Every year, the FLN Board of Directors works very hard to put on a strong annual conference. We’ve grown from just 25 teachers meeting in the Woodland Park, CO library (before the Network was even formed) to nearly 400 onsite from over one dozen countries and all areas of teaching. Our network is vast and the experience of our community members is deep. We’ve benefited greatly from the conference every summer and we continue to receive insightful feedback on how to improve each year.
FlipCon has always been about pushing the conference barrier. We started by streaming our conference, live, to people who couldn’t make it. The best part of this was that virtual attendees would often show up onsite the following year. Putting faces to screen names was always a lot of fun. Then, we tried to flip the conference itself for a few years, with admittedly limited success. We do, however, have a great response when we ask presenters to post their materials on the conference website, and continued support from companies like Lesson Paths has helped us extend the reach of the event.
This year, we’re going to try something new…again. The conference has felt too…conference-y, if that makes sense. A major strength of the FLN is in our sense of community, as evidenced by the reunions each summer and the weekly get togethers during the #flipclass chat on Twitter. We felt that the annual conference wasn’t accurately representing the benefits that come through continual improvement while working together. At the same time, we know there is a wealth of knowledge that we want to share each summer.
So, we’re going to blend the two. We’re calling day two of the conference FlipCamp. If you’ve ever been to an edCamp, you’ll be right at home. We’ll gather Wednesday morning to put together a new session board based on your interests. What do you want to talk about more? What new ideas do you have? What questions do you want to sort out? The entire day will be based on the group’s needs, and our presenters will be available to help facilitate these discussions as they come up and will offer their expertise as needed. The purpose of this shift is to maximize the impact of our face-to-face time at the conference, much like we do with our face-to-face time in the classroom.
We want the FlipCamp experience to showcase the best of what can happen when a few hundred really smart people get together. We’ll be featuring some “facilitated work times,” spaces in which to collaborate with colleagues on flipping lessons, assignments, or even units, while having access to experts and others in attendance. We’ll be hosting Ignite Sessions where anyone can sign up to give five minutes of inspiration. We’ll also be encouraging impromptu discussions to pop up as groups form on the fly. Want to talk about designing a co-taught history/science course? We’ll let others know and make it happen. Everything will go up on the board with times and locations for the meetups.
As with all change, there are some side effects to this shift. Because we’re focusing on the importance of face-to-face time at the conference, we will not be offering a virtual conference this year. This may come as a surprise to many of you because it’s something the FLN has proudly offered since 2013. However, the logistics of putting together and running a quality program for remote viewers with the new structure is not feasible at this point, so we’ve decided to put it on hold. If you were planning on doing the virtual conference, think about joining us in person this time around.
Remember, this year’s conference registration has been reduced to a $250 flat rate to make it more affordable. That registration cost helps offset costs such as facilities rentals, conference services fees, and receptions or other entertainment events. We also hope that the reduced registration this year can help more people to attend onsite than have been able to do so in the past.
Thank you for your continued support of the Flipped Learning Network . We’re looking forward to seeing you in July.
– Brian, Jon, Julie, Helaine, Justin, and Ken.