Flipping the Classroom

Last week was the annual TED conference 2011 in Monterey. Would have loved to be there but lucky for us David Cowan was and he wrote up his TED Talks 2011 guide over here – David said

“The 2011 speaker lineup lived up to prior years. You can never tell beforehand which ones will be the classics; this year the standouts turned out to be General Stanley McChrystal, dinosaur hunter Jack Horner, transplant surgeon Anthony Atala, Slate columnist Kathryn Schulz, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, poet Sarah Kay, Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim, and fourth grade teacher John Hunter.”

Read more of David Cowan’s guide to TED Talks 2011 over here David rated Salman Khan’s talk as 8/10

In watching the talk I was reminded about 3 ideas that have emerged as themes for me in recent times.

  • Idea 1- Salman Khan says Let’s use video to reinvent education: (more below)
  • Idea 2- Changing Education Paradigms – Education outside school by way of travel, exploration and rich media if extremely valuable but can be very distracting. (see Ken Robinson talk below)
  • Idea3  -Many of us have huge trouble getting work done at work because of too many meetings or other “work” processes that stop us from being as productive as we can be. (see Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work – video link and my comments below.)

Salman Khan on flipping the classroom.

After he did some videos for his cousins – “they preferred him on YT to in person” – because they can learn from him at their own time and own space.

“He shows the power of interactive exercises — and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do you “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

(Recorded at TED2011, March 2011, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 20:27)

Most intriguing we get to see Bill Gates ask Salman a bunch of questions about “the future of education” from about 17 mins onwards.

Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms

I saw that Sir Ken Robinson was in Palmerston North for the Inspired Impact Teachers Conference education conference back in January 2011*. I was reminded of the animated talk given by Sir Ken Robinson at the RSA last year. (* if you were there – I would love to hear about it.)

Watch at 4:26 for some thoughts from Ken on the way that our children get all kinds of great stimulation from a huge number of sources and then when they get to school they are penalised for finding the typical class room experience boring or too slow for them.

“Our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth. …besieged by information.. and we penalise them for getting distracted… from what – boring stuff at school for the most part”

Of course, there are many great teachers and parents out there doing their best for their children to help develop skills and strategies for managing all of the great resources available.

To me Khan’s work represents another step away from the book based learning that I experienced at school.

My daughter was lucky that her teacher brought a pigs brain along to school recently so that the 9 and 10 yr olds could get their science right up close and tactile. We have since supplemented that with videos and books but the shock and delight of having that physical object in the classroom will be treasured by most.

In my post last year 500m in Sight I mentioned the Digital Nation documentaries. There is an episode at the end which gives examples of video use in schools.

It is not just children that need help with managing distractions and over stimulation from media or work processes or general daily routines as Jason Fried explains.

Jason Fried on How Work doesn’t get done at work.

Work day becomes a series of work moments. Watch the excellent video below and for further reading check Paul Graham’s essays on the differences between managers and makers which I wrote about over here..

  • What do you all think about these 3 ideas?
  • Are Salman Khan, Sir Ken Robinson and Jason Fried onto something we need to care more about?
  • How then – do we manage our time and resources better for ourselves, our work and our families?
  • Important or not?

Footnote: After I wrote this post I found another example of a teacher using video to flip the classroom that was written about by Daniel Pink in September last year. That teachers name is Karl Fisch and he appears to be using the same approach as Salman Khan.

At this stage I haven’t researched the possible connections between Fisch* and Khan or if there are even any. Ideas can break out simultaneously anywhere but I do think that videos like the TED Talks series make a huge contribution to the spread of ideas.

As it turns out we have written about Fisch before as he made the video for Shift Happens. I really liked a more recent post on his blog where he talks about some of these ideas being developed in medical education as The Learning Studio.

Your homework: Chris Anderson: How web video powers global innovation