Saturday, June 22, 2013

#FlipCon13: What It Was Like

The following post was contributed by guest blogger David Fouch (@davidfouch), a social studies teacher in Michigan who has been experimenting with flipped learning for the past two years. 

I am currently sitting in the Minneapolis airport and I am reflecting on my last 3 days at #flipcon13 in Stillwater, MN.    First, I just want to say thank you to the organizers of #flipcon:  @kadaniels, @jonbergmann @chemicalsams, @bennettscience, Kari Arfstrom, and Helene. You guys designed a wonderful program for 3 days.

All I can say is WOW, what a great learning opportunity I had at #flipcon13.  I was able to network, learn, lead, guide, and take in a great educational conference.  My first takeaway was that I was finally able to meet people that I converse with on Twitter.  Cheryl Morris (@guster4lovers), Andrew Thomasson (@thomasson_engl),  Marc Seigel (@DaretoChem) Steve Kelly (@bigxcounty) and Zach Cresswell (@z_cress) are all awesome and talented educators. These people along with many more created a great atmosphere. The group from Allen, Texas adopted me as one of their own. Jackie, Jeremy, Dena, Katie, Chris, and Megan are all awesome people and educators. I would move my family to Allen, Texas in a heart beat to teach with those awesome educators.

This was the best education experience I have had in my teaching career. All education students need to attend this conference. So what made this conference awesome? It was the relationships I was able to build while learning.  People were so willing to share their success and failures of education.  It all started Monday when I was able to sit down and learn the tricks of trade for Camtasia Studio. That is a product from TechSmith that creates screen captures. Also, the people at TechSmith rock, Brian, Dave, Jason, Doug, Wendy, and a host of others love what they do and it shows. Thank you TechSmith.  They showed me some higher end ways to help build videos by using hotspots, quizzes, and just make my videos look smoother.  If you have any questions about that please let me know. 

Tuesday started with a great keynote speech from both Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmann.  They spoke about how they started their journey with flipped learning.  There were two things that stuck out to me the most during the keynote; first, you have to be the nut. Meaning, you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a chance.  Some people may only be the only nut in their building but one nut can lead to many more nuts. The second thing that stuck out to me is nothing that I haven’t heard before.  Teaching is all about relationships, teachers and students have to have open and trustworthy relationships.  The  two godfathers, Bergmann and Sams, keynote ended with the 5-5-5-5 idea, what are you going to do in 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months and 5 years. The flipped classroom never stops growing and where are you going to take your classroom next.

That led into a great session by Marc Siegal about Google apps. I can't wait to start playing around with the research tool on Google doc, voice comments will save me mucho time when I grade APUSH essays, and move note. I also decided that I will create the google 20% project for my APUSH students after they take the AP test.  Marc, thank you for an awesome presentation.

In the afternoon I was able sit and listen to Cheryl Morris and Andrew Thomasson discuss collaborative flipping. I was very excited to hear them talk about their process and the story how they got started flipping together.  They are a great team and it shows that you don't need to be in the same school or state to work collaboratively.

Wednesday's keynote by Ramsey Musallam was based on the idea of giving students the tools for success and letting them find the answers through Explore-Flip-Apply philosophy. I truly believe that this is a great style of teaching and organization for your classroom. However, with teaching all AP classes I find it hard, due to time constraints, to apply E-F-A to my AP classes. Overall, it was a great keynote especially when he mentioned the movie "The Karate Kid."

There were a ton of great moments from the week in Minnesota, from the brewery tour, the boat tour, Journey, and a ton of great educational innovation. I am planning for #Flipcon14 at Mars High School outside Pittsburgh, I already looked at hotels in the area.

Look for another guest post by me in a few weeks when I discuss how I am going to make changes to my AP US History class moving forward.