"Why do we accept what other industries would consider malpractice?"
- Jon Bergmann
Day one of FlipCon Australia 2017 has come and gone, with lots of rain and wind, along with the learning, the inspiration, the challenging conversations, the thought provoking ideas, and above all, the fun and sharing.
The first session for me today was Jon Bergmann's keynote (you can read through the storify here) and it was, as always, thought provoking and challenging. One of the key standouts for me, and it provoked a chain of tangential questions, was Jon asking how it is that countries which are so dissimiliar vis-a-vis geography, culture, socio-economic contexts, etc. can be so similar when it comes to education.
It is an intriguing question, actually pondering how it came to be; and it led me to ask the twitter-sphere would classrooms and education have evolved differently without colonial expansion? Would the look as similar? If you consider the vast territory that the various colonial powers occupied through the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and the impact that those colonial powers had on the native cultures and practices, you have to wonder what it would look like without that influence. I particularly wonder about indigenous practices of education here in Australia that were forcibly changed and how different education would have been, even if only the settlement by the Europeans was more peaceful.
Following that was the Primary Panel where I joined Matt Burns and Jon Bergmann to answer questions from the primary educators int he group. There were some interesting questions and some interesting contexts that were mentioned and discussed and I hope that delegates left with their questions answered satisfactorily.
I presented a session then on Starting with Flipped Learning, providing a foundational conversation around flipped learni. We spent time specifically addressing the challenges and the reasons that we are often told show flipped learning does not work and brainstormed as a group ideas and conversation pointers to refute those. We also spent time specifically discussing abuot strategies to gain buy-in from the key stakeholders; students, parents, administrators/management, and colleagues. If you wish to access the resources from that you can find them at the below links.
I had a session in between that workshop and my second workshop and so I spent some time reflecting on the first workshop and actually found that I needed and wanted to make a few changes to improve the flow of the next in order to strenthen the learning experience for the delegates.
That next session was titled Flipping the Unit and was a very hands on workshop where we actually worked through the planning process for flipping a lesson using a backward mapping lesson plan template that I have developed with the goal being that it could then be taken back to school and put into practice. The session, I feel, went well and the delegates certainly indicated, both by the various notes and ideas they had on their templates, as well the questions they were asking nad their body language that they found it useful (always a relief!). If you wanted to access the resources from that session, you can find them below.
For each of the sessions, I encouraged delegates to create some accountability for themselves by setting actions points; what are y ou going to do in the next three days, three weeks, and three months, to develop your flipped practice? I also provided the below links for further learning for those who are interested:
If you attended one of my sessions today (or do so tomorrow), let me know your feedback. What do you think I can do better? Get in touch via twitter or using the Contact page on this website, leave a comment below the line.
Yesterday I published an article containing Heather Davis‘ keynote presentation from FlipLearnCon in Sydney, broken into bite-size sections. This article provides my keynote presentation, also broken into sections. Given that this was my first keynote presentation, I would appreciate any constructive feedback people would like to share, positive or otherwise.
My role at FlipLearnCon generated some useful discussion with my students. In the week prior to the event, students had been presenting speeches of their own, which were required to be between three and five minutes in length, as an end-of-unit assessment task. Many of the students were incredibly nervous but actually spoke quite well. Many of them sat down afterwards, convinced their speech was terrible and struggled to take on board the positive feedback from peers. I had told the students why I would be away for two days, and when they found out it was to deliver a twenty-minute speech they were horrified at the very thought.
Interestingly enough, when I returned to class the day after FlipLearnCon, they wanted to know how it went. So I turned it back to them, asking for a show of hands as to who sat down after their speech and thought it was terrible,with a large number of hands going up. I then asked for a show of hands as to who heard a speech they thought was terrible, not difficult to hear because of volume or annunciation (a common issue we found), but actually terrible. Not a single hand went up. I then shared with them that my presentation ended up going longer than twenty minutes, that there were some technical issues and that I stood up feeling incredibly nervous with the adrenaline pumping. I was seeing lots of heads nodding at this point as much of the class, other than technical issues, felt the same when presenting their speeches.
