Esher Sketch photo credit: Wild Guru Larry
In Flipped classrooms hold implications for communication (part 1), we talked about an experiment I’m conducting this term, and explored the background a bit. In this part, let’s explore some of the advantages of the flip, especially for students.
There are certain advantages for students getting “lecture” material outside of class via reading or podcasts (audio or video). I have tried to follow my own guidelines and speak rather than lecture, and I think it works in the way intended. I contend that “out loud” excels at giving the “big picture,” the context into which the details fit, making them more understandable because the audience sees the pattern, whereas print excels at explaining and mastering detail.
A skilled writer can show the big picture, and a skilled speaker can get detail across memorably, but neither are easy. Most of the time, why not simply focus on strengths? Give an audience a handout, a white paper, a book, etc., to master the detail, and use speaking to give the big picture.
Think about when you’ve been on the receiving end. Have you ever had a history teacher flood you with dates and names and wars and wound up simply empty? Have you ever gotten so lost in the details of a book chapter, you couldn’t find your way through? Most academic conferences, and most business reports, would improve fivefold from this simple realization.
photo credit: MichaelLaMartin
I’m trying an experiment this semester in the college classes I teach. In various circles it’s called a “flipped” or an “inverted” classroom, a term I’m not completely comfortable with, but it’s a handy term at the moment.
While relatively new, it is rooted in ideas and practices that are not, and it seems to me to be good communication practice, recognizing the strengths of various forms and building on them.
The flipping background
A flipped (or inverted) class swaps out what goes on in the classroom and what goes on outside the classroom.
Traditionally, since the Middle Ages students listen to a professor lecture in class, and do application work (otherwise called “homework”) outside class. Reading could fall into either category.
Almost everyone has heard that the lecture is passé, exemplified in the now-cliché, “Be the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage.” I’ve taken a related approach, demonstrated in workshops I’ve done for teachers around the theme, “Stop Lecturing and Start Speaking.” When you want to master detail, you do better to work with the information in written form. When you want the big picture, “out loud” excels. That partly has to do with the way we process information, and also with the interactive nature of “out loud.”
photo credit: HonestReporting.com
It’s easy to assume college students have social media all figured out. Experience shows, though, that while many are savvy about Facebook, they may not realize they need to build a social media presence in other avenues before graduation rather than after. Sue Murphy notes in her article Social Media Success Tips for Students two particular areas that seriously need attention while a student is still in school but looking to the outside world.
Many students believe they don’t need to worry about getting their profiles up on LinkedIN until after they graduate. But nothing could be further from the truth. You need to get on there. Now. LinkedIN is one of the best places to connect with the kind of companies and people you want to eventually end up working for. And the only way you’ll be able to find and connect with them is to start building your profile there.
She also builds a case for starting a blog–and she’s not talking about a chatty personal journal you share with the world.
photo credit: Sean MacEntee
Do you find yourself getting sucked into either the defaults of PowerPoint (bullet point after bullet point), or unable to resist throwing all the shiny effects into your presentations?
Garr Reynolds is the leading voice in effective presentation design these days–the overall design of the whole presentation, not just the presentation software part, but he is probably best known for his teaching on the effective use of presentation software.
In his article Progress and the intentional selection of less Garr points out that “while technology has evolved in dramatic ways over the last generation, our deep human need for visceral connections, and personal engagement has not changed.” He is certainly not building up to an anti-technology screed, but rather making the case for choosing technology wisely.
As I write this, I’m at the Innovative Professor Conference at Austin Peay State University, getting ready to do a presentation about a method of publishing student work for Flipboard, one of the most popular apps available on the iPad.
I have this theory that “out loud” is best for big picture information–establishing context, talking about meaning, etc.–while detail is best communicated via writing. In keeping with this, in the session I’m mostly trying to show what’s possible and point to resources, while developing the details on the “how to” via a public Google doc. I’m also pointing to this post for people to be able to find these resources:
[Edit: Updated with tags.]
I tell students about a couple of places that are good for finding visual aid material on the Web that will not get them into trouble regarding licensing. Sean Aune goes several better than “couple” in his article, 30+ Places To Find Creative Commons Media. You’ll find resources for sound (including music), photos and other graphics, and videos, all available under a Creative Commons license.
I’m taking part in a course that illustrates in a lot of ways the changing face of education. Just as I don’t know exactly how that face will change, I don’t know yet exactly how the course works, but I get the feeling that the not know will likely be an integral part of both this course and that changing face.
The course is called Digital Storytelling, through the University of Mary Washington (I think). Here are some of the ways that (it seems to me) the course is emblematic of this cultural shift that is going on. Note that I’m using both “traditional” and “current” as amorphous terms. Much of what we now think of as traditional classroom education isn’t really all that traditional. Continue reading
According to the Star Tribune, the venerable Mayo Clinic has opened a presence in Second Life. The article discusses a lot of stuff related to education and SL. I find it interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, this is coming at a time when a lot of people are ready to write SL off as having been just a fad. While it has fallen off the hype cycle of the media, it seems that plenty of organizations continue to probe its possibilities.
Second, one of the commenters had an interesting observation:
Eventually, more patients are likely to turn to Second Life or other virtual worlds for information, says Jennifer Keelan, an assistant professor of public health who helped conduct the University of Toronto study. So it makes sense for the medical profession to get ready. “You have to be engaged in these platforms in order to be there when the people arrive.”
Hmmm. Interesting point. In any case, I’ll be using SL in one of my speech classes this term in an environment that really supports providing the support to students. We’ll see how it goes.
The blogosphere that follows Second Life has been buzzing in recent months about the number of people leaving Linden Lab, some involuntarily (Linden Lab is the company behind SL). It seems that it was the precursor to a corporate restructuring. We’ll see what it means for Second Life in general and education in SL in particular.
We know that Second Life isn’t a game. Got that. Wish I could get more people to understand the difference. Nevertheless, the fact that SL uses game software for non-game purposes, and that we can take advantage of the game skills students bring, makes this article of interest for SL folks.
Beyond Blowing Up Enemies: The Future of Games for Learning follows the two-day Games for Change festival at New York University. Among the observations:
No doubt assessment will be key to this mission. And games could transform assessment. Scratch that: games could be assessment. One powerful form of it, at least. Instead of slaying pixel-painted dragons, for instance, I discovered that you could navigate a mid-air obstacle course using the laws of physics in a quest of save the world (that’s a game in the works at Vanderbilt University) or try out different ways to save the real-life lake that is dying in your real-life town (a game being developed in Madison, Wisconsin, starring local Lake Mendota).