--Originally published at CAROLINA R BUITRAGO
We know we've had quite a few post-conference reflection posts, we hope our readers don't mind! Attendees enjoyed the experience so much and really wanted to share their experiences and things they learned! - KW
I created this title for the #flipclasschat we ran on Monday July 1st with @Steve_Kolber and the idea kept buzzing in my head. That’s exactly how I wanted to name my blog post about this amazing conference held last month in Collingswood, New Jersey by an amazing team of educators. It took my a while to get this post out, but here are my highlights and takeaways.
Let’s start with the highlights.
1. Dave and Melissa! What amazing hosts we had! Oh my God! All the time so caring and welcoming. A big shout out to them for a very homy conference. I had never felt that closeness to either the participants or the organizers of a conference. Dave took really good care of all of us prior to the conference, and both of them did while the event happened. Thanks for the amazing food and the warm, homy atmosphere.
2. The organizing team: Kelly with his communications and the rides from and to the hotel, Dan with his patience in helping me understand how to set up the unconference, and all the rest of the team for their enthusiasm and availability to help.
3. AARON SAMS!!! It’s no secret that I was really excited to meet Aaron (thanks Dave for pointing it out every time you could, embarrassing me and freaking Aaron out!, No really, thanks!). But now, in serious terms, Aaron delivered one of the best Keynotes I have seen in years. Many of the things he said resonated with me. I love the research approach he is taking because in FL we need theory. Especially for those of us flipping in higher education where we are being asked to write solid research articles for submitting to academic journals and the stakes are getting higher by the minute. Can’t wait to read Aaron’s 2018 article!
I was sad that Crystal Kirch didn’t go to the event, though. I was really hoping to meet her too because her book has been pivotal in my success and continuous growth as a flipper, and also an inspiration to start writing our own book. I really wanted to thank her and give her a Colombian hug! Anyway, Crystal, it’ll have to be some other time.
4. Meeting the tribe: Even though this is number 4 on the list, it is by no means a low priority item. Meeting the tribe was by far one of the biggest highlights of this event. Putting faces on my #flipclass and other flipping buddies was priceless! @flipping_A_teacher, @flippingwithjoy, @kyleniemis @matthewmoore, Birgit Jensen and seeing my favorite language flippers @Ktbkr and @lainemarshall was really out of this world!! I also enjoyed meeting new folks like Angela who endured two of our presentations and went to the third one to ask for the slides! I feel so energized that I know them now! I just want to keep doing this forever!
5. Collingswood High: what an amazing site! For you, Americans, it must be just a school…but for me it was years of movies in one place!!! This is the first time in my life I set foot in an American High School and seeing the premises was magical. The library, the amazing auditorium, decorated classrooms, and the lockers!!! It was awesome! Very comfortable place, thanks Panthers!
6. Student panel: I think that bringing students who are users of flipped learning was brilliant. However, as we discussed at my table with a teacher from Sacramento (sorry, your name escapes me), it would have been great to hear some of the “real” students. You know, not the ones who are at the top of the ladder, but more to the base. Anyway, it was fabulous to hear the students’ perspective and all their amazing ideas and perceptions about flipping.
7. Most Likely to Succeed: Even though the first day of the conference was very long…(I had never spent 12 hours at a conference), the time spent watching this amazing documentary was entirely worth it. Since, I am currently reading Creative Schools by Sir Ken Robinson, and High Tech High was an example of one of those, the movie resonated with me. I have been very inspired about his work, and as a parent and a teacher, it is inevitable to feel connected with his ideas. Watching the movie just brought some thoughts to mind about how to do this thing we call education better.
8. My signed book by Aaron Sams: Dave kept on mentioning how I was the only speaker with more than one presentation approved and how I deserved something for it (thanks Dave!). He did say, “Think Book”. What I never imagined was that my signed book would be delivered by the same Aaron Sams! He approached me book in hand and I just stood there, shocked! I am so excited to have met him. But, what is all the fuss about? Well, for some years now (I guess since I started using Twitter constantly) I realized that authors of books are people! Sounds silly, but living in a developing country, book writers in English were pretty unreachable, but thanks to Twitter not only you get to talk to the author, but also to build amazing relations that can get you signed copies of books (thanks again Dave!).
9. Having our presentation to be replayed on the second day. Participants voted on the two presentations they wanted to see again and @ktbkr’s presentation and the presentation I did with my friend @martharamirezco won the voting. It was such an honor to feel our presentation had been rated so high that it deserved to be done once again. Thanks!!!
10. Aaron Sams and Helaine Marshall attended the session @tchju and I did. It was such an honor to have two founding members of the Flipped Learning Network take an interest in our work.
As you can see, there were many highlights to this conference. Probably, I could go on and on with more… the food, the beautiful landscape, the weather, the restaurant at our hotel, the hotel, etc. It was amazing! Everything worked out so nicely! But, now, it is time to share the takeaways!
- Keep flipping! Biggest takeaway from the conference was the affirmation that what we are doing is right! Students, other teachers and administrators confirmed that this is it. As Robert Talbert said in his last post, we are past the idea that flipped learning is a buzzword or a fad. We know now this is here to stay and as flippers, it is our mission to keep growing it and exploring it further.
- UDL: Aaron and Kyle talked about Universal Design for Learning and now that topic is circling around my head and on my “to-check” list. I have watched a few videos since the conference, and it does seem like a great theoretical support for what we do in the classroom and what we are trying to do when we implement all these new technologies. Definitely, more reflection on this front coming up.
- GoFormative as a way to structure my solo in-class flips: I attended Kate Baker’s presentation (the replay) and learned about the power of GoFormative to create full lessons. We propose a “solo in-class flip” in our book (coming out soon), but we had only proposed HyperDocs as a way to generate the lessons for it. From Kate’s presentation, I learned GoFormative can do the same as successfully. Thank you Kate!!!
As I presented so many times (wink, wink), I could only attend two sessions, but the wealth of knowledge and skill was outstanding. I can just say, thanks to the Flipped Learning Network, Collingswood High School and Dave Walsh for such an amazing conference and we will stay tuned for next year’s (wink, wink)!