Like them, I continued, I persisted, despite feeling nervous, and gave the speech. I finished it and felt that it was not particularly great (unlike my Graduate Address, which I am still very proud of, and sat down afterwards feeling that I had nailed it) but that I had been given positive feedback which means that despite what I thought, the speech was good. I pointed out to them that with practice, public speaking becomes easier, but that being nervous is ok, as long as we do not allow the nerves to control us and stop us from taking opportunities.
Below, you will find my keynote presentation at FlipLearnCon. If you are interested in having a copy of the slide deck, you will find it here.
For the full list of articles in this series, please click here.
Again, I would appreciate any feedback on the usefulness, structure, delivery or content of my keynote so that I can make my next presentation stronger and more useful for the audience.
After having presented my first keynote at FlipLearnCon yesterday (Tuesday 17 May, 2016), I have a profound new respect for speakers who are tasked with presenting in the final session of a conference or professional learning day. It is a very tough gig.
Recently I became involved in a Twitter backchannel that was occurring parallel to the FlipLearnCon event in Melbourne. FlipLearnCon is a two-day conference organised by MyLearning and facilitated by South Australian educator, Jeremy LeCornu (@MrLeCornu) to provide a boot-camp style introduction to flipped learning. I have written extensively about Flipped Learning in the past (such as here and here) and there are a number of educators on Twitter who are also heavily involved in flipped learning, whether through implementing flipped learning (such as Jeremy, Heather Davis, Joel Speranza, Alfina Jackson and Matthew Burns), or as researchers of flipped learning (such as Marijne Slager and others).
In this article, I am going to focus more on my reflections of being involved as a presenter rather than a participant. I was given the opportunity to keynote from a primary education perspective for the Sydney iteration of FlipLearnCon (Heather Davis was the secondary educator presenting in Sydney) by Jeremy and Justine Isard and asked to speak about my EdVenture, how I am implementing flipped learning in my classroom, and what I have learned through trial and error. It was, I felt, a huge opportunity. I had been dabbling with flipped learning for some time, as my regular readers will be aware, and in many ways I still did not feel that I knew enough, or was far enough along with flipped learning as a pedagogical practice, to have credibility as a presenter.
However, I trust Jeremy and was excited to take the plunge. I felt that my first presentation at TeachMeet Coast in Term One went well and this was the next opportunity that popped up.
One of the fantastic takeaways from FlipCon Australia 2015 was that there was the realisation that I was not the only one wanting or trying to flip, and that there was lots of support out through online professional learning networks. Heather commented in her keynote that one of the most important things you can do to help you flip your class is to connect with others, “find your people” and leverage the support and experience of those around you.
The great benefit of being involved in FlipLearnCon was seeing the excitement and eagerness of the participants, hearing the stories of what the teachers involved have been trying and hearing about their contexts and seeing the growth in the confidence and abilities over such a short period of time.
We had a range of primary and secondary educators from Wollongong up to Newcastle, and the secondary teachers were from a range of disciplines, which afforded us a fantastic spread of perspectives and ideas for sharing with others to try in different learning areas. As part of the presentation team, seeing participants not wanting to go to lunch, so that they could continue working on practicing with the tools we had been showing them as they created their own flipped content was incredibly exciting and rejuvenating.
One of the struggles of being the lone nut/leader is that you are always giving. This is not the issue, that is actually part of what we do as educators, is that we give. The issue is that if we are the leader or the person who is driving the practice in our context, or if we are the only person in the school who is interested and trying to implement is that it can be draining and disheartening. The excitement and energy in the room as teachers tried, failed, persisted, tried again, learned from each other, tried something different, experimented with different tools and came back to us excited for what they had managed to create reinvigorates and rejuvenates the soul.
We had a number of educators who went returned home/to their hotel rooms at the end of day one night and worked on creating further content, refining what they had developed that day. One of our participants, Will, is a Japanese language teacher and the content that he finished up with was fantastic and looks very refined and ready to utilise in the classroom, and he was not the only one. One of our participants, Phil, arrived on day one unsure about flipped learning and whether he would gain any real learning from the two-days. He stood up during our Content Showcase at the end of day two and proudly showed off what he had been able to develop , and for his first attempt at creating flipped learning content, it worked.
