Flipped Classroom

ImageThe purpose of flipping the classroom is to shift from passive to active learning to focus on the higher order thinking skills. In terms of Bloom’s revised taxonomy (2001), this means that students are doing the lower levels of cognitive work (gaining knowledge and comprehension) outside of class, and focusing on the higher forms of cognitive work (application, analysis, synthesis and/or evaluation) in class where they have the support of their peers and instructor.

The flipped classroom provides avenues for teachers to become facilitators of learning and more away from the sage on stage approach to teaching.

The instructor remains available to students as a facilitator of resources, a resource who should frequently check students for understanding for their learning. The teacher, when necessary will provide guidance in how to process the information for a unit of study. The facilitator role in a flipped classroom changes dramatically in that the teacher becomes a source to student in how to better use the resources, process in information and how to apply the core concepts to real life situations.

Flipping a classroom brings many benefits. Flipping uses technology to remove passive, one-way lecturing as the only means of teaching. Thus, the instructor and students can interact within the newly gained instructional time. The increase of teacher-student interaction during class time is what characterizes its success. This model also makes differentiating instruction based on student’s needs easier because everyone does not necessarily need to do the same task.

Of course, as with anything, there are going to be some disadvantages to the flipped structure of learning as well. Just as classroom lecturing works better for some and doesn’t work for others, the flipped classroom method is not going to accommodate every individual perfectly. The biggest set back today to the flipped classroom method is that not all students and schools have access to technologies that can really work for this method.

Students from lower income areas and lower income families may not have access to the computers and internet technologies that the flipped classroom requires. The structure really hinges on every student having personal access to his or her own personal device. This simply is not the case for every student and every school district. Students who do not have personal home computers or access to the internet would be forced to use public computers at a library or at the school. This, to some degree, eliminates the personal and private experience of taking in the lecture. What makes having lectures as homework so powerful is that students can do it on their own time and in their own way. At a library computer or school computer time limits typically exist and access can be limited if it is busy. This is problematic.

 Another downside to the idea of the flipped classroom that many people bring up is the fact that students would be spending all of their “homework time” plugged-in in front of a computer screen. Not only do not all students do well with learning from a screen, but this also adds to a student’s time in front of a screen and sitting sedentary. While this concern isn’t singular to the flipped classroom, the teaching concept doesn’t help our young students to get up and get away from their computers, televisions, and iPods.




21st Century Skills

The term “21st-century skills” is generally used to refer to certain core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that advocates believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today’s world. In a broader sense, however, the idea of what learning in the 21st century should look like is open to interpretation—and controversy.

This infographic by University of Phoenix details the Top 10 skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century workplace, as well as some insight on how best to acquire them. Take a look… and see if your coursework, extra-curricular activities, internships and volunteer assignments are helping you develop these must-have skills:


Learning Management System

Learning Management System (or LMS) is a broad term used to describe software or Web-based tools designed to manage user learning interventions and provide access to online learning services for students, teacher, and administrator.

A LMS is used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. Typically, a learning management system provides an instructor with a way to create and deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. A learning management system may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums.

Most LMSs are Web-based to facilitate access to learning content and administration. They are also used by regulated industries (e.g. financial services and biopharma) for compliance training. Student self-service (e.g., self-registration on instructor-led training), training workflow (e.g., user notification, manager approval, wait-list management), the provision of on-line learning (e.g., computer-based training, read & understand), on-line assessment, management of continuous professional education (CPE), collaborative learning (e.g., application sharing, discussion threads), and training resource management (e.g., instructors, facilities, equipment), are all important dimensions of Learning Management Systems.

The key to understanding the difference between LMS and other computer education terms is to understand the systemic nature of LMS. LMS is the framework that handles all aspects of the learning process. An LMS is the infrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning or training goals, tracks the progress towards meeting those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of organization as a whole. An LMS delivers content but also handles registering for courses, course administration, skills gap analysis, tracking, and reporting.


Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom.

Bloom believed that education should focus on mastery of subjects and the promotion of higher forms of thinking, rather than a utilitarian approach to simply transferring facts. Bloom demonstrated decades ago that most teaching tended to be focused on transfer and information recall –the lowest level of training- rather than true meaningful personal development, and this remains a central challenge for educators and trainers in modern times.

The taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains”: Cognitive, affective and psychomotor. The meanings are simple to understand:

  1. Cognitive domain: Intellectual capability (i.e. knowledge or “think”)
  2. Affective domain: feelings, emotions and behavior (i.e. Attitude or feel)
  3. Psychomotor doami: manual and physical skills (i.e. skills or do)

In each of the three domains Bloom’s Taxonomy is based on the premise that the categories are ordered in degree of difficulty. An important premise of Bloom’s Taxonomy is that each category (or ‘level’) must be mastered before progressing to the next.

ImageBloom’s taxonomy is a good reference model for all involved in teaching training, learning, coaching in the design, delivery and evaluation of these development methods. The taxonomy provides a simple, quick and easy checklist to start to plan any type of personal development. However, some critiques of Bloom’s taxonomy admit the existence of these categories, but question the existence of a sequential, hierarchical link.

Blended Learning

Like any other great blend, Education Elements believes blended learning works because it combines two things in a way that makes each better than they are on their own: teachers’ talent and technology tools. Blended learning allows teachers to do what they do best – work directly and closely with individual students and small groups – by harnessing the adaptive power and precision of technology.

The best blended learning approaches use technology to:

* help each student master the content and skills they need,
* allow teachers to get the most out of their planning and
*instructional time, and streamline operations with costs similar to
or less than – traditional schooling.

The result of smart blended learning is richer and deeper interactions between teachers and students (and between students themselves) than in traditional classrooms. Integrating technology and teaching allows students to fully master content and skills, and at the pace that’s right for them.

Think about it this way: an average classroom sets a “speed limit” for the class – bounded by grade-level standards and assessments – making it hard for some kids to catch up and holding others from moving ahead when they’re ready. But blended learning revs up students’ learning velocity, allowing them to go further and faster.

International Day of the Girl Child: Teen Pregnancy and Education

The Miseducation of Latin American Girls: Poor Schooling Makes Pregnancy a Rational Choice from BIDtv on Vimeo.

The United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011 voted to designate 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’. The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe.

Numerous studies have shown that educating girls can make more dramatic, positive changes for both the individual and society than any other single intervention. Education expands social and economic opportunities and promotes participation for both boys and girls. Girls’ education, furthermore, has cascading effects on the family, community and nation.

In this context, we know that one of the most relevant problemas of the young girls in latin america is the poor education that they receive. It affects in many aspects of their lives, one of the most relevant is the way they understand their sexual life.

A recent study (World Population Day) revealed that Latin America and the Caribbean place second in the world, behind only Sub-Saharan Africa, in terms of adolescent pregnancies. The proportion of births that take place during adolescence is about 2% in China, 18% in Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 50% in sub-Saharan Africa.

Many girls who become pregnant have to leave school. This has long-term implications for them as individuals, their families and communities. Studies have shown that delaying adolescent births could significantly lower population growth rates, potentially generating broad economic and social benefits, in addition to improving the health of adolescents. According to data collected by the IDB in six countries (Bolivia, Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru, and Dominican Republic) the relation between adolescent pregnancies and educational levels is stronger in Latin America than in other regions.

Policies have to seek to reduce the rate of adolescent pregnancies they need to do more than simply inform and give access to contraceptives. Schools play a vital role in the socialization of the next generation, and educational systems need to assume the task of both directing and evaluating programs that aim to reduce teenage pregnancies.

What is Project Based Learning?

When students engage in quality projects, they develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions that serve them in the moment and in the long term. Unfortunately, not all projects live up to their potential. Sometimes the problem lies in the design process. It’s easy to jump directly into planning the activities students will engage in without addressing important elements that will affect the overall quality of the project.

With more intentional planning, we can design projects that get at the universal themes that have explicit value to our students and to others. We can design projects to be rigorous, so students’ actions mirror the efforts of accomplished adults. They will feel the burn as they learn and build up their fitness for learning challenges to come.

In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student “voice and choice,” rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products & presentations.