Alice in a Flipped Classroom
By Eric Brown

Sometimes we sit here under the bridge, and it is easy to lose track of what is going on in your classrooms. I think we have a very good understanding of education and how to teach using Alice, but it is easy to lose track of the day to day realities of school life. Our workshops are a very important opportunity to meet with you, and learn about what you deal with, but they do not happen often enough. PETE & C was eye opening, and made me aware that I must make a conscious effort to attend more such events.

I have to confess that I only started hearing the term “flipped classroom” in the last year. A friend of mine, working on her PhD in Instructional Design shared some articles with me about the flipped classroom, and then one of my colleagues here at Carnegie Mellon started talking about how he was thinking of trying to incorporate it into his classes.

I can see the advantages of flipped instruction, particularly in a course that is using Alice. Having the students review material related to some Alice concept or technique the night before, and then coming in and using it in the classroom, with the teacher as a guide, makes a whole lot of sense.

And so some questions I have for the community is:

  • How well do the current set of Alice instructional materials support flipped instruction?
  • What materials should we develop, and / or modify, that would better support flipped instruction?
  • We are starting to develop videos and screen casts, counterparts to the Tips and Techniques sections of the Learning to Program with Alice text, as well as for the new Alice 3 instructional materials.
    • Are these enough?
    • Are there special characteristics of such videos that would better support flipped instruction?
  • What do you think we may not understand about flipped instruction, and how it actually works daily in the classroom?
  • How pervasive is flipped instruction? 
  • Under what circumstances does flipped instruction not work?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

From under the bridge,