Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Weekend of #EduAwesome

Last weekend was a weekend of semi-organic awesomeness. Extended discussions about classroom practice ensued, to the tune of an 11,000 word, 25 page Google document edited by people all over the US and Canada. Google Hangouts happened. To get to hear the thoughts of so many smart people over the weekend was incredibly revitalizing.

Much of the conversation that occurred dealt with the recent more strident criticism of flipped classrooms. Others have written about this more eloquently than I can - see here, here, and here - and while I echo their sentiments, I won’t repeat their arguments.

I will say this: my conversations, with six amazing, inspiring educators, would not have occurred without my involvement in the flipclass movement, particularly my active engagement with that community on Twitter - I wouldn’t have met these great, thoughtful educators without conversations around the flipclass hashtag.

So say what you will about flipped classrooms. Define flipped classrooms narrowly. Demonize them. If a movement that teachers come to of their own volition that pushes a mindset of organizing a classroom around student ownership of learning is the antithesis of good teaching to you, that is fine.

But know this: I will continue to be involved in the discussion of flipclass. Troll the hashtag and the people involved in it. Attack and demonize flipclass. Attack and demonize teachers who make the choice to flip their classrooms. If the best target of your (in my mind misplaced) vitriol is reflective teachers who are looking to improve their practice and are willing to take great risks to do so, well, there is not much I can do about that other than be supportive of those teachers who are willing to take these risks.

But I will continue to be involved. I will continue to share with flipclass teachers around the world. Say what you will about flipclass rooms, or flipclass teachers creating PLNs that are echo chambers. I know when I hear the stories from Carolyn Durley or Cheryl Morris of how they are placing student interest and authentic learning at the center of their classroom, I am embarrassed at how far I still have to go.

But I also know that by continuing the conversations with the amazing educators involved in flipclass I will be driven to be a better teacher. I will be forced to continue to innovate in my classroom, to continue to push on what a history classroom is and can be.

So say what you will. I’ll be here, looking to do the best for my students that I humanly can. And to continue to try to help other teachers do the same.