Flipped Classroom = Flipped Business Model for Education


I can’t seem to get this thought out of my head at the moment. It’s in the heading above, but to restate the case.

  • Flipped classrooms need flipped business models for education and ed-tech.

There’s lots of talk on the internet these days, at least in education circles, around the idea of the flipped classroom. There’s a wikipedia article on it. It’s not anything particularly new, but in a nutshell, flipped is…

a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of Internet technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. This is most commonly being done using teacher created videos that students view outside of class time.

And the most famous proponent of this is Salman Khan and the Kahn Academy which you should immediately go and check out if you haven’t already. With 3000+ videos online there’s probably something there you can use.

However, the thing that interests me is the idea that a flipped classroom needs a flipped business model. With the costs of specialised knowledge plummeting towards zero in most subject areas and government subsidies continually being eroded, education remains a time consuming, labour intensive business with seemingly fewer incentives for businesses to remain in the game.

How are education providers going to stay in business let alone make a respectable profit under these and other conditions?

To be honest, I have no idea. However, here are some possibilities to consider for flipping your business model while you flip your classroom.

  1. Don’t sell education and training. Sell something else. Educational resources for example. Or something else. Anything really. People pay for that other product or service and get education and training thrown in.
  2. Run your current business model into the ground while you figure out the next thing. Still got some government funding? Think you’ve got another year or two under your existing business model? Then work like crazy to use your existing revenue streams to fund the next thing.
  3. Charge for credentials but not for training. This is one possible future for providers who have special accreditation. The information that your trainees need is probably available for free on the internet already. If not, then it will be soon. However, the official quality assured qualification and credential that you offer still has some currency. So charge for the credential and the credentialing process. Give the training away.
  4. Seek funding from other sources. This probably means that you then give the training away for free as well. It might be more trouble than it’s worth but some organisations may be interested in investing in your education business. There may be philanthropic reasons for this, particularly if you are a not-for-profit. Or you might be a good purchase. Macmillan Publishing, for example, seems to have set aside $100 million to buy up new ed-tech startups as they transition out of the traditional publishing industry.
  5. Consider how to leverage online business models for education. What if students subscribed to their training for a low monthly fee (like a phone plan)? What if you sold chunks of training content via an online shopping site? What if you made all your expensive print-based resources available for cheap download online? What if your course became an iPad app? Or a game? Or a series of iBooks or eBooks?

Or you could just get out of the education business altogether… By the way, Macmillan if you’re reading? I’d settle for a cool 1% of your slush fund. Just DM me on twitter. That’s @smith_graeme in case you haven’t got it already.

Any other thoughts on how to flip your business model for education? Let me know in the comments below.

Embedding Literacy and Numeracy (LN) Baseline Knowledge Infographic


Watch this space!

We’re about to release our giant infographic poster highlighting the baseline knowledge for Embedding literacy and numeracy. It’s still under wraps and we’re just finalising printing, but here is some advance warning…

We’re close to going live with our latest online venture LiteracyNumeracyPro.com and one of the products that we most proud of is our giant mind map and infographic to support best practice for embedding literacy and numeracy. Here’s a few details.

What is it?

The Embedding Literacy and Numeracy (LN) Baseline Knowledge poster highlights key understandings, actions, and processes that you need to have in place to embed literacy and numeracy effectively into your teaching and training.

What’s covered?

The poster summarises seven areas relating to best practice for embedding literacy and numeracy. These are:

  1. Context: This includes the importance of knowing your own context including current definitions for literacy and numeracy as well as reasons for the current low levels of adult literacy and numeracy.
  2. Good teaching: This relates to approaches and methods that are directly relevant to teaching your trade or content area.
  3. Mapping: This is about knowing the demands of your training.
  4. Diagnostic: Having a few effective diagnostic processes and tools allows you to better know your learners’ strengths and needs.
  5. Embedding LN: This is about knowing what to do – the delivery of explicit literacy and numeracy in your context.
  6. Assessing progress: Measuring learner skill gains and progress means you can tell if you are making a difference.
  7. Evaluating: Evaluating your effectiveness means looking back on what you’ve done, identifying what works, and then looking forward to what’s next.

Who’s it for?

We designed this giant infographic for a range of different people and purposes including:

  • Tutors and trainers interested in embedding literacy and numeracy into trades, vocational, and other kinds of training.
  • Managers, supervisors, and others with a vested interested in embedding literacy and numeracy into training.
  • Educators involved in adult learning and teaching, and professional development.
  • Organisations interested in a whole-of-organisation approach to literacy and numeracy.

