On October 7th, ClickView brought together prominent educators from across Australia and New Zealand to take-part in Australia’s first Flipped Education Leaders’ Roundtable. The expert panel included:
- Jeremy LeCornu, Brighton Secondary School
- Steven Griffiths, Cavendish Road State High School
- Stephanie Kriewaldt, Trinity Lutheran College
- Heather Davis, Corpus Christi Catholic High School
- Aimee Shackleton, Balcombe Grammar School
- Toby Ward, Brighton Secondary School
- Kurt Challinor, Parramatta Marist High School
- Joel Speranza, St Joseph’s College, Nudgee
- Jeremy Cumming, Catholic Archdiocese of Christchurch
While the day was designed to facilitate a high-level dialogue about flipped education, a growing practice in Australia, New Zealand and beyond, the broader narrative at play was how to best maximise and leverage the latent potential of technology to deepen teacher impact, improve student outcomes and better facilitate meaningful learning both in the classroom and at home.
The topics under discussion included: incorporating flipped learning into active pedagogies to deepen knowledge and develop employability skills, empowering teachers to be effective content creators, scaling flipped education and connecting it with problem based learning and student perceptions of flipped education.
A number of themes emerged during the day but three major ones included: how to maximise the impact of face-to-face teaching, how to connect flipped education with broader developments in curriculum design and how to effectively scale flipped education within schools and beyond.
Connecting the Flipped Classroom with Meaningful Pedagogy to Maximise Face-to-Face Time
The core maxim of flipped education according to Jeremy LeCornu, one Australia’s most prominent flipped educators, is to maximise face-to-face time with students. It’s important to remember this for two reasons: first it serves as a corrective to the fear that video delivery of direction instruction replaces the teacher, in fact it emphasizes the teacher and requires effective use of class time to actually be effective. Second, once it is accepted that flipped education is about effective use of the class time salvaged from minimizing direct instruction in the classroom, this opens up really meaningful conversations about how to use that class time.
The presenters brought a range of perspectives about how classtime can be maximised in the flipped classroom. Steve Griffiths, of Cavendish Road State High School, focused on using the flipped approach to balance knowledge acquisition with other important skills like meta-learning strategies and fostering social and emotional skills. Kurt Challinor, Director of the Centre for Deeper Learning at Parramatta Marist High School, provided insights into how flipped learning connects with problem based learning as carried out at his school. While Stephanie Kreiwaldt, of Trinity Lutheran College, and Heather Davis, of Corpus Christi Catholic High School, both presented on how to incorporate the flipped approach into the classroom at both a primary level and a secondary level. Kriewaldt uses learning stations in her primary school classroom while Davis follows flipped mastery approach, whereby students work at differentiated paces within the same classroom.
It became clear throughout the day that flipped education, if done in a meaningful manner offers rich educational potential. The reason is simple: flipping the classroom allows teachers and students to undertake much richer learning with the time they have together. As the day demonstrated, the educational raison d’etre for the flipped classroom is sound. The next question is how can it be rolled out?
Scaling the Flipped Classroom
Like anything, scaling the flipped classroom is a tricky one. A number of attendees unpacked this conundrum during their presentations. Jeremy LeCornu, from Brighton Secondary School, has extensive experience providing professional development both at his school and around Australia in flipped education. His argument is that while it can be done, it takes time, but he argued the belief that it is due to teacher’s not wanting to change is wrong. Instead, he argues reticence generally revolves around technical proficiency, with many teachers not feeling they are “tech-savvy”, this is easily overcome because screencasting software is now extremely simple to use and generally just requires a collegiate conversation to get things rolling.
Kurt Challinor also made a number of comments about scaling flipped learning across his school, a process he noted took a number of years to properly embed, required setting of clear expectations for teaching and learning and remembering that it is a slow burn process. Jeremy Cumming, a flipped teacher representing the Archdiocese from Christchurch, presented some very interesting initial findings and proposals on how to effectively scale flipped education across schools, which often operate as silos, cut off from one another.
Connected with this, in her presentation on harnessing the unexpected results of flipped education Aimee Shackleton, of Balcombe Grammar, reflected on the fact that every journey into flipped education is a unique experience because no two classrooms, schools or indeed teachers are the same. This is a heartening reminder that there is really no right or wrong way to flip a classroom but the focus must remain on the fact that the learning getting done at the end is of high quality.
Defining the Flipped Classroom is Tricky
Indeed, this also highlights that defining the “flipped classroom” is a very slippery task. Joel Speranza, of St. Joseph’s College in Nudgee, led a very lively wrap up discussion about this very issue. No matter what way the concept is cut it seems to resist easy definition: does it have to be a video? Does it have to be your video? Do the students watch it in class or before class? What sort of active learning pedagogies does it call for, if it calls for a specific one at all? These questions were echoed by Aaron Sams, one of the founders of the flipped classroom movement, at the FlipCon 2016 Gold Coast Conference.
Nevertheless the ultimate takeaway from the roundtable was that, flipped education, however you define it, has proven to be a versatile and meaningful instructional technique that is likely to continue growing thanks to the efforts of innovative and committed practitioners across Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
If you are interested in viewing the flipped lessons made by these educators you can view them here: http://online.clickview.com.au/exchange/channels Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about the flipped classroom or the new flipped channels by ClickView.