Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Meta-Principle is the 'Active' Classroom

I met an intriguing character at FlipCon Adelaide, and he challenged me to blog weekly. He said to me, as long as it is authentic, and it reflects your struggles, people want to hear.  He directed me to the most popular program on his radio network…’My Bad’ which is basically a program about high profile educators sharing their biggest mistakes.

Given that evidence, it was hard to disagree with him. So, to that end, here I am again. I’m going make a brave attempt at blogging weekly. Thanks for the encouragement Errol.

I think I can do 4 paragraphs a week.

It has been awhile hasn’t it? I write this in late November, and I can see my last post was in August.

A few things that have got in the way of my blogging include: two beautiful children (one who doesn’t sleep), one arduous but worthwhile Highly Accomplished Teacher accreditation process, being a part of a dynamic but incredibly demanding team here at Inaburra, and yes, who could forget – a university degree on the side.

The latter has been deferred…just too much going on! Must sleep.

Did I mention I have also been busy preparing my presentations for FlipCon Brisbane and FlipCon Adelaide? I should have. Perhaps you caught them.

Briefly – I presented on the viability of Flipping the K-6 Classroom and used my own Year 5 and Year 6 classrooms as a template for the struggles and success of this strategy.

In my second presentation I conducted a mini-meta analysis of some of the available literature concerning the efficacy and satisfaction rates of the Flipped

(Which in English means … do students like it and does it lead to improved results?)

You can find the data here: 

The short answer?

The flipped classroom generally leads to improved results, but students don’t always like it. Unless the strategy itself leads to an ACTIVE classroom environment students may be equally satisfied with the flipped or traditional models, or even dissatisfied with the flipped model.

The lesson?

Flip your classroom, in order to make your classroom an active classroom.

(JonBergmann would probably argue that if your classroom isn’t active, then you are not ‘flipping’.)

There’s the goal.

Or as Aaron Sams cheerfully put it -  ‘Active Learning is the Meta-Principle’.

On that note - so long Aaron. You will be missed from the FlipCon circuit. It was great hearing from you. Looking forward to reading your Doctorate.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Flipped Classroom - A Paradigm Shift

Dear Reader,
I hope you will permit me to share an article that I wrote recently for ETS magazine.
Please find the link here.
Alternatively - read on below!
The Flipped Classroom: A Paradigm Shift
A change is here. It is not coming. It is here. It has arrived. And like the wind, teachers can feel it on their skin, and in some classrooms. The way teachers have taught for the last 100 years is undergoing a significant transformation. This article is about a paradigm shift.
Readers have almost certainly heard about the flipped classroom. It is a concept that has been in the educational sphere for at least five years now. At its most basic definition, the flipped classroom is this: the lessons are viewed at home and the homework is done in school. Hence, the standard classwork/homework pattern is ‘flipped’ or inverted. There are more sophisticated and better definitions than this, but that is for another article.
What effect does this homework/classwork shift have on the traditional paradigm of teaching? How does creating video lectures for students open up a classroom to be more engaging in homework-style activities? What sort of effect does this have on the classroom? The answer is, a significant effect.
In the flipped classroom, a paradigm that has remained unchanged for around 2,000 years is transformed in an instant. No longer is the teacher out the front, dispensing his or her wisdom and intelligence, in quantifiable packets, at a prearranged times, at a set pace and at a certain point in the unit. No longer do students have to be there, in the classroom, at that place, at that time, to receive teacher-dispensed packets of wisdom and content. The age of teaching from the front of the room, like drawing on rock with charcoal, or writing on blackboard with chalk, or scribing on an interactive whiteboard, are over. The teacher is no longer the ‘sage on the stage’. Rather, the teacher is the ‘guide by the side’. This is not a catchy phrase – it is a literal description.
The teaching content is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when the student is ready. It is available at any place and on any device. It is available at the student’s preferred pace, and can be watched and re-watched as many times as is necessary. The content can also be fast-forwarded if the student deems it necessary. Student agency over student learning has been increased. Students are no longer passive recipients of the teachers’ intelligence or wisdom. Rather, they are active hunters for information they require in order to master or pass elements of the assessment.
For teachers who like to lecture from the front and have students hanging on their every word, it may be time to pursue a career in politics, because in schools, the soapbox has been smashed by the digital revolution and educators must move with the times.
An uncomfortable truth is this: if a teacher can be replaced by a YouTube video, perhaps he or she should be. Everyone may have noticed fewer cashiers in supermarkets lately. They have been replaced by the rising use of ‘self-service’ shopping machines. The same sort of thing is happening in education right now. Developing technology is driving a paradigm shift.
Obviously, some lessons require person-to-person interaction; discussions for example, or debates. A video cannot provide much in the way of empathy, or a sympathetic ear to a distraught student. But any lesson that is content driven can be recorded, uploaded and available permanently for students at their convenience.
Educators must change, or else a change will be foisted upon them. It is not realistic to say that teachers will not be teachers anymore. Only a trained and present teacher can effectively maximise, mediate and moderate online instruction. At this point, only teachers can guide students to different resources, or simply help their students who are stuck on a particular problem – though ‘adaptive learning’ may speak to this area in the future.
Educators must change. If they do not change, or grow, they will literally become redundant. The wind is blowing. It is time to set the sails.


