Tag Archives: education

Flipping the Classroom

I recently viewed a you tube video that focused on removing lecture from middle school classrooms by using simple one take videos. By recording the lectures the information is available to the students 24×7 and the instructor can focus on individual needs.

Students that have grasped the subject can move on to apply the concepts and students that still are struggling with the concepts can get individual help.

Educational Theories in action in the flipped classroom

Principles from the Flipped Classroom – chart taken from the video

I really believe this is the future of classroom education. I hope that more teachers will be encouraged to use this technique. It appears to be more effective and more time efficient.


Teaching through Metaphor

Adult learners process new information by relating it to life experience. The more vivid and multifaceted a new experience is the more likely a learner will become engaged and make connections with previous experience.

This works like surface area or the hooks on a hook and loop fastener. Illustration of surface area

The more connections made to previous experience (even sensory memories) the more likely students will retain and use the information. This is one of the reasons that the technique of chunking works.

Breaking information into manageable chunks gives more opportunity for connections.

Small numbers of discrete information (usually 3-5 points) are more easily processed at a time. I guess you consider it a buffer.

Waffles are all almost all surface area. That is why you can pack them with syrup and butter and berries and … but I digress.


What does this tell us? Teach with waffles. Use metaphors to connect with students accumulated experience. An instructor needs to open up the interior of a subject to students’ inquiry like a waffle iron opens up the interior of the waffle to melted butter and syrup.

If you can find direct application to students personal experience you can help them build connections with the subject. Adult learns bring a broad range of experiences to the classroom. An instructor can ask the students how they could relate the topic to their experience.

Enter the Dragon

navigation made easy

I  enjoyed algebra in high school. I actually retained the ability to solve a word problem half way through June of that year. I didn’t seem to have the knack and really didn’t see the application.  I managed to avoid the subject altogether until junior college. In aviation classes, it turns out,  algebra is a gateway drug. It leads to things like trigonometry and celestial navigation – on a slide rule.

Circa 1975: there were no smart phones, or personal computers. My data processing class consisted of learning to run a keypunch machine. I managed to survive math requirements by reverse engineering formulas but never understood the process.

I was researching material on gamification when I came across DragonBox. I have absolutely fallen for the concept. I watched a five year old solve quadratic equations in seconds.

The concept behind DragonBox is one of those simple, why didn’t they do this before, ideas. A semester of algebra concepts distilled into an addicting game that doesn’t require text or instructions. The game provides immediate feedback and adapts to the player by repeating concepts that were missed in a particular round.

Humans make rules to explain their environment by trial and error and then by applying the rules to similar situations. In DragonBox the player determines the rules of the game and in doing so learns the rules of algebra. Absolutely brilliant. 

I’ve made it through the first game, 50 or so levels. I’m not quite ready to take on the 5-year old.

I had limited success with train problems

I’d like another crack at the problem involving the trains.