Educational Reform, Flipping the Classroom and Innovation

Somethings things just come together in strange and exiting ways to trigger light bulbs and a different or accelerated way of thinking. You may have seen all of these videos before but together they make a powerful case for changing education and viewing instruction and learning in a new light. Additionally, I love the animated whiteboard technique. Consider doing this for your next “talking head” lecture.

The following are three videos. The first about educational reform with the most interesting piece being how schools are exactly like factories. Something I always talked about and “knew” but the video places that into a much brighter light. Additionally, the animation adds a level to the content which is engaging, interesting and adds to the message. Also, the comment “why do we have this assumption that the most important things kids have in common is how old they are?” hits the nail on the head. While we are rushing to standardization, really need to go toward individualization. (see my post on What Happened to the Promise of One-to-One Online Learning?

Of course, Sir Ken Robinson and this video do a much better job of articulating the problem explaining the concept than I.

So, then I got thinking about how education can change. One method is flipping the classroom. The idea of “lectures at home” and homework at school. A great idea where application of concepts and ideas occurs under the watchful eye of an expert. That is certain one way to address the problem of “standardization” and “mass education.” The instructor walks around the room and assists students who need help but each in a different area and each with the same fundamental knowledge from the lectures they engaged with while outside of the classroom.

Why do we want educational reform and flipped classrooms as part of the reform? Because we want innovative thinkers who can develop new ideas and new concepts. Who can put those concepts together and create something new. We want innovation. But given the problems with the educational system and even some solutions, how do we put things together to create innovation?

Steven Johnson addresses that question in the video below.

Thinking about the combination of the three videos and the TEDEd announcement of the new animated teacher series of videos to teach just one thing, I think of a powerful wave happening in the learning industry. Once which institutions better figure out how to fit. (see my post TED Gets into Education in a Much Bigger Way!)

This wave, I think, is bigger than simply “online” education or instruction. Its disruptive. And disruptions happen clandestinely. First a new technology takes over something that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Like putting a brochure online to advertise your company (in the old days of the web) at first it’s novel or even dismissed. Then the web site becomes a place of rich information and the web gets visited frequently because of all the information. Then the web becomes interactive and people exchange ideas, do business and circumvent old technologies like record albums or newspapers. Back over 20 plus years ago when Tim Berners-Lee thought of the concept to create an open computer network to keep track of research at the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland no record company executive or newspaper person was scared…if they knew anything at all they were probably thinking “cute little experiment, hope it works out.”

Massive educational institutions might feel they are immune to this coming wave of educational innovation but they are NOT. It’s coming and the speed is accelerating. They’d better be afraid, very afraid.

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Karl Kapp
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