The Flipped Classroom

A bit of news from the teaching and learning side of things…

Last week I attended the launch of the Education Portfolio’s #edtech talks at The University of Sydney – a talk series focusing on evolving and revolutionising tertiary learning and teaching through technology.

The launch featured a talk by Professor Simon Bates, who is visiting Sydney from the University of British Columbia, on the topical issue of Flipped Classrooms. The talk, entitled “If you don’t lecture, what do you do? Active learning inside the classroom”, was extremely interesting and particularly relevant to undergraduate teaching in our fast-changing world.

The basic premise of the talk was to discuss methods of making better use of the time we spend with students in class, particularly by adopting this “Flipped Classroom” approach during lectures. Simon made a strong case for (re)designing courses to make the best possible use of class time for what is known from research to be more effective for learning than passive listening. Instructional strategies for blended and online learning, flipped classrooms and active engagement were all discussed, and shown as becoming more widespread across campuses. Technology also plays a key role in this new style of learning in order to provide easier access to course content, communication, collaboration and assessment activities.

Simon also demonstrated some of the techniques he currently uses in his 2000 strong first year undergraduate physics course at UBC (2000 yikes!).  He got us all to participate in the discussion by using our mobile devices and online tools such as Socrative in order to foster active engagement from the audience. And it seemed to work! We were laughing, discussing the issues raised, and staying focused on the message J. Simon also provided answers to a number of questions and concerns about the Flipped Classroom, most of which boil down to the question: ‘if you don’t lecture, what do you do?’.

For those interested in finding out more about Flipped Classrooms, you can catch Simon’s talk “If you don’t lecture, what do you do?” online via the following link.

A number of other #edtech talk events will be held at the University over Nov/Dec (see the ITL website for details) covering topics such as practical, hands-on teaching strategies presented by USYD colleagues across the Faculties, Education portfolio and ICT. I will hopefully be attending these so if anyone wants to join me just let me know 🙂

Also, I have signed up for the University of Edinburgh’s upcoming online course (free) about e-learning and MOOCs and would love company. So if you are interested in learning more you might want to sign up too and join me and a group of Sydney staff who will be exploring and discussing their experiences of this world renowned ‘E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC’ from the University of Edinburgh. The MOOC will run from 3rd November to 7 December, and the ITL and Sydney eLearning will co-host a weekly study group for those wishing to add a face-to-face component to their studies.

That’s all for now!

Samantha Clarke

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