September 3, 2013By Lance Baily

Flipping Classrooms – Teaching in the Digital Age

This past year I have been traveling a great deal to provide the highest quality content possible for! From Chicago to learn more about (upcoming video), to New Orleans to learn more about Simulab, and from Orlando to cover the world’s leading aviation simulation conference to San Francisco to speak on documentary film-making in simulation at HPSN and SimStudio — and many other places in-between!

While flying this week I picked up Southwest’s Spirit Magazine to find one of the most powerful articles I have ever read in my life called “Flipped Out” by Jennifer Miller. The article wonderfully demonstrates a concern I have had since my own experience of K-12 learning, that memorizing knowledge for passing tests was an outdated model of education. Why? Because response’s by teachers similar to “because you won’t always have a calculator” has proven to be wrong, as we all carry them on our phones.  Last month at the free SimStudio conference, Dr. Adam Collins MD Anesthesiologist at UCSF paralleled this concern in higher education and beyond saying “I have never Kreb-cycled someone out of unconsciousness”. He added further ”If healthcare is about the doing, why are learning and relearning the Krebs cycle? It’s like bringing a TV on a hike up the mountain, and we as healthcare providers should get to doing earlier”.

Thankfully, the times are finally changing and innovator pioneers in teaching are realizing the world has quickly become a different place. Read some of the excerpts of this wonderful article which parallels the introduction of medical simulation technology into healthcare education, and reminds us as simulation champions we are not alone! I recommend this read for educators, administrators, and technicians alike!

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“In September 2010, Marc Seigel, a chemistry teacher at Middletown High School South, in a middle-class enclave of northern New Jersey, thought he’d found a way to engage students who’d rather text under their desks than pay attention to him. In a publication from the National Science Teachers Association, Seigel read about the so-called flipped classroom, a forward-thinking educational model that inverts the norm: What would customarily be defined as homework (problem sets, essay writing, etc.) is done by students during class hours, with a teacher’s supervision and hands-on input; and what was once the core of the classroom experience (teacher lectures, delineated lesson plans) is now absorbed at home via video tutorials.

Justin Reich is a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the founder of EdTechTeacher, a professional development consultancy that trains teachers to use tech effectively. The goal of flipping a classroom, he says, is not to bend education to the digital proclivities of kids, but to maximize student-teacher interaction during the most demanding lessons. “It’s about how we use our time more than how we use our technology,” Reich says.

Educators like Reich, who advocate for tech in the classroom, say that the first step in rethinking how we teach should be a renewed examination of how kids learn. Before we fall down the techno–rabbit hole and demand tablets in every classroom, we need to seriously reconsider, for example, whether teaching content, as opposed to cognitive skills, can adequately prepare our children for 21st-century professions. In other words, our nation’s educational mindset—one that traditionally uses fact-regurgitation as a marker of success—desperately requires a reboot.

Many teachers want to emphasize independent thinking, but primary-school curriculums are still largely geared toward “teaching to the test.” According to Dr. Gary Small, a neuroscientist at UCLA and author of iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, this model is long out-of-date. As a society, he says, “we’re no longer memorizers but gatherers.” 

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Finally, the article’s author asks Marc “But if a vast universe of information is readily available in cyberspace, what use is today’s teacher to students?”

Seigel wastes no time in answering. “To teach them,” he says, “to think.”

Don’t wait to get on a Southwest flight to get this content – Read the entire “Flipped Out” Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine article here – I promise you will be inspired!

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