Friday, July 13, 2012

The 100,000-student classroom

Peter Norvig: The 100,000-student classroom | Video on

Seems simple and obvious enough, but is actually revolutionary and should be seen by teachers as the next evolution of their practice (for some year levels!).

I've been thinking for years that the old-fashioned mode of classroom delivery is just that - outdated and ready for change. Students don't engage with the 'sage on the stage' setup and much of the knowledge being learned in a typical 'lesson' could be developed by the student in their own time outside of the classroom, using online tools, textbooks etc, which work with the students strengths and weaknesses to allow them to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. This would then allow the time in the classroom to be used for more collaborative learning experiences (although on-line discussion forums outside of class time fall into this as well), taking the knowledge learned outside the classroom and applying it to new situations, as well as synthesising new meaning from what has been studied. The classroom should be where groups of learners get together and think at a higher level of Bloom's taxonomy.

This flipping of the classroom is very much the vogue at the moment, yet I worry about doing too much of it with my younger students, as they already spend 5 hours a day at school. However, opportunities must be sought for this to take place even at Year 8, as this will no doubt be the method of delivery of many courses within the next decade.

I will aim to use some more carefully constructed 'flipping' of my classroom with my Year 8 students - discussion forums on our class blog (short responses, maybe co-constructed), as well as keeping in mind the 'open' world that I discussed in a previous post.

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