Flipping Professional Development

The flipped classroom has been a hot topic in education for the past five years. More recently, the idea of flipping professional development has been experimented with at schools and in corporate training. The idea is to rethink what we want to spend our time with in face to face (F2F) sessions and how we can change the training that occurs before and after those sessions to be more  self-directed.

Face-to-face training time, especially with technology integration, is used most efficiently when the lower level portions are done online and offline outside those encounters.

It was only this year that the Flipped Learning Network adopted and released a formal definition for flipped learning, and their Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™ and a checklist of eleven indicators that educators must incorporate into their practice. (see the definition, pillars and indicators) They also draw a distinction between flipped learning and a flipped classroom.
“Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”
Prior to this, there was no consensus definition for flipped learning, flipped classrooms, flipped anything. This definition still allows for a great deal of instructor-specific style, design and delivery.

I will be doing a presentation on flipped professional development at the at the NJEDge.Net Annual Conference on November 20, 2014. This approach to professional development is a way to maximize instructor and learner's time for professional learning.

It is certainly a result of our increased use of technology and the growth in education and business of online learning and the hybrid or blended learning model. That model combines personalized and on-demand digital resources with face-to-face teaching, coaching, practice and support. This is especially true for technology integration.

I would say that the growth of the Professional Learning Network or Environment (PLN or PLE - both terms are still being used) is also a factor in the flipped approach. I see more articles about flipped professional development for teachers, especially in K-12.

Some of the points that are stressed in this type of learning are:
Documentation - maintaining consistency and accountability through record keeping
Ongoing – creating time for teachers on a regular schedule
Coached – providing teachers access to an instructional technology coach
Personalized Content - providing relevant digital resources to support learning
Collaborative – personalizing learning by creating small collaborative groups

Yes, I still see examples of the recorded "lecture" that students watch based the slide or screen capture with voice-over. That is something we have been trying to decrease the use of in regular online classes with limited success.

I do see success with having any lecture much shorter than in-class sessions (10-25 minutes) and focusing on a single concept, or a small number of concepts.

In flipped settings, some of the content delivery occurs before the F2F session and some of the followup may occur on/offline too.

Many of the issues of online learning still exist in flipped learning. Besides issues like knowing the true identity of the online student and monitoring progress online, the biggest question people always have about this approach is "What if they don't do the work they are supposed to do before the F2F sessions?" 

That problem goes back a few hundred years in education. We have always called it "homework" and teachers and trainers still need to deal with monitoring and assessing prior learning and making judgments about the competency, readiness and mastery of a learner.

I'll be looking at some ways that corporations and schools are dealing with those issues in my presentation and I will post some followup here with additional information.

An Educational Path to Media Convergence

Imagine this: a language arts teacher asks her middle school students to translate a poem into computer code. The students use icons or letters to produce a new language and way of seeing poetry. They can also translate the poem’s code into an actual programming language, such as Scratch,  and so animate the poem. They could put the poem into LEGO Mindstorms EV3's robot-programming language to create - well, that is yet to be seen.

This is transmedia - the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies. It is not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media sequels or adaptations, such as a novel made into a film.

The poetry activity lets students see connections between languages, grammar and code.
Transmedia, literally “across media” may have its origin in entertainment franchises, but it is being pulled into education purposes.

It is a constructivist educational pedagogy that supports student-centered learning. It requires students to use personalized meaning-making. [8]is both valuable and becoming more and more common. While teachers like Sansing are using coding and programming in their language arts instruction, others are taking advantage of increasingly sophisticated apps and interactive media for classroom use.

Some of this occurred ten years ago in classes using virtual worlds like Second Life, and now is happening to a degree with young students building environments in Minecraft. But the retelling of a poem in a programming language is a big leap from visualizing a novel on paper or on a screen.

Transmedia storytelling emerged from outside education in the world of commercial media. The term “transmedia” seems to have been coined in 1991 by Marsha Kinder in her book Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Video Games. The media examples she uses may be a decade old but her descriptions of how cross-platform entertainment franchises (such as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” who have returned to the big screen this summer) successfully cross mediums.

In the classroom, transmedia does not seem as odd today with the multiple platforms students already use to connect and communicate. They probably do that more frequently and with more enthusiasm and facility outside of classrooms. It is unfortunate that it is not being utilized more by educators.

Transmedia as a pedagogical tool with students interacting with platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr opens up new viewpoints, and resources in a shared way that can be immersive.

It is a natural path to thinking critically, ownership of learning and the natural acquisition of knowledge.

In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Henry Jenkins, founder and director of MIT's comparative media studies program, posits that it's not as simple as new media will replace old media. He says that it is more likely that new media will interact with older media in a complex relationship which he calls "convergence culture."

Transmedia might be one educational path to convergence.