From Flipped Classroom to Flipped PD

A few years back I saw a video of Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann that got me started on the path towards a Flipped Classroom.

 My school was already a 1:1 school, every student had a white macbook laptop, and I was still trying to find a way to change my teaching style to better meet the needs of all of my students.  I wanted to be able to actually meet the needs of all of my students as learners and I knew that using technology could help me find a way that was both effective and efficient.  Sams and Bergmann were able to do their Flipped Classroom without a 1:1 environment, but having that technology so easily available gave me more opportunities in the classroom.  I tried giving my students choices, not just on what they did but also on how they were assessed.  I forgot about the text and instead focused on the main learning standards they should be able to master.  I was finally on the path that I was hoping for as a teacher, because my classroom was starting to be that classroom that my students needed.  It was not about the videos, it was about the different learning opportunities that my students were able to take part in.  I did not change so that I could sit in the back and watch my students work, I changed so that I could have more time interacting with my students in a smaller setting.  The large lecture was gone and instead we had small group discussions or even 1 on 1 instruction.

I am hoping to carry these ideals with me into my new position as a technology integrationist.  I believe that professional development for teachers should reflect the best practices that we use in the classroom. Our teachers are just like our students, they do not all learn the same way at the same pace and they are all at different levels.  Our professional development should be created in such a way that we can meet the needs that they have.  That is why I was really happy to learn about the Flipped PD that was taking place in Stillwater, MN.  What they were doing was exactly what I wanted to do.

Technology again is going to make this easier.  By creating a collection of resources online, teachers can make uses of these resources to begin to learn something new.  When they need the extra help, I am there to help them along the way.  The goal is to stay away from having everyone attend hours of lecture driven PD and instead have individualized, differentiated professional development that gives us the chance to be more effective.  Just like the classroom when the students had trouble getting started, teachers sometimes also have trouble knowing where to start.  That is part of my job, to help curate and focus the resources that teachers need so that they can more easily get going with their learning.  Professional development, like teaching, is most effective when it is focused on the actual needs of the learners.  The exact look of our Flipped PD is not set yet, but I am sure it will be an ever changing approach to meet the needs of teachers as their needs evolve.

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