In particular the Embedding LN Baseline Knowledge Infographic supports professional qualifications for adult educators including the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace) as well as the literacy and numeracy infrastructure now in place in New Zealand.

Is it just a New Zealand framework?
We’ve contextualised this work to our particular situation in Aotearoa New Zealand through two case studies.

  • One relates to our history including current initiatives and connection to Maori literacy and numeracy.
  • Another concerns principles of good teaching. In New Zealand, we use indigenous Maori approaches to education and learning to inform best practice for adult literacy and numeracy.

While these examples come from New Zealand, the approach applies to any context and we would encourage you develop your own examples and case studies to fit the framework.

Interested in seeing the Embedding LN Baseline Knowledge infographic and poster? Let us know in the comments below.

Using Camtasia 2 with Keynote to upload training content to Youtube


I recently purchased Camtasia 2 for Mac so I could screen capture recording and upload it in various ways. My reasons for this are:

  1. To see if I can “flip” my own training model. In order to do this I first need to create a body of video style content and make it available.
  2. To provide remote support for our NCALNE (Voc) learners who are involved with embedding literacy and numeracy into their trades and vocational training. With our professional development course we bring groups together for intensive workshop training, but many people still need addition support outside of these sessions. The video content is to help them access the same information they received during the live workshops.
  3. The future of my business in education and training is probably online. This means a shift from live training to digital and online. Currently, I’m in the process of working out what this means. One of the implications is that I need to learn to use some new tools. Screen capture software is going to be one of these tools.
  4. Making our content freely available online means that more people can potentially be exposed to the work we do and then investigate it further with minimal commitment and zero cost. We think that this will result in an increase in the number of people who want to gain the qualification that we offer. This is a move towards a “flipped” business model in education as well as a “flipped” classroom. In other words, end users pay for assessment and credentials rather than the training and information which eventually will be free.

Here’s my attempt at using Camtasia 2 to record some of the content that I discuss in the introduction to ALEC’s professional development course.

To get this clip on Youtube I did the following:

  1. Created the slideshow in Keynote. This is the latest version of the NCALNE (Voc) content and I’ve only just revised it.
  2. Hit record full screen on Camtasia 2.
  3. Immediately opened the Keynote via the Keynote Remote on my iPad (which is linked to Keynote on my Mac)
  4. Used the presenter notes from Keynote Remote playing on my iPad to do the voiceover while Camtasia recorded the full screen on the Mac
  5. Edited the very end of the presentation to cover up my fumbling around while I tried to stop the recording.

There are a couple of things that I’m still not quite happy about. One relates to the length of the clip. This clip is probably too long but for the sake of the course participants I wanted to include all the information. Also, Camtasia 2 ha a bunch of editing features and effects that I haven’t had time to look yet that will probably make this experience better.

Also, it takes ages to render the video and do the upload to Youtube. However, I just recorded several videos in sequence and then set the upload for the longest at night and forgot about it. The upside is that it hasn’t failed on me yet. Keynote has an export to Youtube function but it pretty much fails every time.

One annoying thing is that YouTube generates three random thumbnails for the clip. You can choose which of the three you want to use, but you can’t actually choose your own custom thumbnail. I think you can get around this if you become a paid user.

Anyway… how are you creating educational video content for YouTube? Any tips or thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

What is embedded literacy and numeracy?


Embedded literacy and numeracy is not a new approach. It’s something that good tutors and trainers have always done. Especially in trades and vocational training.

Here’s a definition that we work with in New Zealand. Embedded literacy and numeracy is:

The explicit teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy within the context and tasks of another, usually vocational, subject or skill (for example, panel beating). (Adapted from Strengthening Literacy and Numeracy: Theoretical Framework, pp.41).

Perhaps the thing that is different to what good tutors and trainer typically do relates to how explicit the literacy or numeracy instruction is. Here’s a couple of key points:

  • Our observation is that good tutors and trainers intuitively know what to do when it comes to teaching the literacy and numeracy understandings that their learners need.
  • Our suggestion is that good tutors and trainers can become really great tutors and trainers by shifting their professional practice in such a way that their teaching of literacy and numeracy becomes more explicit and deliberate.

Deliberately teaching literacy and numeracy in context makes the instruction much more effective for the learner. In other words, it’s more effective when learners know there’s some deliberate teaching going on. Explicit literacy and numeracy instruction means that the learning can be measured, both before and after whatever teaching interventions you have planned.

An explicit focus on developing literacy and numeracy understanding also means that you can:

  1. Carry out more detailed needs analyses when it comes to looking at your training demands.
  2. Undertake better diagnostic assessment of learners strengths and needs
  3. Be extremely targeted when it comes to designing teaching interventions that focus on underpinning knowledge and skills.

