Sunday, June 23, 2013

Climbing Pyramid Bloom's with the FLIP Pillars: Applying

CC Image courtesy of New Blooms Pyramid by Andrea Hernandez on Flickr
[Update: links and references have been added to this version.]

For the "applying" learning demonstration of the FLIP pillars, I submit my daily reflections organized by the pillars. In the "understanding" demonstration, I submitted my notes organized the FLIP pillars. My original thoughts about the presentations and notes are a good way to apply my learning of the content and the FLIP pillars.

Reflections organized by the 4 pillars
(both conference days combined)

  • Day 1:  I learned from the Flip or Flop - Moodle and the mastery classroom session that I can leverage technology to differentiate. If students get to work at their own pace and are allowed to take multiple assessments, then test/quiz integrity can be ruined. I can’t allow students to see tests and quizzes before others. The test bank, random question feature and calculated question types in Moodle allow students to complete assessments before classmates and let students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery. 
  • Day 2: Serendipitously, I experienced something during the Embracing failure - Flipped project based learning session that convinced me that I needed to adopt some type of mastery model. My group had a wonderful discussion about the task, which might have taken longer than other groups. In addition, we had some technical difficulties. As time was running out and the anxiety levels rose, we stopped working as a group and relied on an individual to solve the problem. We became "free riders" as outlined in a paper (Börjesson, Hamidian, Kubilinskas, et al) I read about group work. It was frustrating - we did not want to be free riders. Had we been allotted more time and continued our process, we would have produced a far superior product. Eureka! When I rush my kids through assignments, I rob them of meeting their potential and inadvertently create free riders. Moving direct instruction out of the class will help with creating more time but a mastery model will encourage students to meet or approach their potential.

  • Day 1: The student ought to be at the center of the class and the concentration should be on learning, and not teaching. I’ve always cringed when I heard teachers say “I’ve taught that.” I would argue that teaching implies learning, as John Dewey argued. So if kids did not learn something, then we did not teach them. We might have covered something or said something but we did not teach something. We may have taught something to a few students. The trick is finding out what works for each student so that we can teach them all.
  • Day 2: Student “voice and choice” are important to me. It’s unfair to expect all students to learn in the same way and to demonstrate learning in the same way. Equity is not about everything being the same, rather equity is about giving each student what they need. When I think of the learning culture I want to develop, the folks at James H. Bean Elementary School describe in their promotional video exactly how I feel.
  • With that being said, I need a way to make sure all options are equally rigorous. I don’t have that figured out yet but it is an important issue to tackle. In order for this model to work, I need to be willing to let go of some control. There is a psychological element to the success of this model.
  • Day 1: Intentional withholding of content can be a powerful motivator. Our brains crave resolution, which is why cliffhangers are frustrating but entertaining. As @mrsebiology contended in a recent blog post, I need to create a “need to know rather than a nice to know" before letting students watch my videos. I’m wrestling with either an “Explore-Flip-Apply” or problem-based model. Ramsey has criticized the mastery model because it could encourage students to “plow through” the content without engaging in the process of inquiry. My brain is trying to resolve the conflict between allowing students to work at their own pace in the mastery model, while engaging students in learning cycles. So far, I’m envisioning a blend of approaches: Mastery Learning Cycles (best name I’ve come up with so far.) Why not create learning cycles in the “Explore-Flip-Apply” mode but insert a mastery check after/during apply phase and let kids work through these cycles at their own pace? I think I’m onto something!
  •  Day 2: Flipping the class is not the magic bullet. It is the vehicle that will allow me to make problem-based learning, inquiry, case studies, projects, differentiation and mastery a greater part of my classroom. All of the things that teachers wish they can do but can’t (because class time is dominated by direct instruction) are now possible.
  • Day 1: It was great meeting fellow flippers at the Spotlight on Science session. I exchanged emails addresses, twitter handles and got some neat resources and ideas. I even met a teacher who volunteered to help one of my colleagues who will teach Anatomy & Physiology for the first time next year. How have I managed to grow without having a strong PLN?
  • Day 2: I need to develop a Personal Learning Network to learn more and to connect with others. Twitter, the Ning, blogs and Youtube playlists are great ways to learn more about flipped classrooms.  

Works cited
Day 1:
  • "Moodle 2: Activities & Resources: Quiz Question Types." LSU GROK, 7 May 2013. Web. 24 June 2013. <>.
  • Kapunan, S. C. (1975), Teaching Implies Learning. Educational Theory, 25: 362–378. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5446.1975.tb00700.x
  • Engelbrecht, Terie. "PBL in the Math & Science Classrooms." Web log post. Crazy Teaching. N.p., 2 June 2012. Web. 21 June 2013.
  • Sams, Aaron. "The Flipped Class: Shedding Light on the Confusion, Critique, and Hype." The Daily Riff, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 21 June 2013.
  • Musallam, Ramsey." CUE13 - Ramsey Musallam - Explore-Flip-Apply: Empowering the Learning." Online video clip. Cueinc YouTube, 26, Apr. 2013. Web. 22, Jun. 2013.

Day 2:
  • Free-riding in Group Work - Mechanisms and Countermeasures In Journal of Management (2006) by Per O. Börjesson, Ali Hamidian, Eligijus Kubilinskas, et al.
  • "At their own pace: Student voice and choice." Online video clip. MaineDOEComm. YouTube, 21, Jun. 2012. Web. 22, Jun. 2013.
  • "Resources for Growing Your Professional Learning Network." Edutopia. N.p., 3 June 2011. Web. 21 June 2013.
  • Murray, Tom. "Personal Learning Networks: Advice from the Trenches." Web log post. SmartBlog on Education. N.p., 23 May 2013. Web. 20 June 2013.
  • Kamentez, Anya. "8 Ways to Build Your Personal Learning Network with Twitter, Google Plus, and More." Web log post. Fast Company. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2013.