“Do you want it perfect or Tuesday?”
We were also able to convince a number of educators to join Twitter to enable them to stay in touch and connect with other educators as a way of continuing to be able to share and learn, which was also exciting, and the Principal of one school, who brought along six of his teachers for day one of the conference is now seriously considering taking them to FlipConAus16 later this year, which demonstrates a serious commitment to ensuring flipped learning as a pedagogical practice in his school succeeds.
I have to note that I was amazed at some of the contexts within which some of the participants are working. Some, like myself, are in the public education system and are working with slow, often damaged equipment, with systems and processes in place which hinder the advancement of flipped learning and are simply battling through. Others, however, are in private school contexts, with 1:1 MacBooks, Forwardboards/Lightboardspurchased and funded by the school, and Principals willing to send them off to conferences such as this without them having to take leave without pay. I cannot fathom working in that kind of context and the feeling of being supported and encouraged in that way.
That said, everyone involved across the two days was incredibly hardworking, attentive, and invested in learning as much as they could. I am excited to hear from a number of our participants as to how they go implementing flipped learning in their classroom, hopefully at FlipConAus16, which is occurring in two locations this year; the Gold Coast in October, and in Adelaide during November.
As a presenter, a conference is a very different experience. I still took notes, though using Twitter rather than my normal format of handwritten notes, and I still learned a lot, primarily about some additional tools and strategies that are available to support flipped learning. I enjoyed being able to work with participants to help them develop their flipped content and experiment with the tools we had been showing them.
I want to thank Jeremy LeCornu and Justine Isard for providing me with the opportunity to extend myself beyond my comfort zone and present at FlipLearnCon, it was an experience I am glad to have under my belt. I also want to thank Heather Davis, my secondary education counterpart at the event, for her support over the course of the conference. Finally, I want to thank those who attended for being so willing to go out on a limb and invest the time to gain extend their knowledge and capabilities and for engaging so strongly across the two days. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I know that everyone involved left feeling excited about the possibilities.
I have included the links to the Storify of both days of the conference at the top of the article, and when I get a chance to upload them, will provide links to both Heather and my own keynote presentations.
As always, thank you for reading.
For the full list of articles in the FlipLearnCon series, please click here.
On Friday of last week, I was fortunate enough to attend another TeachMeet, this time at Ourimbah on the Central Coast. After some conversations and encouragement from Paul Hamilton and Alfina Jacksonat FutureSchools earlier in the month, I decided to put my hand up to present this time, having sat quietly in the background at previous TeachMeets I had attended. For those who were unable to attend, and we had a good turnout on the night, I have storified the event, which is available here.
There was a broad range of speakers, from the inspiring Liesl Tesch (@LieslTesch), to TAFE teachers, Secondary English and Mathematics Teachers, an Actuary, Teachers Federation employees and Primary School Teachers, and a broad range of topics were covered as well. I nominated to speak about Flipped Learning, which is something I have been looking into for a while now and recently have been able to start putting into practice. I decided, rather late in the week, that I would like to flip my session and so put together a short video, which fit within my seven-minute timeslot going through the basics of what flipped learning was with the aim to turn my actual timeslot into a Q&A session so that we could go deeper.
Unfortunately, I left it rather late and in the end, the video did not get out in time for people to watch it, so I did end up presenting at the event. Despite my nerves (my heart rate kicked up to 115 beats per minute) the feedback was positive, and a colleague of mine who was there said I hid my nervousness well. I felt like I was speaking at the proverbial million miles an hour, but I had some good discussions with a few attendees after the event and was able to answer a few questions.
I tweeted out the link to the slide deck I used, which included links to some of the articles I have written on the topic, as well as links to other teachers who are flipping their practice. I include the link to that slide deck here for the benefit of those who are curious.
If you have the opportunity to share something at a TeachMeet in your own area, I would encourage you to bite the bullet, put aside your nerves and present. I am glad that I did, and hope to be to contribute again in the future.
You can find the TMCoast website here.