#Flipblogs: What The Dynamo And The BBC Teach Us About Flipped Learning

Efficiency requires re-imagining our systems

I know I am getting older as I now listen to radio shows…err podcasts in the evening. My latest addiction is a BBC distributed podcast by @TimHarford entilted 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy.  The episode relevant to this blog entitled “Dynamo” tells the story of how the industrial revolution that developed based on steam power driving single line shafts failed to understand the economies presented by the use of electricity because it failed to think holistically. Early manufacturing processes, and factory building themselves, were all designed and constructed to be within a leather belt’s reach of every piece of equipment as the steam engine spun the shaft, which powered the belts, that connected to the machinery. Early adopters of electricity simply replaced the steam engine with and electric motor to drive the shaft and found that there was very little gain in productivity or efficiency. As Mr. Harford states, it would be 50 years before factories and manufacturing processes would be decentralized and redesigned using the freedom of wires to rearrange and spread out machinery for peak efficiency rather than rigid power transfer. 

The podcast also draws the parallel to early computer adoption where typewriter pools and office functions were replaced, but workflows and process were not re imagined with the computer’s specific efficiency in mind. At this point it should be obvious how flipped learning fits into this story.  I am in the middle of a blog series Flip Fails at flippedlearning.org that recounts my many missteps on the way to flip implementation. In retrospect, I have found what many others have realized, flipped learning required a rethinking of the whole learning ecosystem.  43 minutes between bells is no longer a constraint.  Location is no longer a constraint. Uniformity need not be a constraint. Flipped and blended learning allows us to re-think classrooms and re-imagine education. 

Your #flipblogs turn:

Take the 3-3-300 #flipblogs challenge yourself!  I would like to encourage anyone that has a story, opinion, or thought on flipped learning to blog, vlog, pod, tweet, twitch or in some way share your story.  If you would like to share it at #flipblogs or tweet the link to @flippedlearning we would love to share your story here. 

Photograph – Machine Shop, Sunshine, Victoria, Aug 1918 Source: Museums Victoria Public Domain (Licensed as Public Domain Mark)

Leave a Comment