Our goal is offer the best professional development training and the most amazing resources to support this work.

The question is… what are you doing to shift your own or others professional practice towards a more explicit, deliberate, and embedded approach to teaching literacy and numeracy in your particular context?

Let us know in the comments.

Embedded Numeracy Training: Place Value Part 3 – Metric Measurement


Working with Place Value

This is the third part in our three part mini-series on place value and how to use our new Place Value Chart. If you missed the first two, you can read them here and here.

Thanks again to ALEC All-star Janet Hogan for these great examples that come from our professional development work delivering the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (otherwise known as the NCALNE).

Understanding the metric system

One of the key understandings learners need to make sense of the metric system is the following fact: There are 1000 millimetres (mm) in 1 metre (m) so 1 millimetre is  of a metre. Use your LiteracyNumeracyPro.com Place Value Chart with your learners to illustrate what these fractions look like as decimals.

Using the Place Value Chart helps reinforces the point that we need to use zero when there are no tenths or hundredths.

Example 1

1 mm is 1/1000 of a metre. We can write this as 0.001m.

Example 2

23 mm is 23/1000 of a metre or 0.023m.

Example 3

456 mm is 456/1000 of a metre or 0.456m.

Example 4

1790 mm is 1790/1000 of a metre or 1.790m.

The WordPress editor won’t let us show the fractions for the examples with the top number sitting on top of the bottom number. However, we’ll make sure that when we release this content as a digital download this will get sorted out.

What else would you like to see to support the teaching of place value? Let us know in the comments.

Embedded Numeracy Training: Place Value Part 2 – Estimation


Estimating and Place Value

People working in trades or vocational training often need to estimate quantities and should always estimate before using a calculator to work out an exact amount. This often requires multiplying and dividing  by 10, 100, 1000. Many trainees find this difficult. You can use your LIteracyNumeracyPro.com place value chart to develop and practice estimation skills.

Example 1

Let’s say that you need to find out the following: What is the total amount of timber needed for 220 lengths of 87.5m?

This is approximately 200 lengths of 90m. We can calculate this quickly as two lengths of 90m times 100.  Two lengths of 90m is 180m.

To find 100 lengths of 180m shift 180 two places to the left on the place value chart. This is 18000m.

Example 2

Here’s another example in a different context. What is the total amount of flour needed to bake 3150 loaves of bread at a local bakery? One loaf of bread uses 0.45kg of flour.

This is approximately 3000 loaves of roughly 0.5kg of flour each. We can calculate this quickly as three loaves of 0.5kg times 1000. Three loaves of 0.5kg is 1.5kg of flour.

To find 1000 lots of 1.5kg shift the digits three places to the left on the place value chart.

This is 1500kg.

As I said in the last post, understanding place value means understanding our number system and how it works. These examples are designed to work together with our giant Place Value Chart available from LiteracyNumeracyPro.com.Thanks once more to ALEC All-star Janet Hogan for these great examples drawn from our professional development work delivering the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (otherwise known as the NCALNE).

Any other examples or thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

Embedded Numeracy Training: Place Value Part 1 – Multiplying and Dividing by 10


Working with Place Value

Understanding place value means understanding our number system and how it works. Here’s a couple of examples that you can use or modify. These are designed to work together with our giant Place Value Chart available from LiteracyNumeracyPro.com.

Thanks to ALEC All-star Janet Hogan for these great examples that come from our professional development work delivering the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (otherwise known as the NCALNE).

Some examples you can use or modify

We’ve put together some practical examples that you can use to explain place value. Feel free to adapt these to your own particular vocational, trades, or other contexts. Included here are:

  • Multiplying and dividing by 10 and its multiples.

Multiplying and dividing by 10 and its multiples

Example 1

You may have to multiply 64.7 by 10.

It is quick and easy to reinforce the concept that as you move to the left in a number the places get bigger by a factor of 10. Therefore to multiply 64.7 by 10 move 64.7 one place to the left on the place value chart.

Example 2

Perhaps you need to divide 47 by 100.

As you move to the right the places get smaller by a factor of 10. So to divide to divide 47 by 100 move 47 two places to the right on the place value chart.

Won’t be long… and you’ll be able to order our Premium Place Value Chart from LiteracyNumeracyPro.com as well as download the free printable version to use with your learners.

Can you think of any other examples that are great for teaching using the Place Value Chart? We’d love to hear more of these from your particular context. Let us know in the comments below.