scientists.
A belief among a number of adults appear to be about play being frivolous, something extra, an add-on or something that’s nice to do when we have the time. Furthermore, play is viewed as just a childish inclination which shouldn’t be around anymore. They believe play is different from and shouldn’t mix with more serious matters like work and learning. However such perspective, which defines play as an activity, is really a misconception.
Play is natural especially to human beings who are the biggest players of all, according to psychiatrist Stuart Brown, M.D. It’s a biological process that evolved to help animals - including humans - survive. Brown, who has studied more than 6,000 “play histories” (case studies), concludes that “play is part of our evolutionary history.” He defines play as a state of mind rather than an activity and believes we have a “drive to play and we are built to play.”
In some instances, research illuminates a topic and changes our existing beliefs. For example, here’s a post that challenges the myth of preferred learning styles. Other times, you might hear about a study and say, “Well, of course that’s true!” This might be one of those moments. Last year, Dr. Karlsson Wirebring and fellow researchers published a study that supports what many educators and parents have already suspected: students learn better when they figure things out on their own, as compared to being told what to do.
Learner agency is “the capability of individual human beings to make choices and act on these choices in a way that makes a difference in their lives” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_and_agency). As related to the needs as identified by Glasser, elements of freedom, choosing how we want to live our lives, and power, choosing what and how to learn, address learner agency.
The notion of agency as contributing to cognitive processes involved in learning comes primarily from the Piagetian notion of constructivism where knowledge is seen as “constructed” through a process of taking actions in one’s environment and making adjustments to existing knowledge structures based on the outcome of those actions. The implication is that the most transformative learning experiences will be those that are directed by the learner’s own endeavors and curiosities. (Lindgren & McDaniel, 2012)
Schwartz and Okita developed the following table to compare and contrast high versus low agency learning environments.
In the summer of 1995, Larry Page, then 22, visited Stanford as a prospective PhD student in computer science. His tour guide was Sergey Brin, a 21-year-old mathematical whiz who was already pursuing his PhD in that department. Page elected to attend Stanford, and by 1996 he and Brin were good friends who were collaborating on a project called “Backrub,” which investigated how sites linked back to other webpages.
Groups tend to learn through “discussion, clarification of ideas, and evaluation of other’s ideas.” Perhaps information that is discussed is retained in long term memory
Many consider Vygotsky the father of “social learning”. Vygotsky was an education rebel in many ways. Vygotsky controversially argued for educators to assess students’ ability to solve problems, rather than knowledge acquisition. It considers what a student can do if aided by peers and adults. By considering this model for learning, we might consider collaboration to increase students’ awareness of other concepts.
Ninety-one percent of respondents to a recent CDE survey agreed active learning better prepares students for college and careers than traditional education frameworks. So why is it that it’s more common to see rows of desks facing the front of the room instead of workspaces designed for collaboration and exploration in today’s classrooms? Unfortunately, students can often lack the communication, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills they will need in their careers when they graduate. This paper helps school districts change that outcome. It discusses the benefits and challenges of active learning and offers real-life examples and strategies to help districts make their learning environments more engaging and collaborative.
Project-based learning is a great way to engage students, to encourage collaboration and creativity, and to promote authentic work and assessment. But it’s hard to:
-set a high bar for high quality project deliverables; - assess projects objectively especially when they’re all different; - help students with low level skills engage in challenging projects; - mitigate the free rider problem of loafing team members; - provide enough but not too much formative feedback and support; and - avoid big knowledge gaps resulting from a string of projects.
As a teacher, you put a lot of thought into how to make your class and the material as accessible and engaging as possible. You think about what you know, and how you first learned it. You think about what your students already know, and how to use that knowledge as the foundation for what you're about to teach. And, as if that's not enough, you think about how to make your content so engaging that no matter what else is happening (lunch next period, upcoming prom, or the latest social media scandal among the sophomores), your lesson will hold your students' attention. All that thought goes into a lesson, and still there are students spacing out during class or seeming to fall behind. Working so hard and still not reaching every student can be frustrating. And you have no one to blame but yourself -- you're hogging all the best learning in your classroom.
New research has found that adults with a busy daily lifestyle tend to do better on tests of cognitive function than their less busy counterparts.
Indeed, people who report greater levels of busyness tend to have superior cognition, especially concerning memory for recently learned information, said Sara Festini, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Vital Longevity of the University of Texas, and lead author of the study.
ATAR was a prime example of a measurement that inhibits creativity, Melville-Jones said. She argued that schools should scrap it altogether and illustrated her point from her own personal experience.
“I had a wonderfully compliant academic son who lapped up everything the [NSW] Higher School Certificate had to offer, [who] is still studying at the age of 25, whom the ATAR suited perfectly,” Melville-Jones told Education Review. “I also have another son who is incredibly abstract and creative, who struggled so hard through the HSC and came out the other end disillusioned and flat and restricted and confined. That saddens me.
“I don’t believe the ATAR is everything. I believe the ATAR is very restricting, and stops students from being able to explore their own possibilities to become confident,” she said. “People come out of the HSC anxious, and we need to build confidence in those senior years and not do it after they leave school.”
The Continuum of Motivation does involve learner voice, choice, and engagement. All of the continuums have elements that drive the learner to build agency. This continuum and the other continuums moving to agency will be featured in our new book, How to Personalize Learning, to be released Fall 2016. All the continuums will include additional references and research that support how the continuums support learners, personalized learning and moving to agency.
Each day in face-to-face classrooms across the world, educators spend most of their time delivering content through lectures and class discussions. The time honored ways of content delivery are necessary, argue some, because students must learn content in order to gain mastery of the discipline or subject.
A frequent result of the current paradigm is a group of passive students, which educators agree can lead to boredom, attention deficits, behavioral issues and other unintended consequences.
Is there a better way? Yes, says Dr. Lodge McCammon, and with training educators at every level can “flip” the classroom experience, changing the paradigm entirely from passive information delivery to active learning experience. At home, students discover the content at their own speed, and then they spend their time in the classroom engaged in applying concepts and working hands-on with material, freeing educators from running on a hamster wheel of content delivery.
The types discussed in the infographic above range from activities heavily dictated by the teacher on the left to ones heavily run by the students on the right. The coolest thing about this inforgaphic is the pictures that accompany it. Using swim instructors and students as an example, Mackenzie illustrated the differences in how much the teacher assists the student according to each level of inquiry. Between this and the accompanying descriptions below the image, it’s easy to visualize these levels in your classroom and how they might work with your lesson plans.
Is there a level of inquiry that you would’ve included that’s not on the infographic? Can you think of another way to illustrate the different levels of inquiry? Which type do you usually use? In what situations do you use which type?
Kim Flintoff's insight:
I suspect there are interim forms that include elements of each of these. These seem to be polarised and don't seem to include collaborative and negotiated dimensions.
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