Beyond Homework: The Evolution of the Flipped Classroom

flexible man doing flip on street
Photo by Mary Taylor on

As the landscape of education continues to evolve in response to global disruptions and digital advancements, blended learning models have surged in popularity. Among these is the flipped classroom model, a strategy that leverages video instruction to mitigate potential obstacles that make it challenging for students to access information presented live. However, I often hear the question, “Can I use the flipped classroom if I don’t assign homework?”

Catlin Tucker

Catlin Tucker explores the evolution of the flipped classroom model and discusses its potential beyond traditional homework assignments. The author reflects on how the concept has transformed over the years and provides valuable insights into its current state.

Tucker emphasizes that the flipped classroom is no longer limited to a mere reversal of in-class and at-home activities. Instead, it has evolved into a more dynamic and interactive learning experience. The traditional model involved students watching video lectures at home and completing practice exercises in the classroom. However, Tucker suggests that educators can now take advantage of various digital tools and instructional strategies to enhance the flipped classroom approach.

The Shift to Student-Led: Reimagining Classroom Workflows with UDL and Blended Learning
  • Tucker, Catlin R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 270 Pages – 11/09/2022 (Publication Date) – Impress (Publisher)

One key takeaway from the post is the importance of leveraging technology to make flipped learning more engaging and personalized. Tucker suggests incorporating interactive videos, online discussions, and collaborative projects to foster deeper student engagement. By diversifying the resources and activities, educators can create a more inclusive and interactive learning environment.

Another significant point highlighted by Tucker is the need for intentional planning and scaffolding in a flipped classroom. Educators should design clear guidelines and structures to support students in their independent learning endeavors. This involves providing explicit instructions, organizing content in manageable chunks, and offering continuous guidance throughout the process.

Tucker also explores the concept of differentiation within the flipped classroom. She suggests tailoring instructional materials and activities to meet the diverse needs of students. By providing a range of resources, teachers can support students with different learning styles and abilities, promoting an inclusive and equitable learning environment.

UDL and Blended Learning: Thriving in Flexible Learning Landscapes
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Novak, Katie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 234 Pages – 05/28/2021 (Publication Date) – Impress (Publisher)

In conclusion, Catlin Tucker’s blog post emphasizes the evolution of the flipped classroom beyond its original concept of homework flipping. By embracing technology, intentional planning, and differentiation, educators can create a more engaging and student-centered learning experience. The flipped classroom has the potential to transform traditional teaching practices and foster deeper understanding and collaboration among students.

Link to the original blog post: Beyond Homework: Flipped Classroom

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Flying the Kite High Against Digital Colonialism: FOSS in the Era of EdTech

internet technology computer display
Photo by Markus Spiske on

In 2001, the Kerala government launched an EdTech project, IT@School, that was successfully pressured to resist digital colonialism. Recognizing how Microsoft, the tech super-giant of the day, threatened to undermine digital self-determination, activists and teacher’s unions pushed the Kerala government to make Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) mandatory in public schools. While IT@School and its successor, KITE, are scarcely known outside of India, their success over the past two decades presents an important model for resistance to Big Tech.

Michael Kwet

In this thought-provoking article by Michael Kwet, the author highlights the importance of avoiding digital colonialism and emphasizes the role of free and open-source software (FOSS) in promoting global digital justice. The article specifically focuses on the context of educational technology (EdTech) and its potential implications for marginalized communities.

Kwet defines “digital colonialism” as a phenomenon where powerful technology companies from developed countries dominate and control the digital infrastructure and services of less-developed nations. This leads to a dependence on foreign corporations, resulting in a loss of control over data, infrastructure, and decision-making processes. Kwet argues that this creates a new form of colonization where power and influence are exerted through digital means.

One solution proposed by Kwet is the promotion and adoption of free and open-source software (FOSS). FOSS refers to software that is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It operates under a transparent and collaborative model, allowing communities to take ownership and control over their digital tools. Kwet believes that by embracing FOSS, countries can regain autonomy over their technological systems, reducing their reliance on foreign entities and fostering local innovation.

The article also highlights the global digital justice movement, which seeks to address the power imbalances and inequalities created by digital colonialism. This movement advocates for the rights of marginalized communities to access and control their own digital infrastructure, ensuring that technology is used to empower rather than exploit. The global digital justice movement emphasizes the need for fair and inclusive digital policies that prioritize the interests and well-being of all individuals, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or excluded.

Kwet warns against the pitfalls of relying solely on proprietary software and foreign corporations for EdTech solutions. He argues that this approach perpetuates the dominance of global technology giants, perpetuating digital colonialism and hindering local development. Instead, he encourages governments, educators, and technologists to explore and implement FOSS alternatives that empower communities, promote knowledge-sharing, and foster digital sovereignty.

