STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Flipped Learning

Stuff this week - Flipped Learning

There are a number of new methods and tools available to teachers in the 21st century classroom. Over the next few weeks I will introduce a number of them to provide a glimpse of how teaching could be done (and is being done around the world).
The primary goal of introducing anything into the classroom should be to improve the outcomes for the students. This could be through direct impact by increased engagement or better, more understandable, ways of presenting the material. It could also be through freeing up the teacher’s time so they can spend more one on one time with the students that need it. This weeks post is an example of the latter.
In last week’s post I mentioned at the end the term “flipped learning”. So what is this? In the traditional classroom the teacher stands at the front and delivers the lesson then sets tasks to be completed and moves around assisting the students, further practice is done as homework. Typically though during the lesson delivery due to the “bell curve” there are a group of students who get it straight away, a group who are concentrating hard and just getting it and a group who are thinking “I have no idea what the teacher is talking about.”

The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.

First mentioned in 2006 Flipped Learning gained popularity when Salman Khan mentioned it in his Ted Talk "Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education" in 2014.There are many advantages to the flipped learning model:
  • Time in class is freed up for the teacher to provide direct 1:1 instruction
  • Video instruction allows teachers to implement demonstrations that would be hard to do live in every class (e.g., animation, experiments or visualization techniques).
  • Students can watch the lesson at their own pace. Pause or rewind if desired
  • Students can think about questions they have about the topic and write them down for the next day
  • Students can work at their own pace in class
There are a number of websites devoted to helping teachers introduce flipped learning into their classroom. There is the Flipped Institute and also It is important to emphasise that the concept is not a fringe idea. The University of QLD Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation have a page devoted to it. There has been research devoted to exploring the effectiveness of the technique which finds that it generally leads to positive gains. This is brought home by Jon Bergman who is a high school science teacher in Brisbane who writes an article "Grades & Satisfaction Up in New Flipped Learning Research".
In terms of making the videos teachers can record their own (iPads are great for this) or they could use videos they find online that meet their requirements. For maths the Khan Academy is a great resource and the blog post from Massachusetts University provides ideas about how to go about using this. 
I hope that a common theme I have been presenting is that planning is essential. Flipped learning is a great tool to use amongst many other tools in a teacher's bag. I will finish by pointing you to a great article titled "Flipping the Classroom Requires more than Video" which provides some more food for thought before embracing this method of teaching and also "7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms".

Stuff in the news

The Gold Coast school where boys become drone pilots - The elite Gold Coast school has introduced a Civil Aviation Safety Authority-approved drone piloting course, in what was claimed to be a Queensland-first. 
Transcend the Classroom with Virtual Place-Based Learning - Simulation-based learning allows us to play in a highly immersive environment that reflects aspects of the real world. 

Stuff to buy

A recap on projects I have backed on Kickstarter!
Makeblock Neuron - Like LittleBits on steroids. It has some unique modules and what sets it apart is that many are programmable. I think it is a fantastic product!
Orboot: The Educational, Augmented Reality Globe - A smart AR globe that teaches children about countries and cultures from around the world. Inexpensive but awesome!
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

Science curriculum needs to do more to engage primary school students - A new report around science literacy in primary school shows that while most students appear to be interested in learning new things in science – which includes learning about science and doing science-based activities – many students do not relate science to their own lives. An article from The Conversation 15 March 2017
Continuing the STEM conversation in primary schools - It is the quality of teachers and their classroom practices that are key factors in engaging students in STEM. An article from the High Possibility Classrooms Blog
Modifying the Flipped Classroom: The "In-Class" Version - If flipping the classroom failed the first time perhaps with a slight twist, flipping might be possible after all. An article from Edutopia 24 March 2014.

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations are OPEN. See the YouTube video here!
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Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club

Stuff to do in Brisbane

QLD Association for Gifted and Talented Children Debating Competition - Love to see both sides of an argument, or simply looking for a chance to think critically and hear the ideas of others?  Look no further! Kenmore Library 26 March 2017
World Science Festival Brisbane - 22 - 26 March 2017. Dr Karl for Kids is sold out.
Whats happening at the Queensland Museum during World Science Week - Loggerhead turtle hatching! Taxidermy and Street Science!
STEMies - This event is open to all girls in years 4 to 6, offering the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops with STEM topics. To register visit the flexischools website and search for St Aidan's then select GUEST in the top right class list.
Stuartholme STEAM Residential - A STEAM Residential program for gifted girls in Years 5 – 6, which will be held from the 2nd – 5th April during the school holidays
Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017 
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Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane

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