June 1

Alan November and Flipping the Classroom

After listening to Alan November as part of the Guide To Innovation series on the Thursday for an hour session which just flew, I was really looking forward to spending a day immersing myself in his views on leading learning in the 21st Century. I love that the focus is on the learning and pedagogy, rather than the technology, which is a cool tool…. but just the tool.

Question…it has never been easier to be a teacher

We used Promethean clickers to provide immediate feedback – the results –

Is it easier to teach? Is it easier to learn in C21


Q. It has never been easier to learn something – Response… Agree

How to design a curriculum which involves the whole family in learning…. Those of us considered early adopters have seen many of the benefits and pitfalls of using new technologies, and have developed ways to minimise harm…. many parents often “don’t know what they don’t know”…we need to design curriculum for the whole family in order to have a whole community approach to ethical and responsible use. One way which was suggested was to create parent and family learning videos, to engage families. @HamishCurry mentioned this had been an approach used by the Libraries association and maternal child health practioners to assist in developing parent skills in reading with their children. This was working really well, until funding was lost.

Being able to think critically and validate information on the web was seen as a vital skill for all users of technology, and the old adage “don’t trust wikipedia” is no longer true, as we looked at ways of searching for information on “the earmouse” and realising that wikipedia actually had the correct information, where the more reputable news site (BBC) had information which was not correct.

“Actions of the mob, leads to accuracy” – in the case of wikipedia

3rd source should be a primary source…and by looking at your sources carefully and putting detailed search strings in (back to the Boolean search) such as the “:site” command in Google – site:MIT.edu limits the search to that extension, so you know you will probably be getting researchers data, primary source material, rather than reporters interpretation of the information.

The real revolution is not tech but info…do the kids know how to critical think, getting good quality info more important than being able to present it.

We must teach global empathy, as global citizen. I believe we do this better in Australia than they do in the US, mainly because we have so many more influences in our culture, having said that, showing students how to use country codes in searches to explore geographic and cultural differences in news reports is a great critical thinking skill… being able to view an opinion from both sides of the fence. Alan used the example of the Iranian hostage crisis, which of course was only called this in the Western media, and as the search continued the results in the Iranian news offered a totally different viewpoint.

Using Twitter to expand the conversation: Alan showed how following a hashtag (#) on Twitter could give you a wealth of information, and used the example of #Egypt which was nealy as fast moving as the #sbseurovision was over the weekend. A professor in the US posted a question on Twitter with the hashtag #Egypt, and ended up tweeting with someone on the streets of Cairo, about “What is freedom” This person agreed to then Skype with his class, and there in provide real primary source material. Needless to say the kids were enthralled.

The Flipped Classroom

The way you teach is more powerful than what you know, it’s all about asking the questions, developing inquiring minds

In her book: The Age of the Smart Machine,  1988 Shoshanna Zuboff explored the use of technology and how adding it to the classroom could add value. She generated the terms Automate and Informate

Automate…no change to structure, just adding technology does not lead to improvement on the whole

Informate …changes the balance of control, can lead to huge improvement, empowers and changes relationships. Process change

Flip model…changing the processes. Adding technology without process change adds no value. You can have as many 1:1 devices, but it does not mean there will be value added to the learning if the process is not changed.

All about the flip

Eric Mazur developed a flipped classroom approach in his Harvard Physics classes, to develop deeper understanding of the knowledge the students were covering

From Questions to Concepts

In fact Facebook was developed so his students could ask him questions (Mark Zuckerburg was in his class)

Game based learning is going to be one of the next big “things” according to the Horizon Report

#gbl #seriousgames

Of course kids prefer games to school, you don’t fail if you get it wrong in a game, at school there is punishment/failure if you get it wrong

Kids love learning, and getting to next level…they chose the level, in class teacher sets the level

They know the objective in a game, where often in school they don’t….”why do we have to learn this?”

