Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Using the Flipped Classroom in Teacher Education

Dear Colleagues:

In the "Flipped Classroom" model, instruction that typically occurred in a classroom is now accessed away from the classroom usually through technology prior to a face-to-face (F2F) class meeting. This means class becomes the venue to apply content and skills learned away from class, solve problems, create solutions, and engage in collaborative learning strategies. There are many ways to "Flip" classrooms and learning strategies. One of the key payoffs of the flipped classroom lies in the opportunity to create a new and effective way of learning.

We used the "Flipped" classroom approach in my Technology for School Leaders graduate class at Loyola University Maryland. It worked like this:
  1. A cohort of 24 aspiring school leaders gained content knowledge and skills by completing away from the classroom an online program of seven Learning Layouts of sessions and activities using integrated social media and PD tools, including online coaching sessions as needed by individuals.

  2. Over two months we met F2F as a whole class for three weekends [Friday night 6-9 and Saturday 9-4] wherein the graduate students worked as individuals and in action teams to apply the content and skills they gained online to solve problems, construct products, and complete performances related to the program outcomes.

  3. The blended "Flipped" approach included one global online learning community, one online learning community for the entire class, and four action team learning communities that met online and F2F in the flipped weekend sessions.
Our flipped approach led to over 100 products and performances for sharing in the six online learning communities and were posted as wikitasks for standards-based lessons, data-driven Web 2.0 presentations, professional blogs, and action plans for disruptive and sustaining innovations.

The program process and outcomes still serve as resources for the graduate students because the learning communities continue beyond the ending of a "conventional" class and the outcomes are available online for anyone beyond the class to access, adopt, or adapt in real world settings. 

The program and free integrated social media and PD tools are available here:

Nick Hobar

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dynamic Learning -- A Way to Refresh What Students Learn!

How can we challenge current practice wherein educators state what they want students to learn before they learn it -- standards-based instruction and assessment? 

As a frontier beyond standards-based learning, I envision "Dynamic Learning" -- a process that takes the best of current student work and makes it better continuously. Dynamic Learning will help students, educators, parents, and stakeholders to learn more about what students learn by letting "learning" happen and then by analyzing what has been learned, post hoc. This process uses the best of what is learned and shared by students as the current standard of quality with no preconceived limits. And because of technology the current standard gets "refreshed" by dynamic student learning and not by a drawn out content standards development process. 

How does Dynamic Learning work?

  • First, Dynamic Learning helps all students to examine how other students have produced a quality product or performance.
  • Second, it encourages students to match, if not surpass, those products or performances to create a new "best" for other students to emulate.

  •  Third, it applies technology to offer us all kinds of new ways to assess the best works of student learning, e.g., polls, likes, blogs, wikis, Web 2.0 editors, and feedback response tools. 
See where I'm going? Using Dynamic Learning means that each time learning activities are completed and shared through technology a student(s) may establish a better product or performance than the current standard of quality -- on local, state, national, and global levels. Wow! Sounds like learning can be fun at a whole new level!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Creating a Professional Development Learning Rave

Dear Colleagues:

Although political and educational leaders, researchers, and corporations develop new standards such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and look for ways to help teachers implement them, they overlook an obvious one...

Today's online learning communities make it possible to connect the individual and collective intelligence of people uniquely qualified to match their expertise with the needs and problems of individuals and organizations implementing the standards. 

For example, integrated social media and professional development tools help online learning community members and teams to learn, develop, co-create, remix, and share resources on-demand -- thereby moving beyond a conventional "schedule of district or school PD days" to a dynamic venue for advancing professional development. 

All this calls for starting a "Learning Rave" for professional development rather than designing another "new system." Over the decades, school reform in the United States has seen numerous "new systems" get co-opted by the status quo. In today's world, if we want ideas to flourish and spread, using an online learning community strategy with integrated social media and professional development tools will scale-up dramatically and lead to the types of PD scenarios described here to support CCSS:

Nick Hobar

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Social Media and the Daily Tasks of Teaching

Dear Colleagues:

Have you ever wondered how social media and professional development tools can be used to help teachers complete the daily tasks of teaching? Here is a list of what teachers can do with social media and PD tools and a link to our learning community with example scenarios of how they do it to improve student learning.

Typical Daily Tasks of Teaching:
  1. Plan standards-based units and lessons
  2. Construct formative and summative assessments
  3. Align standards, instruction or training, and assessment
  4. Teach a skill, concept, process, or principle
  5. Integrate graphic organizers
  6. Differentiate instruction, training, and assessment
  7. Evaluate learner performances with scoring tools such as rubrics
  8. Analyze learner performance data and act on results 
  9. Clone and WikiTask lessons and other teaching tasks to colleagues
  10. Communicate with colleagues and other members

Nick Hobar