Young people today have got it all backwards, and their schools are to blame.
If you’re a parent of school-aged kids you’ve probably already learned the hard way that what you thought were educational cornerstones are no longer valid–even the mechanics of mathematics have changed.
It’s gone so far that the basic model of school work followed by homework has been reversed. Homework comes first now. I told you, they’ve got it all backwards. It’s part of a new educational paradigm called Flipped Classrooms, and it is at its best when powered by video conferencing.
What Is the Flipped Classroom?
A flipped classroom is one in which the students get the basic lesson first, work through it on their own time, and then come to school to discuss the material in greater detail.
In its most effective form, the lesson is presented as a dynamic multimedia text that can contain everything from a video of their teacher walking them through the lesson, to online games, quick films, and interactive displays.
It’s easier to understand in a college format, whereby students attend a lecture to hear the main lesson and then break into study groups and tutorial classes to go through the information in greater detail.
It allows students to move at their own pace through a series of connected lessons, which in turn lets teachers spend their days giving each child personalized assistance on the points they’re having the most difficulty with. It’s also highly dependent on modern internet and video conferencing technology.
Homework by Video Conference
Under this new model homework becomes vital, and never before has the “home” part been so important.
As students are being presented with new information, rather than going the traditional route of reinforcing the day’s lessons, there’s a greater emphasis on their deciphering the material with the help of sources other than professional teachers. Mom and dad are obvious candidates to help out, but a secure video conferencing link-up can let students reach out to their peers to share their experience.
Within an enclosed network, students can set up a group video chat that is only available to those with the right credentials. This means going further than just sending out invites to a Google Hangout. Schools need to create a permanent platform kids can log in and out of regularly, one that’s monitored around the clock.
With such a setup in place students would be free to lean on each other to get through the evening’s work, and to keep things fun and social as well–which can be critical for the very young. Of course, the video conferencing aspect of this new flipped system needn’t stop once the kids get back into class.
Video Calling in Class
There are plenty of ways video conferencing can help take students beyond the walls of their classroom and expand their educational horizons.
We’ve discussed a few of them ourselves, from virtual field trips, to video calling with students from other countries, to virtual attendance for chronically ill kids. But what about using VC within the classroom? As the Flipped Classroom encourages students to learn at their own pace, it inevitably creates distinct groups of learners.
While the teacher now has the duty of working between these groups, they could be better aligned through shared internal video calls. Perhaps once a day the room could be broken down by learning progress and each group sent off to explore a virtual or augmented reality that’s catered to their skills.
After donning a VR headset each group could be dropped into a world where they can interact with each other and their virtual surroundings. For instance, a virtual trip to the museum could be granulated so each group operates within a distinct floor. Or students could use augmented reality to literally tackle math problems embodied by virtual football players.
The Flipped Classroom concept is gaining momentum the world over, and its dependence on technological links is a prime opportunity for video conferencing to maximize human interaction within an increasingly individualized format.
Image Sources: Flickr CC users Tiffany Hobbs and AJC1