K-12 Flipped Classroom Coach at Inaburra School
Matt Burns is a Primary Teacher, HSIE Coordinator, Flipped Classroom Coordinator at Inaburra School, a Christian, co-educational, K-12, independent school in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire.
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Saturday, January 16, 2016

FlipCon Australia 2015

Jon, myself and Aaron...

Hello fellow flippers,
Last year I was honored to be a presenter at two significant conferences.

The first was the Australian Institute of independent schools conference – WILL IT BLEND.

This was a conference that brought together what was current in educational technology in 2015.

My contribution to this conference was two separate presentations. Both concerned with flipping the classroom. I co-presented with Ryan Gill of Masada College, who brought his expertise at flipping the classroom in a secondary context to our group presentation.

Our presentation went well. On day one we had 15 or so people in the room - whereas on day two we had 45. People were interested in what we had to share and had spread the word. I look forward to presenting again at this conference this year.

As a presenter, I was able to view other presentations. I was most struck by the Makey Makey presentation and device. This little device really does hold some concrete use for achieving science and technology outcomes in our classrooms in a thoroughly engaging manner.

I was also invited to attend the first FlipCon Australia conference. I presented two workshops at this conference.

1)Flipping the Primary Classroom
2)Flipping the Classroom: K to 12 Leadership

Both presentations received positive feedback from the attendees, the second in particular. In this second presentation I focused on my research of the literature concerning the efficacy of the flip classroom approach and student satisfaction rates in a K – 12 context.

I also was part of an interview panel for primary teachers.

At this conference I was able to work directly under John Bergman and Aaron Sams, the two leaders in the flip classroom educational movement.

These two men were as inspiring in real life as they are in their book - and I hope to work with them more.

There were a couple of key thoughts that arose from this conference.

Aaron Sams was brilliant in his observation that at some point in the future the flip classroom will entirely fade away. We will not even refer to it. In fact the flip classroom will become as ubiquitous as pencils. It will just be a part of the educational culture that we are in.

Futher to this, the observations from Sams and Bergman regarding the inexorable flow on effect from flipping your classroom classroom are worth noting.

When one is able to provide content 100% flipped manner, one can then look at your assessments as well and seek to provide those in a flipped manner – and ultimately when one has mastered this one can then extend this differentiation to modifying the assessment in such a way that the key elements of the topic are still being assessed but are been assessed in such a way that suits the learner.

For example a student who labors with chemistry but is highly interested in metalwork - can be assessed (as much as is reasonable) on his chemical understanding of the metalwork.

Or a student who loves his soccer, but labors with physics, can be assessed on his astrophysical understanding of what is happening with regards to angles and forces to a soccer ball in extended game of soccer.

This has given this some thought to how I would also mean like to assess in my own classroom - and of course is concerned with principles of UDL.

Further to this I have been challenged to up the engagement quality of some of my screen card presentations. I must thank Jeremy LeCormu for this.

Whilst I still hold that a satisfactory screen cast is perhaps better than the best live teacher lesson… I have been inspired to increase the engagement level of my own screen casting technique. I think that Jeremy does this very well, and I have sought to emulate his style here.

It is my aim to shortly begin research on the efficacy of the flipped classroom in a primary context. Currently there is an international dearth of any such research available in a primary or secondary level (particularly the former).

 I hope to begin this under and collaborating with the University of Wollongong, using my own class and some objective testing results that I have collected along the way. This will take the form of a comparative study.

If you would like me to share in flipping the classroom with you, or your staff, I would be very happy to do so. Contact details are available on this site,  or below.

Google: mattburnsflipyourclassroom
T: @BurnsMatthew
M: 0411 824 123
E: mattburns1976@gmail.com