I had the opportunity and the honour of being one of the six participants to the “Flipped Classroom” Erasmus Course organized by Anatolia Education in Valletta, Malta, 23-27August this summer. Although the idea of an ICT course like ours sounded rather technical and dull, it eventually proved to be quite inspiring and challenging , done in a convivial atmosphere, in a charming city, in the company of a friendly, flexible and enthusiastic trainer.
First, we discussed the concept of “flipped classroom”, with its upsides and downsides. We realized that this type of blended learning in which the students learn by themselves at home and practise in the classroom, is a valid option which increases the students’ engagement and changes them from passive recipients of information delivered in the classroom, into active and independent learners, able to process, prioritize, organize their learning, produce, collaborate, create, and so much more. Although not a flawless method, it can be successfully used in class, together with other methods.
Of course, we realized that this method implies a lot of changes in our role and the kind of work we do as teachers. What we commonly know as teaching looks now very different, as the direct instructions and learning happen at home via technology. In this scenario the teacher has to design the content, record videos, create resources, personalize lessons, using digital tools, all in a learner friendly and appealing way, which can be accessed by students at any time, at their own pace.
The concept of flipped classroom, however, involves technology, applications and digital tools to be mastered and used by the teacher, and here comes the role of this course, to familiarize us with different apps that we can use. The most notable and suitable ones, in my opinion, are Padlet, Quizizz, Mentimeter, ClassDojo and Canva, but we were introduced to Kahoot, ActionBound, Edmodo and VivaVideo as well, which are also worth a try. Of course we are not expected to use them all or all the time, but once we know how they work, we can choose the ones which suit our students, the subject we teach or our purpose (introducing new concepts, assignments, assessing, digital management of the classroom, collaborating with parents, obtaining feed-back, etc), in order to manage our work effectively and create a pleasant learning environment for the students.
What I most appreciate about this course offered by Anatolia, is the awareness we gained that we have to grow as teachers, no matter how old we are, and that we need to meet the expectations of a digitally savvy generation. In my view, solid values and moral principles are here to stay, but technology is changing the world, whether we like it or not, and the traditional methods as we knew them 20-30 years ago, are rapidly being replaced by new dynamics, new approaches and a new vision. As 21st century teachers, we have to stay tuned and keep up. Special thanks to Pinar, our trainer, and Anatolia Education, but also to our project coordinator Lucia Cighir, who made our experience possible. Last but not least, I want to thank my lovely fellow teachers with whom I spent memorable moments in Malta, during and outside the course, and with whom I discovered a fascinating country.
Looking forward to having another experience of the sort.
Credit pictures: Luminita Dubau
Prof. LUMINITA DUBAU