I just returned from a three-day trip to Russia. That's right. Three days. I was asked to go and share the ideas behind the flipped classroom at a culture and book fair hosted by Strelka University in downtown Moscow. I did not have a very clear picture of who my audience would entail, but it turned out to be one of the best flipped classroom discussions I have ever led.
My audience was a mix of students, teachers, university professors, journalists, and just interested and curious people from the community.
Instead of talking about the technology behind flipping like I usually do, I got to talk more philosophy and rationale behind flipped classrooms. We discussed what happens in class and how my classes have evolved into flexible learning spaces and how student-driven learning is king. We talked about students working collaboratively and peer-teaching one another through tough concepts. We also talked about what implications this can have in adult learning, regardless of your line of work. It was by far the most organic discussion I've ever had on the flipped classroom and I got some great feedback from the people in the room.
Whenever I visit new cultures, I realize how education can be a common discussion point. We all recognize the need to change schools in a positive way and the flipped classroom seems to make sense, no matter where we are. I think this is because the flipped classroom is not a methodology...it is an ideology that removes the teacher from the front of the room and puts the students back in the middle. We are working to re-humanize the class and push discussion, trial and error, and collaborative learning, rather than the old top-down instructional model that has been used for 100 years. The flipped classroom is built on relationships and cooperation and that is why it is so successful...students and teachers working together to learn together.
Here is an album of photos I was able to take during my visit. Moscow is a beautiful city and if you ever get a chance to visit, make it happen.