Exploring Current Trends in Learning
I’ll be referencing a post that our very own Chrissy put together last year as it’s very much still relevant and interesting and pertains to what we’re discussing in Course 4. So credit goes to her for this post!
I’m sure that in many of your schools, at least someone you know is testing out a flipped classroom model, using Minecraft, or finding ways to embrace play and or gaming in the classroom. These three are perhaps the most common learning strategies that have become quite popular in recent years. COETAILers from every cohort have developed projects using these current trends, some so successfully that they have transformed their entire classroom.
Reverse Instruction or Flipped Classroom
Quite a few of our COETAIL graduates have had lots of success with the flipped classroom model – particularly those who have modified it to really suit their needs. Have a look at Philip Arneil (who created his own definition of flipped classroom and it’s amazing), Jana Tanagawa (who used the flipped classroom model to ensure that her students kept learning while she was on an extended sick leave), or one of the many other COETAILers sharing their interpretation of the model.
Chrissy, another Coetail instructor stated,
“There is lots of debate about this model, and I’m not 100% convinced about it yet. I’ve used mini tutorials with my students especially when I know they will want to refer back to the material over and over again. I’m not, however, a fan of lecture in any format (in person or via video), nor do I like the idea of taking a content heavy class and just delivering it at home instead of during the school day. I’ve been in a school that has taken advantage of the “flipped classroom model” when school was forced to close due to extreme weather. As you can imagine, there were varying degrees of successfulness of the model, throughout the Elementary, Middle and High School areas – reasons why just as varied (and probably need to be a blog post of its own!).”
Flipping the classroom doesn’t work for everyone, nor does it work for all subjects all the time. But with some careful planning and equally careful preparation, it does work and it can be powerful! I’ve seen it work with high school students in a TOK class – that was fascinating – not the process of it, but watching the students adjust to a different way of learning and interacting with their teacher and peers. Some thrived, some struggled, some looked bewildered but they certainly remembered the content and I’m sure that they were more active as learners than ever before.
Chrissy continued with,
“I’ve tried flipping my own classroom of 3rd graders. Albeit on a much smaller scale and only for one topic in Social Studies. It was a struggle for some because it was a different way of doing things than we’d done in the past, but what isn’t when you do it for the first time? I would definitely try it again.”
How about you? Have you flipped your classroom before? Is this something you might consider doing in the future?
Image Attribution: cc Johnny Jet
This list is from the IBO and includes feedback that students have given in regards to flipped classroom instruction videos:
- videos should be no longer than 10 minutes
- videos should be natural and include the normal mistakes that teachers would make when speaking in front of a class (ie: no excessive editing, just record and upload)
- videos should reflect the teacher’s personality – jokes and side comments are appreciated (ie: just asking students to watch Khan Academy videos is not the same as a flipped classroom model)
Game Based Learning
Although Jane is talking about gaming on a much grander scale in her TED talk, this is a great place to start thinking about the power of games in the classroom – and not just playing games, but transforming the way we teach and learn with game-based-learning strategies. Adrian Camm has a fantastic compilation of resources for those interested in learning more. Even though it’s now 2 years later, here’s his Learning2 Talk from Singapore (2013) to get you started:
Rebekah Madrid (one of our awesome COETAIL instructors and COETAIL graduate Alex Guenther, have been using Minecraft with middle school students in lots of interesting ways. Still relevant two years later, here’s Rebekah’s Learning 2 Talk from 2013:
Suzanne Holloway lists four ideas to gamify your classroom (check the link for some ideas about what that means):
- Gamify your grading practices
- Recognize achievements with badges
- Integrate educational games and simulations into your curriculum
- Add an element of competition
Meredith at LearnBoost plays devil’s advocate and comes up with 3 reasons NOT to gamify education:
- Extrinsic v. Intrinsic motivation
- Token Economies
- Psychological Undermining
You may not agree with all of her points, especially the “psychological undermining”, but it is interesting to think about some of the arguments against gamification and what we can do to address some of them.
Bringing education and game elements together could turn out like peanut butter meeting chocolate: two great tastes working together,leading to results that are especially important for developing 21st century skills… By making play mandatory, gamification might create rule-based experiences that feel just like school. Instead of chocolate and peanut butter, such projects are more like chocolate-covered broccoli. (link added) –Lee and Hammer
Where do you stand on the debate? How have seen game mechanics being used effectively in classrooms to gamify ed? What experiences do you have with games and simulations in your teaching and learning? What do you think about badges and micro-credentials and their place in schools?