Have you ever felt the need to change your teaching or the teaching culture at your institution? Have you tried different ways of supporting students’ learning to meet the needs of future professions and knowledge society? Have you found ways to instigate change or to support your colleagues in the process?
These questions led teachers, researchers and developers across the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) to look for solutions. Large-scale development started in 2016, when Flipped Classroom, i.e. ‘flipping’, was chosen as a strategic tool for the change. The goal of flipping is to better embed the ideas of socio-constructivist thinking and technology into teaching practices, while improving flexibility in learning. The trick in flipping is that it strongly supports student-centeredness, while containing familiar teacher-centered practices for teachers. This is utmost important when working with educators from various disciplines towards the goal of Flipped Learning. Since 2016, 100 teachers, i.e. ‘Flippers’, have participated in a one-year development project, during which they have reconstructed their courses, developed curricular practices and taught around 8,000 students. Working together with peers across disciplines and support given by our Team Ameba* has enabled productive change in teaching and learning. Both teacher and student research are conducted to further improve teaching, learning and learning environments.
Finnish higher education institutions are dealing with similar questions and challenges. Currently, we are working with other universities on a research project where flipping and Flipped Learning are implemented to their practices. It’s not just us, it’s Flipping Finland!
* Team Ameba is a multidisciplinary research team of learning environments at UEF. Its members specialize in various aspects of learning and teaching in higher education, as well as in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education and learning environments. For more information, please visit http://www.uef.fi/en/ameba/team.
Authors: Erkko Sointu, Laura Hirsto, Teemu Valtonen, Markku Saarelainen, Jenni Kankaanpää, Jyri Manninen, Päivi Atjonen, Kati Mäkitalo, Lasse Heikkinen, Anna Kaasinen, Antti Ronkainen, and Virve Pekkarinen