Much ado has been made recently over the “Flipped Classroom” revolution that’s taking place.  I recently attended the BLC 2012 Conference and about 25% of all offerings were about how, why and the research about Flipping.  There are lots of pluses and minuses, but the fact that we’re engaging in a dialogue about turning the tables to empower student learning is exciting.  One tool to help move this idea into reality as an equalizer for schools is the new Ted-Ed website/movement.

If you haven’t checked this out, I encourage you to do so.  Ted-Ed is an off-shoot of the popular Ted.com website.  Ted-Ed, however, is all about lessons: creation, sharing and assessing.  Yes, I included sharing.  There’s a powerful feature on this site that allows for assessing student learning and targeting the areas of need.  But more on that in a minute.  First, I want you to take a moment and view the website, take the tour and get as excited as I am for the possibilities this can present.

Here’s what I’m noticing already:

These lessons are relevant.  If you have a rich conversation in your class about something going on in the world right now, you can find a video that supports the content you are trying to teach.  Relate that conversation to your content, or better yet cross-contents, through video.  Then….

Get your student to think!  This isn’t just about watching a video.  It’s about taking the medium of video and using it as a tool to ask thoughtful questions, promote inquiry and problem-solving and move the conversation forward.  From there, you can…

Develop rigorous assessments.  Provide high-quality questions for students to answer to gauge their learning of the material and their ability to move beyond that content and make meaningful connections.  From there, you are able to look at the student answers, find trends among the populations in your group, and truly target areas that need more explanation or further study.

Of course, the trouble with this platform is that it uses YouTube videos.  Obviously, you want the widest net of videos possible and thus, YouTube is the obvious choice.  Yet, many schools block this platform for security issues.  That’s a systemic issue in education that we’re going to need to address.  However, the true use for this would be for students at home, where blocking is not necessarily an issue.  It also allows for parents to be active participants in student learning.  This means then, that many teachers will need to find these videos and prepare these videos at home.  However, for the dedicated teacher, this is nothing new.  It’s simply a new way to approach lesson planning that you would do at home anyway.

This is so new and definitely exciting.  There’s plenty of questions to answer as we delve into using video more frequently and with more intention.  Let’s start a conversation and begin finding some answers for ourselves in this innovative new platform!