Flipping the classroom

More in line with Sugata Mitra’s SOLE approach is the concept of flipping the classroom. This is a great graphic I found on Samantha Schroeder’s blog.


She also summarized the tools for flipping the classroom quite nicely:

Our PIDP 3250 class brainstormed in class activities and ways to flip a classroom here are the suggestions, Thanks to all who contributed.

  • Role playing
  • Homework – “Ask the expert” during class time
  • Play Jeopardy with terms introduced in the video
  • Have them critique how well the video brought concepts across
  • Get them to answer a questionnaire about the material
  • Make a pop quiz at beginning of class worth 2%
  • Go on a field trip to a relevant destinations
  • Have a guest speaker
  • Students form groups and come up with games for class
  • Team based Learning
  • Immediate feedbvack assessment techniques
  • Discuss a audio recording or video in class
  • Students help each other and compare, collaborate, assess and demonstrate
  • Working backwards… on purpose
  • Review the  lesson for the next day and come to school to carry out/practice the task/objective

Sugata Mitra’s “School in the Cloud” – mind-blowing!

Objective Questions:

In Sugata Mitra’s TED Talk “Build a School in the Cloud” (2013) he first introduces the idea that our current educational model is outdated and skills that are being taught were relevant in the age of the British Empire, not today.

He then tells us of his experiments with putting computers into the wall of East Indian Slums, and how quickly they achieved competency.

His resulting argument is that he suggests that learning environments should be allowed to be self-created and self-structured. He calls it Self Organized Learning Environments, or SOLE. The teacher should simply set the process in motion by asking big, open-ended questions and then let the students figure out how to get there.  Using a combination of broadband internet, collaboration, and encouragement, the result is astounding.

His wish, therefore, is that he will build a school in the cloud where he can develop the future of learning using the guiding principles of SOLE. In the meantime, he encourages as many people as possible to try SOLE as a method of teaching.

Reflective Questions:

The concept that our education system is outdated alone is a thought-provoking statement. To add the concept of Self Organized Learning Environments on top has the potential to make this a profound paradigm shift where I start to question our current way of teaching, learning and education. It is a thoroughly exciting concept, but it also makes you question what you are currently doing and how you can do things differently. It makes me wonder how I can teach a course like Tourism Operations Management by asking big, open-ended questions. Then I ask myself whether a course like Tourism Operations Management is even necessary. Do we even need to know theoretical concepts? I am creating the course at the same time as the students are learning it, so if they all had my skill to analyze, interpret and contextualize data, would they even need to take the course?

Interpretive Questions:

I am at this point questioning the relevance of my course. I am there to teach knowledge and concepts, while at the same time trying to develop the students’ ability to problem-solve and come up with solutions of their own. They are supposed to get familiar with the different sectors of the Tourism industry, but really, with a mind trained in critical and analytical thinking they should be able to integrate anywhere fairly quickly and seamlessly. All the information they would ever need is at their fingertips, especially if they have been taught to use technology effectively. One thing that they would also need is interpersonal skills, but a SOLE is based on the concept of collaboration, so they already know how to act well in a group. The concept is astounding and could reshape education as we know it. This is how I could start the class off:

You have applied for a job as an Operations Manager at a hotel/resort/tour company etc.  and for some reason you got the job. Your General Manager asks you to create a set of Standard Operating Procedures using the principles of Lean Management. Here are the subheadings for your SOP’s. Every class you will tackle one subheading and will do a short presentation. Please hand in your SOP’s at the end of term.

Decisional Questions:

The idea of using a SOLE is daunting. Being fairly fresh to the teaching profession gives me the advantage of being open to new ideas and not being stuck in a rut, but it also means that I lack the confidence/political clout to be able to experiment like this and then potentially have it blow up in my face. This is certainly a concept that I would like to explore further, but maybe I will wait another term or two until I am deeply familiar with the subject matter. I would really love your feedback on this idea.



Sugata Mitra’s TED Talk


SOLE: Self Organized Learning Environments

I just watched this TED Talk by Sugata Mitra and am blown away by the possibilities it represents. I think I might try teaching my course this way next term. I am done lecturing and will now only ask guiding questions and let them figure out the answers. Maybe I’ll put the questions on moodle in discussion forums? But what will I do with class time? Will I divide the class up in groups to answer different questions and have them teach to each other? Will we have discussions on how to apply the concepts into different scenarios? My mind is racing. I need to wrap my head around this a little more.

Gamification versus Game based learning

I just learned that there is a difference between Gamification and Game-based learning. Gamification is to add gaming characteristics and motivations to the content you are teaching, while game-based learning is to play an actual game that is designed to be educational. This article does a really good job of describing the difference between the two. Here is a graphic out of the article.


Gamification of world problems!

I just watched this inspiring TED Talk video about using online games to solve problems in the real world. How, you might ask? Well, all it needs is a well-designed game. Jane McGonigal designed a game where there was an oil shortage and the players had to figure out how to make do without it. 1700 players played it and then were tracked afterwards and the majority of them kept up the habits they developed in game play. There are 500 million expert gamers on the planet now. Imagine putting that consciousness towards real world problems. The results could be astounding.

The flipped classroom

This week I learned what the term “flipped classroom” actually means. I always thought it was about the student becoming the teacher, but it is in fact quite different. Here is a video  of what it is.

It is where lectures are pre-recorded and the students actually watch it online and class time is spent on comprehension exercises. This enables more one-on-one time with instructors and the ability for students to help each other understand.

I am quite inspired by this technique and my mind is racing. I was of course aware of the Khan Academy, but I had always thought that it would be better used in the sciences, rather than the arts. Now that I think about it, it can be used in most settings. It has always irked me to be using my classroom time so inefficiently by me talking away up front while the students just sit there and watch (I try to be more interesting than that, but you get the idea). I already refuse to show videos in class or have them do reading, but I can now take it further. So I am going to try it out on a few lectures. I’m looking forward to it.

The power of introverts

After watching Susan Cain’s video “The power of introverts”, the last three points she mentioned made me think. But let me set the scene.

I myself am an ambivert, as Susan Cain calls it. Taking the Myers-Briggs test I scored an ESTP, where E stands for extrovert. But for me that is not a clear case, I’m right on the border between introversion and extroversion. While I enjoy social situations and I do have an ability to be somewhat of a social cameleon – I can fit in and adopt mannerisms of individuals and groups very quickly – I like my moments of solitude, reflection and just doing things by myself.

We moved from North Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast of BC a year and a half ago now and I now no longer enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. I can’t stand the noise, the traffic and the manic energy. I do identify with the introverts to some extent.

So, coming back to Susan Cain, these are the three pointers she provides:

  1. Stop the madness for constant group work

As I reflect on the two courses I’m designing right now I’m realizing that they involve a lot of group work. That being said though, it is not the type of group work where everything has to happen in a group setting, it is more the type where everyone takes a section and then goes away and creates their little part of the whole. I hope that it serves the introverts and the extroverts equally that way.

  1. Go to the wilderness, unplug and get into your own heads

I am a strong believer of the power of nature, the outdoors and traveling to gain perspective, peace and a separation from busy, every-day life.

  1. Take a look at what’s in your suitcase and share it with the world, because the world needs you.

This is an appeal to the true introverts to share their genius with the world, as those that have a lot of time to think will come up with more ideas. I can think of Stephen Hawking, who, unable to move, has a lot of time to think – and look at what he has produced. We should all try to harness the power of solitude and reflection more often.