— Errol St.Clair Smith–
You might be put off by the title of the best selling book, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t. But look past the cover and you’ll find a surprisingly helpful book that explains why this issue of Flipped Learning Review is very special.
Twelve months ago six people made a commitment to start a radically different magazine about Flipped Learning. Different because it would not be:
An academic journal – FLR was created to reach a wider community of readers.
A random collection of drive-by blog posts – FLR started with a clear editorial point of view, themes for each issue, a cohesive mission, and a defined destination.
A conventional education publication – FLR cautioned readers to expect to find the UNexpected.
A collection of “publish or perish” papers. (You know what we mean.)
We envisioned FLR as a digital monthly magazine about:
Cultivating and clarifying the conversation around Flipped Learning at the highest levels.
Connecting the voices of the most thoughtful and innovative members of the global Flipped Learning community. (That would be you.)
Connecting the dots between the old-school flipped classroom (1.0) and the Flipped Learning 3.0 occurring in leading-edge classrooms and universities all around the world.
Collaborating globally to model and showcase the possibilities of synergistic collaboration across disciplines, school districts, states, and countries.
Clarifying and critiquing ideas and practices because criticism is the antidote to groupthink and the portal to new possibilities.
Cross-pollinating ideas to create new innovations, next practices, and greater impact.
Celebrating those who are moving Flipped Learning forward. ( You’re reading this, so that means you.)
When Vision Meets Reality
Writing articles while knowing that no one may read them, requires a unique kind of commitment. Candidly, if FLR reached a few hundred readers a month most of the columnists would have been delighted. As it turned out, FLR reached 74,679 readers over the last year. The average reader viewed 18.79 pages per visit and the magazine racked up 739,356 page views in the past 365 days.
Most of FLR readers are in the United States followed by Australia, Spain, Great Britan, Italy, and Turkey. But the big promise of a digital magazine is the possibility of global distribution –FLR did not disappoint. FLR found its way to readers in Sweeden, Norway, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, and 83 other countries around the world.
Behind all of these numbers are real people. Educators who are passionate about Flipped Learning and are trying to make flipped classrooms work wherever they are. Most are flipping in relative isolation — many without support from peers or school leadership.
Small Things, Big Possibilities
As we dedicate this anniversary issue to the small things that can make a big difference, it’s a good time to acknowledge the small group of writers behind FLR. They have collaborated every month for the past year to connect Flipped Learning educators around the world through this magazine.
In their “spare time” Terra Graves, Dan Jones, Thomas Mennella, and Jon Bergmann have churned out thoughtful and practical articles every 30 days. Through tough semesters, difficult classes, school changes, job changes, family disruptions, health scares, and just plain weariness, this small group of columnists has consistently shared their time, experience and insights. We pause to acknowledge them and thank each one for their invaluable contribution to the global community. In other words, Whoot! Whoot!
But we find the big takeaways in how FLR columnists routinely describe the experience. To be sure, each one has confessed to feeling overwhelmed at times by the monthly commitment and firm deadlines. But they all typically follow by talking about how much they get out of the process, how much they’ve professionally grown, how proud they are of the publication, and most of all, how much they love the team we’ve all become.
Finding Your People
Like many of you, I’ve spent over a decade in education feeling isolated, and unsupported while trying to push new ideas uphill. Almost every creative initiative is predictably pulled down or vehemently resisted by the champions of the status quo. Sisyphus in the house!
But what a difference yes people make. Words are incapable of explaining how finding the right small group changes everything. Simply said, it’s invigorating and energizing to work with “yes” people versus:
“I don’t think that will work” people
“We’ve always done it this way” people
“I think what we are doing is good enough” people
“My way or the highway” people
When you find your yes people, you’ll find a new world of exciting possibilities. What was previously unthinkable and undoable becomes “Why not? Let’s try it!” It turns out that the simple shift in mindset that comes from being surrounded by “yes” people can lead to unimaginably great things. So allow me to suggest the single most significant “small thing” you can do to substantially increase the quality of your classroom, your career, and your life:
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” – Edmund Lee
How? Find a Flipped Learning small group online, take on an audacious global project, and start working on something outside of your comfort zone.
Time to Level Up
As we go into the second year of publishing FLR, the cohort of columnists and editors are taking on a new challenge — onboarding new columnist to the FLR tribe. This month you’ll read pieces from a fresh cadre of new writers:
The Little Things Matter by Peter Santoro
Flipped Learning: How to Keep It Simple by Steve Griffiths
Let Talk About Flipping the Arts by George Hess
As you read the pieces in this issue, consider that all of them were written by people just like you with overwhelming full-time jobs, family commitments, financial pressures, demanding lives, careers, and classrooms.
So let’s keep it real… changing the world is a lot harder to do than it is to say. But Margaret Mead said it best:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Errol St.Clair Smith