Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Flipped Classroom and ACARA......there is an interesting thought

I have been thinking a lot lately about the notion of a flipped classroom and the new ACARA curriculum. For those out there who do not know what ACARA is, it is the new national curriculum that is going to be implemented in all schools across Australia from next year. It is a huge shift.  It is interesting to note that one their website they state:

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is the independent authority responsible for the development of a national curriculum, a national assessment program and a national data collection and reporting program that supports 21st century learning for all Australian students.
I love the way how they directly talk about '21st century learning for all Australian students.'  This notion is extremely important.  The flipped model of learning is revolutionary for some and old hat for others.  For those who have been living under a rock lately Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams do a fantastic job exploring the notion on their blog.  My simple definition is that the flipped classroom provides opportunities for teachers to help students think deeply and solve complex issues.  The 'boring instruction' is done at home using medium such as video and the application of knowledge gained is applied in the classroom setting.

On our last pupil free day, I really started to think about this notion.  I personally think that Mathematics is the easiest curriculum area to 'flip'.  I have had some success with it in the past and have promised Jess Oram that I will write a more detailed blog post about it in the future.  The kids really got into it and we had some success.  With the new curriculum being provided unit by unit, I really think that there is an opportunity for teachers to work together.  Wouldn't it be awesome if little Johnny sitting in my classroom is watching a video created by a teacher on the other side of the classroom?  Then he comes to school the next day and we explore the concept in more detail and apply his understanding about the topic to new and unfamiliar contexts? 

But the key question is - How can we share these videos across education systems?  Obviously here in Education Queensland, we have the fantastic Learning Place and edTube is a great medium.  But how am I going to bring the teacher in from Western Australia?  The obvious answer is YouTube but as we all know, the majority of schools block this resource for kids.  The kids would be watching the videos at home but still some parents have concerns about this tool.  If the videos were licensed under the proper Creative Commons attribution on YouTube, the teacher could use an extension from Firefox or Chrome to download it and provide it to the students.  This seems like a messy way to me but it may the best way to get the job done.

I am not saying that this model of instruciton is the be all and end all of everything.  It certainly has some drawbacks and I know that some parents have some concerns about it.  I just think it is an opportunity to put the students first and provide them with the best possible educational experiences.  I would be really interested to hear your thoughts about this notion. 

Please leave me a comment.  Blog 1 out of 33 DONE!


  1. Hi Ashley, I have dabbled in making screencasts using Jing. These are quite large files that I've been storing on the screencast website. This isn't accessible to students at school so a safe place to access teacher-created content is a great idea.

  2. Ashley, I am a high school math teacher in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada. I have completely flipped my Gr.11 math class. I am recording lessons for every topic in the course using Camtasia software. It is working wonderfully. I have posted the videos to youtube as that seems to be the easiest option for students to access at home. I also provide the videos to a few students on a memory stick because they do not have broadband Internet access at home. If Youtube is an issue at school maybe your IT dept. would setup a video server so that you could host your videos on that server but students could have access at home. A good piece of software to use for this is Ensemble.

    Flipping the classroom has been the best thing I have done in years. It has made the students responsible for their own learning. They no longer look at me and expect me to be in charge of their learning. They know that they are responsible to watch the videos and learn the material. Check out my class wiki http://clhsmath20-1.wikispaces.com

  3. Ashley I think the concept of the flipped classroom is solid and one which we really should see more of in our classrooms. Although I love and support the concept (and I really do), there are going to be some issues it being adopted as a general practice by the profession.

    Issue 1 - I can see how many teachers would "flip out" (pardon the pun) and find this so far out of their comfort zone that they would be so overwhelmed and would find it difficult to become part of this ideology. So what happens to the students in their classes???

    Issue 2 - As you already raised, some educational organisation (Education Queensland included) block such sites as YouTube which would make the most sense for accessibility of these resources at home for our students a breeze. So until our educational organisations make the leap and take a more open approach to using online resources then I just do not think a flipped classroom is going to be manageable on a large scale.

    Issue 3 - the kids who either don't have a computer at home, are not allowed access to a computer at home (and we still see this unfortunately), or do not have online access; are unfortunately going to find this flipped model more challenging. This also makes managing the flipped classroom a little more labour intensive & increased costs (placing on USBs etc) and of course this opens up risk factors (cross infection of computer viruses etc).

    But as always Ashley... I know you are up to the challenge. Prove me wrong mate! ;p