Mazur’s model is Socratic, an exchange of ideas. Our brains are wired to be social, Socrates meets Facebook. The role of a good teacher is to ask the questions to generate debate

Quality of feedback is important- Hattie

If the brain records a misconception when young, the misconception trumps good teaching. It is harder to unlearn misconceptions.

Flipping saves time

1:1 should be about the teacher talking to each student everyday, not devices

Khan academy shows the whole game – students can choose their sttarting point and path with immediate feedback

Khan academy based on game theory, not punishment model

Beautiful chaos is kids working towards their goals, linear teachers have trouble with this

Coach feature gives teachers a wealth of information


Dan Pink – Drive

Purpose – autonomy – mastery

Our schools and way of teaching often moves on before some students are at mastery level. If you give them the chance of mastery, the kids will flourish. Flipping the classroom gives back time to teachers to develop the creative questioning

WrAP … Www.erblearn.org

The writing assessment program, ai to mark papers….gives data to free teachers from the hours of reading assessment

Fan fiction

Kids use a pseudonym to avoid criticism of self, only the work is criticised in reviews

Go figure…posting work to the world for feedback is more motivating than posting to your teacher

Publishing student work for a global audience

Get kids to produce tutorials for other kids

  • Look at critical thinking
  • Flip model…process change
  • Global relationships, world wide audience

Some great reference sites were shared to help harness the information



Www.dipity.com – timeline creator, keep timelines, and build on each year

History pin works well with dipity and google maps

Mathtrain.tv kids making tutorials for kids

Hattie – peer tutoring

Ask a friend is always the first option

The teacher knows too much – explains at a level higher than the child can understand, math train has a rewind.

All in all a wonderful day. I have already started using Socrative Teacher as a feedback tool for my classes….with positive results from students.




October 20

To twit or tweet

What is Twitter… I wondered that myself when I first joined up with Twitter a couple of years ago , when working on my Teacher Professional Leave Project, to see what it was all about… like I have with many other things web2.0.
What is Twitter???? It is a form of “micro blogging” posting short messages to other people, informing of updates, how you are feeling, things going on, interesting links and so on. A bit like the status updates in Facebook. The characters are limited to about 120 per post, so using txt spelling is sometimes a must.
I was at first confused, and not sure that my phone was able to cope… I tried the sms way to no avail, so used it sporadically when I was online… suprisingly it was not blocked at school like so many other sites are. I loved the Twitter add on in Firefox, but lost that when the newest version came out, and I can’t find anything similar in IE… ahh well

I added people I knew through my web 2.0 wanderings, and it took a while, but I now often use the internet on my phone to connect… and am kinda glad I don’t do the sms thing.

I was then introduced to Diigo, through Alexander Hayes, who was one of the first people to inspire me with the use of some of these tools, through funnily enough a twitter link on my phone…

Diigo is sort of like del.icio.us, sort of like a social networking site…but when you go to bookmark sites you can add them to a twitter post as well… (I always wondered how these clever people added the links in their posts… seemed too much like hard work… hehehe) This connection opened a whole new world of professional networking opportunities for me, as I was no longer just a passive getter of information, I could also share sites I had found 🙂

Finding people to follow can be interesting…. I have gradually added to my Professional Learning Network as well as a few interest/fun ones…

The people I follow are mostly very inspirational and innovative user web 2.0 tools, like Alex Hayes, Harriet Wakelam, Jo Kay, Kerry J, Helen Otway, and so on…. I must add Sue Waters too 🙂 She is another one who has been very inspirational…

Twitter may seem a bit gimicky, but the power to build a Professional Learning Network, of like minded people not only locally, but around the world is its most powerful use I believe…. and I am going to see if I can twitter this… hehehe

There are some very cool tools to use with Twitter in your browser, but most of them are sadly blocked or designed for Firefox (my preferred browser, but not one I can use at school), which limits how I can use them. I added snitter today, but then realised it was blocked, had to use my mobile broadband… ahhh the trials and tribulations.