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CanFlip conference: conversations on teaching and learning

The idea is uncomfortably simple. Take the normal classroom-homework equation and flip it on its head.

Invite students to use recorded lectures when and if they need to, courtesy of technology. They can watch a second time if they want. They can rewind, review, fast-forward.

When the students are in the classroom the time can be put to better use to further explore and understand, both with their teacher and fellow students.

This is the idea behind the flipped classroom, an instructional movement that has been gaining momentum around the world in recent years. CanFlip14, planned for June 19-20th in Kelowna, is a chance for practitioners to share their experiences, journeys, challenges and successes while using the flipped classroom model.

Organized by two School District 23 educators – Carolyn Durley and Graham Johnson – and hosted at Okanagan College (one of the sponsors), the conference is intended to bring passionate educators together to discuss teaching and learning moving into the 21st century.

“This conference is first and foremost about sharing ideas on ways to improve the learning experience,” explains Durley, “not just for students, but for educators as well.”

Technological and social change has presented opportunity and reason to examine how best to learn and teach, says Johnson.

Both Durley and Johnson were awarded the 2011 Canadian Education Association's Ken Spencer Award for excellence in teaching and learning.

“What makes this conference special is the diversity of experience and perspective that attend with the educators from higher ed, secondary and elementary schools,” Johnson notes. “Each has practical experience, insights and a drive to derive more benefits from the educational experience.”

There are a host of presenters and sessions for the two-day event, which range from Playing in the Twitter Sandbox, to a student panel on the impact of flipped classrooms.

“This conference is a tremendous professional development opportunity for people who really care about ensuring education delivers all that it can for all involved,” says Dr. Rosalind Warner, an Okanagan College instructor and a fellow with the College’s Institute for Learning and Teaching. She’s among the dozens of people who will be presenting at the conference, but is more excited about the idea-sharing, insights and inspiration that come with the two days of networking.

Conference information and registration can be found at www.canflip.ca. Cost is $425 per person, although groups of three or more individuals can register at $250 each.