If a classroom can be flipped to make better use of time and group processes, why are we not flipping more things?
I’ve spent three days in Austin attending a conference in the same model going back how Ook ran them in 2500 BC.
Rooms with front lecterns, screens full o’ powerpoint, partially full of passive participants mostly reading email or facebooking, badges, Big Name Keynotes, vendor booths, they only critical missing piece was the Dreaded Conference Chicken.
A lot of us acknowledge this irony of traveling long and far to ignore someone in the front of the room, that the best interactions happen in the breaks and the evening socials, the stuff that is not part of the agenda– then (excuse what might be an expletive) WHY THE F*** DO YOU PLAN THE LARGEST PORTION OF PROFESSIONAL GATHERING TIME FOR THE LEAST USEFUL ACTIVITIES?
I am not the first one to ponder this, here is the same question from a conference planning blog (published in September 2010)- or a dude offering consulting (buy the book! hire me to flip your conference) —
a compelling critique of the limitations of traditional conferences and a complete road map to creating more effective alternatives.
When Karl Fisch was cited for flipping, he told Daniel Pink:
“When you do a standard lecture in class, and then the students go home to do the problems, some of them are lost. They spend a whole lot of time being frustrated and, even worse, doing it wrong,â€ Fisch told me.
â€œThe idea behind the videos was to flip it. The students can watch it outside of class, pause it, replay it, view it several times, even mute me if they want,â€ says Fisch, who emphasises that he didnâ€™t come up with the idea, nor is he the only teacher in the country giving it a try. â€œThat allows us to work on what we used to do as homework when Iâ€™m theyâ€™re to help students and theyâ€™re there to help each other.â€
Why cannot we do this for conferences? All of that content stuff that we fill up the agenda with- presentations, videos, talks, can be done before the event, and we can use the bulk fo the time for the stuff that counts- discussion, debates, conversations– in fact, I’d like to go to a conference where we get to do something, make something, instead of talking about doing things, or showing pictures of people making something.
In the Telegraph article on Flip-Thinking, Pink goes right to the big idea (my edits in bold):
When he puts it like that, you want to slap your forehead at the ideaâ€™s inexorable logic. You wonder why more
schools[conferences] arenâ€™t doing it this way. Thatâ€™s the power of flipping. It melts calcified thinking and leads to solutions that are simple to envision and to implement.
This has certainly been done- it is the structure they run the K-12 Online Conference.
Why cant a conference be flipped?
What do we have to lose, besides the chicken?