Reflections on an Amazing Experience at FlipTech 2018

FlipTech 2018 was a wonderful success. Thank you so much you to all of our attendees, sponsors, and to the team at Collingswood Highschool! Together, we are an amazing ‘Tribe’!

After nearly a year of planning, the Flipped Learning Network and Collingswood High School delivered a powerful, fun, motivating conference on June 29th and 30th in southern New Jersey. Just spend a couple minutes scrolling through the countless Twitter posts at #FTEC18 and you’ll see how much attendees enjoyed themselves, learned, connected, and shared.

Over and over across the two days we heard and saw people rejoicing in connecting, celebrating the awesomeness of our ‘tribe’, and taking copius notes and pictures to capture the new things they were learning. For some, as one attendee put it, it was “transformative”. 

Getting Off to a Great Start

Friday got off to a brilliant start with Aaron Sams‘ Keynote presentation. The beloved educator, speaker, author, and flipped learning pioneer shared his story in an insightful and heartfelt talk. As I observed the audience I couldn’t help but notice how many were captivated, moved, and often nodded their heads in agreement with key points and ideas that Aaron shared. The FLN and CHS are truly grateful that Aaron came and participated in this landmark event (hopefully the first of many FlipTech conferences to come).  

Outstanding Break Out Sessions

There were 2 dozen break out sessions offered across 4 time slots on Friday, providing a wealth of options (along with the dilemma of deciding which to attend!). So many motivated educators sharing their experiences, tips, tools, and techniques (thank you all so much for your time, effort, and devotion). I came away with so many ideas to consider for my course in the fall. I can’t wait to give them a try (I am going to make collaboration work in those annoying fixed rows in my classroom one way or another!).

A.J. Bianco shared this quote in his session on Personalized Learning and Student Choice in the Classroom

Matthew T. Moore’s “Digital Instructions Blocks” learning map

The Student Panel

Before we ended the day with dinner and a movie, we had a fantastic student panel. Students reflected on their experience in the flipped classroom. Everyone was blown away by these amazing kids – they responded eloquently and honestly to questions, offered prescient insights, shared willingly, and just impressed the heck out of our conference attendees. As Kristina Ulmer (@kristinaulmer) tweeted:   

We need to hold more student panels in education. Kids have so much to say about how our teaching methods affect them (both positive and negative). We only need to set aside more time to listen.

Most Likely To Succeed

After dinner, this moving documentary was screened. 

Wow. What an experience. I’m not kidding when I say, “I laughed, I cried …”.

The movie opens with a rather disturbing look at the way that technologies like Artificial Intelligence are going to displace jobs at a growing rate. The education system has to anticipate this and evolve to provide our students with the soft skills they are going need – collaboration, creativity, decision making, time management, etc. – in order to do well in the rapidly evolving workplace of tomorrow. The documentary then focuses on the experience of students, teachers, and parents at the innovative, project-based High Tech High in California.

I have little doubt that I was not the only one who hopes that these types of forward-looking efforts succeed and pave the way for the changes that are going to be needed to bring about meaningful and much needed advances to our entrenched school systems. 

It was an eye-opening and thought provoking film, and we had a great discussion about the challenges education faces before wrapping up the day.

Day 2 – FlipCamps and More!

It was such a pleasure and privilege for me to open Day 2 with my keynote presentation, and share my personal flipped learning and edtech experience over the decade since I joined The College of Westchester back in 2008. It was extra fun to kick it off with a brief audio clip from the EP I recorded and released a few years ago, sharing my lifelong learning experience of Keeping the Dream Alive (the title of my record, which dovetails nicely with the ideals of perserverance and hope that we wish to instill in our students).

The focus of Day 2 was a series of EdCamp style sessions, retitled fittingly for our event as “FlipCamp” sessions. I attended a great discussion about Mastery and Standards Based Grading before having to head back to New York and obligations I had.

Overall, this was a truly memorable and motivating experience for me, as I know (based on all the folks who came up to me and said so) it was for so many of the attendees. We can’t wait to do it again!  

Thank you again to Dave Walsh and the amazing Collingswood High School team and to our numerous sponsors (Screencast-O-Matic in particular really went the extra mile with their sponsorship and gift donations)! 

On the Horizon: FlipTech 2019

A few attendees have offered the possibility of having a conference at their school in 2019. We’d love to have several regional conferences each year, so please drop us a line if you think you might be willing to partner with us to make that happen (next year or any time in the future). We can provide guidance, resources, speakers, promotion, and much more to help make an event a success.

Keep an eye out here and on social media (@flippedlearning and on for news about future conferences. 


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