FlipConAUS 2015

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be part of a team of teachers headed to sunny Queensland for Australia’s very first FlipCon (for those not in the know, FlipCon is a conference about Flipped Learning).  At any conference, I hope to learn new things on two levels – firstly, I like to leave the conference with my thinking about teaching and learning altered or challenged, ie.  I want the ‘big idea’ stuff.  But, I also like to leave a conference with something I can do the next day in my classroom.  FlipCon ticked both these boxes.

What is the best use of class time?

This question was, for me, the big idea I left the conference with.  This is the question that I want to have at the forefront of my mind as I finish the year off and move into the 2016 school year.  In an ideal world, collaborative learning, discussion, and problem solving are the three key things that I’d like to use class time for.  Flipping the classroom allows for all of these things.  But, what is flipping and how do you do it?

I used to think that flipped learning only worked in classrooms, mostly secondary, where the traditional lecture takes place.  Ie.  Watch the lecture at home, do some problem solving etc. at school.  I was curious about how the flipped concept could be applied at the primary school level.  Enter the ‘in-flip.’  In-flipping is where students are introduced to content via video in the classroom.  This could be done after a pre-test, with different students watching different videos, as a way of revising concepts or as part of literacy/numeracy rotations.  Flipping in this way effectively means that there are two teachers in the room – real life you and virtual you.  There are so many ways that the primary teacher can tweak their current teaching to include flipping.  Benefits of flipping?

  • More time for 1:1 or small group teaching,
  • More time for collaborative learning and group discussion.
  • More time for problem solving.
  • Allows students to progress through concepts at a more flexible pace.
  • Greater differentiation is possible.

The recurring take-home message from many of the FlipCon sessions was this – make a start but expect it to take time.  So, make a start I will.  For the remainder of the school year, I plan to create a couple of videos addressing common grammar errors in Year 4 as well as some maths videos.  I’ve also flipped a dictation assessment so I don’t need to continually repeat myself for the slower writers.  The conference introduced many of the ways to create screencasts, including Screencast-O-Matic, eduCanon, Explain Everything and Office Mix, so I plan to have a play around with all of these over the next few weeks.  My goal over the summer is to prepare videos for all the major Maths topics in first term as well as videos introducing different genres of writing and some of the mechanical aspects of writing.  Another area of interest worth exploring is the idea of flipping parent information.

Upon return from the conference, I used Storify, another suggestion from the conference, to archive my notes (written as tweets) for future reference.  You can check out my #FlipConAUS story here.

How does or how could flipped learning look in your classroom?

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