Monday, 18 May 2015

Flipping the classroom at Inaburra (2015 Term 2 Week 5)

Technology is a disruptive force in education. Schools are not the same now as they were a decade ago. In this article I want to provide a profile of one way that education at Inaburra has shifted under the impact of the ICT revolution: namely, flipped learning. Flipped learning (and its closely related cousin blended learninguses educational technology such as online videos/screencasts to deliver content outside of the classroom. The goal is not to make Academy Award-worthy videos, but to make direct instruction from teachers accessible to students whenever and wherever they need it. 

You can read a longer explanation and summary of the flipped classroom here. The picture below is the really truncated version!

Let me tell you about some of the ways that Inaburra teachers have been utilising online video as a tool for student learning. I encourage you to take the time to view some of the videos and websites that are linked below.

Mr Burns, who teaches Year 5, has been utilising screen casting since 2012; since the start of this year he has been allocated time as the Flipped Learning Coach for teachers at Inaburra. While most of his videos are curated on the Year 5 website where they are integrated into the overall learning program for the students, you can see a wide selection of the videos he has made on his Youtube channel. Mr Burns' expertise in this area is being increasingly recognised around the country; he is presenting a number of workshops at a national conference later in the year. This two minute video is a brief advertisement that he recorded for that conference. 

Mr Blake has built a truly extraordinary website that is designed for maths students in Years 7-12. Nearly every maths topic that is covered in the NSW syllabus has been covered with short videos that can be accessed by every child. If you have ever had the experience of a child asking for help with secondary school maths that goes beyond your mastery - or if the dynamic of offering help is not welcomed - Mr Blake can help!

Mr Phil Lucas has built a site with a suite of video lessons for Year 12 students of PDHPE. Since September 2014, his site has had more than 7000 page views and his videos have been watched more than 14000 times. 

Mr Jeff Larson has also developed some wonderful resources for students of Year 11 and 12 Chemistry, which are curated on this website, along with other relevant teaching resources.

Mrs Hayley Graham (English), Mrs Kathryn Slaughter (Maths), Mr Greg Smith (Science) and Mr Peter Butchatsky (Year 3) all have Youtube channels where they are building online video resources for learning. Mr Jason Hosking and Ms Melissa Chuck are teaching Year 4 spelling using screencasts on the class blog. Mrs Nicole Collins has recorded these videos to help parents to help their children master handwriting.

These staff and others have been working together on video instruction as their major focus on professional learning during this semester. The videos linked to above represent dozens and dozens of hours of effort to support their students. I am immensely proud of the efforts of our teaching staff to improve their practice, to acquire new skills and to work hard for their students; the children at Inaburra are well-served by their teachers!

Our use of ICT in learning is not a rash rush to adopt the latest thing. ICT is a tool and it is always important to choose the best tool for a job. In this case, the component of teaching known as 'direct instruction' lends itself to being done through online video. However, teaching is so much more than just direct instruction! School education is a fundamentally relational exercise. As our Mission says, we are pursuing excellence in education with every indivdual known and loved. 

Screencasting is only one way that ICT is shaping our children's experience of education. I haven't mentioned blogs, Google Drive, Moodle, the Teacher Dashboard, Edmodo, Blendspace, Scoop-it, Quadblogging, global connections or any of the other initiatives that our staff are taking. In addition to ICT-related advances, there are many other ways that our teachers are developing their professional practice through professional learning, taking on challenging changes and equipping our children for the future. After all, the future is already here. It is just not distributed evenly

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