I have just returned from another great conference in Kelowna. It wasn’t just about flipped classrooms, but rather about making learning meaningful. Many of my preliminary research findings were prevalent. Flipping is not about making videos. It’s about putting the ownership of learning onto the learner. However, as I am finding in my own research, learners should not be given complete freedom of learning because then they will not have any motivation to be engaged. They need to be given some structure in order to capture their attention and make them want to put the effort into learning. this was evident in Ramsey Mussallam’s Keynote at the conference as well as his TED talk:
At Canflip13, Ramsey conducted a session on inquiry based learning with technology. I observed him using quite a bit of classroom structure. As I have discovered in my own research, such procedural and organizational structure can be provided as long as it is supported in an autonomous way. However, the key is to provide students with cognitive autonomy. This means that students should be given opportunities to create meaning in their own ways. I believe that this is the key to any good teaching model, and the flipped classroom in particular allows for this. Nonetheless, this is still a difficult feat to achieve. How do we catch our learners attention, and even further, how do we KEEP this attention? I find that it is relatively easy to hook students into an idea, but it seems as though too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing because students get used to our ‘hooks’ and become immune to their stimulative powers. I guess what I mean is that it is a challenge for any teacher to keep their course interesting the whole way through. The key to this is changing things up and bringing in elements of surprise. When people are surprised by something, they engage in it. I think we don’t just need to spark student learning, but we need to find ways to continue building interest. In his keynote, Ramsey brought attention to the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy. We need to find ways to lead students to higher order thinking. Flipping a classroom needs to have this very purpose in mind, and just making videos does not cut it. We need to utilize the extra time in an engaging manner. That is the goal.
I do not claim to have the answer to this goal, but it is what I strive for.