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Changing the M type society by flipping learning

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By: Amos Tsay

In this fast, changing world, where poverty is so prevalent, the only paths to survival are to adapt, to learn and to be coachable and the first step to any change is education. Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist, once said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

A few years ago, I had a chance to help a group of aboriginal people in Saskatchewan by giving them free access to Speedybee, an algebraic calculation software that we created. We tried to help them by teaching them math using computers. In the end however, the project came to a halt because they could not find a volunteer good enough with computers to do the maintenance and perform basic debugging.

Today, the education revolution is coming. You can see that flipped learning is slowly finding itself in schools throughout the world especially in places where students have been lacking quality resources for learning for too long and where no hope can be seen. This flipped learning will change everyone’s destiny especially those who grew up at the extremes of the M type society.

Let me explain how this is possible.

Traditionally, schools have followed the behaviourist learning model which is teacher-centered.

  1. Preview the subjects by reading the material ahead of time (<10% of students will do that in high school)
  2. In class, the teacher will give the lecture (more lectures, less discussion) and use one-way teaching. The result of this is students that are behind feeling frustrated while those that are more advanced feeling bored. Teachers may ask a few questions here and there but the majority of students are often lost.
  3. Students will do the homework assigned to them and <40% of the students will review the lecture notes given in class. Again, it is a one-way repetitive practice.
  4. Teachers will only really know the needs and level of each student when he/she gives a quiz or test one month after teaching the topic. Even if the teacher in fact knows each individual’s needs, there is little he/she can do to help them privately. Also, most teachers don’t give back the quizzes or tests back to the student which worsens the learning process.

Nowadays, some high schools and universities have completely changed the way learning is done. The one-way, teacher-centered method is slowly changing to a more multi-dimensional and student-centered method. Less lecturing is given by the teacher and even if he/she does, the presentations are done by using power point leading to a more interactive style. More discussions are taking place between the students and lectures are packaged in the form of games. However, in order to fully interact with the class, teachers need to prepare a little more to let students learn in a more efficient way. I will give an example by using the topic of probability.

Most teachers will upload videos and/or post some websites before class to introduce the topic that is to be taught. They will preload learning videos such as those found on www.khanacademy.com. This site offers over 100,000 free, learning videos covering a wide range of subjects for teachers and students. Beforehand, students will watch videos that introduce the concept of mean, median and mode, others on combinations, predictions, compound events, etc.

Then, when class time comes, teachers will give minimal one-way lecturing but put more emphasis on group discussions. Through providing case studies, and real life examples of the topics, the teachers will have a good idea whether or not students have done their homework beforehand by how they respond. Afterwards, some online quizzes and problems will be posted for students, to test them on their understanding. Teachers will have complete access to each student’s scores and will give extra resources and homework practice to those that are behind.

For instance, you can go to ixl.com and choose grade 5 – Probability and statistics. On this site you can practice the same concept as many times as possible with instant solutions and detailed explanations for topics from grade three to secondary five.

You can do up to 20 questions per day on a computer for free or pay a minimal amount to have unlimited access.

Don’t be surprised as this learning method of e-tutoring is slowly trending across the world. With the flipped learning method, students will be better equipped to choose their career path with more flexibility. In a broader view, flipped learning will reach one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by member states in the Rio+20 Conference, building upon the Millennium Development Goals and converging with the post 2015 development agenda. sustainabledevelopment.un.org

Amos Tsay is the president and founder of Superkids e-Tutoring Center with 30 years of experience in education. He is also a publisher of many math books, the inventor of the I.C.E learning method and the founder of FQAA (Foundation of Quebec Academic Achievement) – a non-profit organization. For more info, visit his company website at: superkidslearning.com Contact: superkidspc@yahoo.com

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