In conclusion, the article emphasizes the importance of avoiding digital colonialism in the realm of EdTech. It encourages the adoption of FOSS as a means to promote global digital justice, empower marginalized communities, and regain control over digital infrastructure. By embracing these principles, societies can strive toward a more equitable and inclusive digital future.

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“The Precipice” – A Call to Action for Modern Education: Embracing Existential Risk and Our Students’ Future

"We need to take decisive steps to end this period of escalating risk and safeguard our future. Fortunately, it is in our power to do so. The greatest risks are caused by human action, and they can be addressed by human action." (Toby Ord, The Precipice)

In the sphere of educational research, we continually aim to find ways to deepen student learning, foster student agency, and promote equity. As we delve into this task, we encounter a range of theories and viewpoints, all of which provoke thought and prompt reevaluation of our established norms. A recent encounter with Toby Ord’s book, “The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity,” has stimulated such reconsideration, expanding the discourse on the role of education in navigating existential risks.

Ord’s masterstroke lies in the urgent need to address existential risks—threats that could cause our extinction or irreversibly cripple our potential. These risks include natural hazards, such as asteroids and supervolcanoes, but are mainly human-made perils, like nuclear war, climate change, and potential drawbacks of advanced AI. Our task is to translate this narrative into the context of our educational mission.

  • Ord, Toby (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 480 Pages – 03/23/2021 (Publication Date) – Hachette Books (Publisher)

Reimagining education involves recognizing that the stakes have never been higher. With humanity on the precipice, the school system must incorporate deeper learning, fostering an understanding of complex, real-world issues such as climate change, artificial intelligence, and geopolitical tensions. Students need to grasp the gravity of these issues, discern the links between them, and understand how their actions can contribute to solutions.

Ord’s ideas also resonate strongly with the need to enhance student agency. As we navigate this precipice, the active participation of students in their learning becomes paramount. They must be involved in problem-solving, decision-making, and value formation regarding the issues at hand. Incorporating project-based learning and collaborative problem-solving into the curriculum are ways to prepare our students to address existential risks and steer humanity away from the brink.

The theme of equity is an undercurrent in “The Precipice,” particularly when considering who suffers most from these existential risks. It’s a stark reminder that educational equity is more than just an ideal; it’s a necessity. Students from all backgrounds must have equal opportunities to understand and confront existential risks. To achieve this, we must remove barriers to high-quality education, ensure diverse representation, and empower students with the skills, knowledge, and tools to shape the future positively.

Toby Ord’s “The Precipice” is not a book about education per se, but it holds an urgent lesson for all educators. Our current education system, with its emphasis on standardized testing and rigid curriculums, falls short of preparing students for the existential risks we face. But by embracing deeper learning, promoting student agency, and ensuring educational equity, we can better prepare our students to navigate and shape their futures in this uncertain world.

To paraphrase Ord, we are the stewards of humanity’s future. It’s our responsibility to educate our students with this in mind. Let’s not shrink away from this precipice but rather use it as a springboard to leap toward a more informed, engaged, and equitable education system. It’s not just our students’ futures at stake – it’s the future of all humanity.


Q1: What are the main themes in “The Precipice” by Toby Ord?

A1: The primary themes in “The Precipice” include existential risk, the future of humanity, artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war, and the responsibilities of our generation to future generations.

Q2: What does Ord mean by “existential risk”?

A2: By “existential risk,” Ord refers to potential threats that could cause human extinction or drastically hinder our ability to reach our potential. These threats could be natural (like asteroids and supervolcanoes) or human-made (such as nuclear war, advanced artificial intelligence, and climate change).

Q3: How does Ord propose we should respond to these existential risks?

A3: Ord suggests that humanity needs to recognize these risks and take coordinated, strategic action to mitigate them. He emphasizes the need for comprehensive research, international cooperation, ethical decision-making, and the prioritization of long-term sustainability over short-term gains.

Q4: How does the book relate to the concept of “student agency”?

A4: Although not directly about education, “The Precipice” can be related to student agency in the context of preparing learners to navigate, understand, and act on existential risks. It advocates for empowering students to become active participants in their learning, equipping them with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to confront these global challenges.

Q5: What is the connection between the book and the concept of educational equity?

A5: The existential risks outlined in the book have unequal impacts on different populations, reflecting the broader issues of global inequality. In an educational context, this underscores the importance of providing equal opportunities for students of all backgrounds to learn about, understand, and address these risks.

Q6: How can “The Precipice” be used to inform educational practices and policies?

A6: “The Precipice” can guide educators towards integrating deeper learning about real-world issues into the curriculum. It encourages the promotion of student agency, collaborative problem-solving, and project-based learning. Moreover, it underscores the necessity of ensuring that all students, irrespective of their backgrounds, have equal access to quality education and the tools needed to shape the future positively.

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