Thursday , 16 November 2017
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‘Flipping’ the traditional ways of learning

‘Flipping’ the traditional ways of learning

To enhance personal development skills of the students and update teachers’ knowledge on latest technologies, Dhempe College of Arts & Science, Panaji recently organised a two-day workshop on ‘Flipped Learning’ by distinguished resource persons: former vice-chancellor of SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, Vasudha Kamat and head of the department of Educational Technology of SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, Jayashree Shinde. NT KURIOCITY finds out about flipped learning and more

Ramandeep Kaur| NT KURIOCITY

In the age of technological advances, we still follow the traditional methods of teaching in schools and colleges. To keep up with the times, the students of Dhempe College of Arts & Science, Panaji were introduced to the tech savvy methods of flipped learning which aims at developing higher order objectives. The recently organised two-day workshop on ‘Flipped Learning’ was conducted by the former vice-chancellor of SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai Vasudha Kamat and head of the department of Educational Technology of SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, Jayashree Shinde.

What is flipped learning? Jayashree tells us in simple words: “Flipped learning is basically a concept, a model of blended learning which tells you how to integrate technological resources and classroom activities.”

Explaining the concept in detail, professor Vasudha says: “Flipped learning is flipping our traditional way of teaching. In our traditional class, teachers go to class, they generally lecture, use PowerPoint presentation, they may ask questions or they may not and students answer the questions. In traditional classrooms what happens is students spend more time in listening to the teacher’s presentation, lecture so basically it is only giving information. We do not give time to students to think, solve any problem, to evaluate something or create something new because most of the time is invested in transmitting information from teacher to student.”

This system of education can be changed when assignments are given to students that are on higher order. For example students are given a situation and asked: ‘why is this happening’, ‘can you give a solution’, ‘can you do something about it’. The assignment is given at home where students is alone, there is no help from the teachers. “In class also when student is listening he/she is alone because even if they are sitting in class of 50 to 90, each individual is listening to teacher and there is pin drop silence. We thus isolate students in the whole process of learning. In a class set up the student is individual as well as in the home set up. Now can we flip this? Can the information that I want to transmit be seen at home? Can I give printed material to that person? Can I use a video or can I use a podcast? Or can I create my PowerPoint presentation and give students beforehand so that they can see it and then come to class and then use group learning methods to solve the problem. Generally students have solutions but we do not ask them.”

Speaking about what does a flipped learning session entail, Vasudha says: “In flipped learning sessions we give higher order processes like critical thinking and creative thinking. Instead of doing it alone at home without any help, if we do that in class or in a small group, it is more valuable and will bring multiple perspectives.”

Vasudha further says that flip learning is a philosophy, it is a way of teaching where teaching is not at the centre but learning is. She adds: “The learner is at the centre so instead of giving lectures we use cooperative learning strategies where you make everyone contribute. In a traditional class even if you do not contribute you have to listen. Here everyone has to contribute because a task is at hand, they have to use it, find out information, work on it and present it to the entire group; thus all the responsibility of learning lies with the learner. In our traditional class, if teachers take only the responsibility of teaching then who will take the responsibility of learning? No one!”

Vasudha feels that students must be told that they are here to learn and teachers are there to help them to learn. She says: “A teacher’s role is not only to give information but help the learner use that given information. When you work in any field, you are working as a team and you must have skills of listening to others, respecting others’ views, putting forward our own views, unless we give students the opportunity to go through that while they are learning this will not be really developed.”

Vasudha who has developed strong links with the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada; University of Regina, Canada; Mauritius Institute of Education, Mauritius; Wawasan Open University, Malaysia; and many more universities in various countries also stressed on the need to interpret information to students, she says: “We do not teach our students to interpret information/data and bring out something of it. That is what flipped learning does.”

Speaking about the importance of group learning in classrooms, Vasudha says that it has the potential of letting students look into their own development, as they learn from each other. Vasudha is known for her significant contribution to educational technology/information and communication technology (ICT) in education. She says that a lot of ICTs are used in flipped learning: “ICT tools are very flexible, user friendly and also help in creating communities. I understand in Goa ICTs were introduced long back but it requires a change in mindset among teachers because they are traditionally bogged down by giving lectures and ICT has given lot of support to flipped learning,” she adds. During the workshop students were introduced to the concept of flipped learning, collaborative and cooperative learning strategies.

A teacher for four decades, Vasudha says that a lot of changes are taking place and technology has helped in big way, young teachers are tech-savvy but how to use this skill profitably for learners is what we should cater to. She is also a member of the National Education Policy Drafting Committee; she says that in December 2017 the Committee is in plans of drafting a policy that will get teacher’s training to the front seat because teachers are crux of the whole system.

Jayashree who has been teaching for the last 25 years and worked as a resource person and visiting faculty in Canada, Bangladesh, Singapore and Mauritius including teaching MEd in the Regina University of Canada explains the difference in teaching in abroad and India. She says: “When you see faculty and students abroad, they are more interactive. It depends as it changes country to country or from institution to institution.” She adds that Indian students are known for their logical thinking and their expertise in technology, “IT Indians students in India are far better but if we provide them such enriched environment to explore and experiment on their own you can imagine where our students would reach.”

Jayashree also emphasised on the need to change our system of teacher-centred education to that of a learners-centred education system. She says: “We have not worked systematically in our country on an interactive education system, we are not talking about interactive classroom situations where different activities or cooperative learning environment is possible, nor we are talking about interactive multimedia or material where we give students a chance to do something; say interactive animation or quizzes while learning so we need to rethink about efforts which are happening all over the country.” She adds: “If we are spending on and using so much technology but we do not achieve interactivity, it is a waste.”

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