Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#FlipCon12, Day 1: Drinking from the Firehose

Sorry for the cliché, but that is where my head is at right now, 3 hours after the end of the sessions on Day 1 at #FlipCon12. I got a chance to listen to and network with a hugely talented and dedicated group of people today, and I’m just trying to make sure it all sticks in my brain. Some highlights:

Brian Bennett’s points in his opening keynote were great – the challenge to have teachers radically reconceptualize how they use classtime was a good one to hear. Despite the common misconception, a flipped classroom is not about the videos! His push to have teachers be clear with their students about their expectations and flexible with how students use classtime was well received. Oh, asynchoronous classrooms. When will I have the guts to go there in my classroom?

Troy Cockrum's session
Troy Cockrum’s session on writing workshops in a flipped classroom was a great one – after spending so much time around math and science teachers (no offense – y’all are great, and heavily numerically dominant at #FlipCon12), it was great to hear from a Humanities flipper. Troy emphasized using the Explore-Flip-Apply framework, championed by Ramsey Musallam, for flipping writing instruction. I’ve got a good idea of how I want to use this framework to teach content in my classroom, but even after today I’m still trying to figure out what this looks like in terms of teaching skills, particularly writing, in my world history class. I’m looking forward to mulling it over, but also getting to talk to Ramsey about it in August at CUE Rockstar.

Google master Andy Schwen
Andy Schwen absolutely blew my mind with the work he has done with scripts in Google docs and how he leverages free tools from Google to run his flipped math classes. I need some serious time to go back over and digest some it. Check it out here.

Working lunch on standards based grading – very stimulating to get to pick the brains of smart folks over lunch. I’d love to go completely to standards based grading, but I think I need to get my flip down next year before making that plunge.

Jac de Haan’s session on interactive YouTube videos opened up a whole new set of ideas for me. I am having a hard time at the moment, 5ish hours out of his session, trying to figure out widespread uses in a high school history classes. I think getting students to create a project using an interactive YouTube video would be great: find a momentous decision in history and go over the pros and the cons of each possible decision a person was faced with. After a contextualizing of the problem in the initial video, the video could branch to the discussion of the pros and cons of the different options this person was faced with. The video could conclude with the actual decision made and the impact this decision had on the world.

Finally, to end the day, it was very rewarding to get to hear a small student panel discuss their experience in a flipped classroom. Their positive, eloquent remarks about the flipped classroom were a great way to remind us about why flippers are taking this plunge: it’s all the kids!

Student panelists

So much to mull over – and day 2 is tomorrow. Can’t wait!