The education team of the 60-year-old Xinmin educational team is trying to build its goal of holistic education with humanities and culture education as its core, placing emphasis on its visions of “elaboration,” “vitality,” “innovation,” and “excellence.” Here in Xinmin, we provide students with the “read with joy and grow with happiness” program, which contains a certification process that promotes the idea of learning through reading in order to stimulate them to start reading on their own. We have also established two other certification programs for learning called “cultivate your specialty for life” and “an omnipotent student” that might open students’ mind and lead them to holistic development. In recent years one has seen the impacts of ”declining birth rate,” and in response to the predicament, Xinmin is avid to promote “elaborate and quality education.” In order to achieve our elaborate and exceptional goal of school education, we not only convert the school into an AI smart campus and equip it with “technological” equipment, but also accentuate the “bilingual class” that focuses on the intellectual intelligence of humanities and culture, integrating music and arts courses that stress “aesthetics” and the ideas of international education.
Shocked by the wave of new technologies, the education team of Xinmin came to realize that flipped and innovative teaching can only be made possible with the help of technologies in a smart classroom. To achieve this, our administrative staff and teachers have systematically visited elementary schools in Taipei City and New Taipei City and learned from them. Xinmin began cultivating its own seeding teachers and sent them to mainland China to participate in the Invitational Competition of Smart Classroom. They are now Xinmin’s mainstay seeding teachers and the school is planning to train a whole slew of seeding teachers in the future.
Xinmin has begun establishment of smart classrooms and introduced the Team Model system since 2016. In a year, the school’s 32 classrooms have all gone smart, with their 80-inch touch LED screens, along with IRS and LBT systems. By 2018, each classroom has its own cloud platform, including clouDAS the diagnostic and analytic system, the flipped class, and the AClass ONE smart schoolmate. Remarkably, the Xinmin team has accumulated approximately 800 teaching videos in just two months, which can serve as the best data for the Socrates analytic system.
As the steering wheel of the school, it has always been my persuasion that empowering teachers will highlight their specialty, sovereignty, and professional knowledge as well as enhances their ability to think critically. Therefore, every teacher who teaches in a smart classroom for at least a year and engaged in dozens of team workshops will be granted the chance to be a member of the Xinmin TEAM Model TEACHER (TMT.)
After several time-consuming workshops, teachers now enter the stage of practical facets of teaching: The collective lesson preparation, the design and making of teaching material, trial teachings, class recording, class observation, lesson discussion, reflection, and postmortem. Teachers will, after these herculean endeavors, be able to construct their own competence and abilities to take over the reins of the smart classroom and use their knowledge to show their teaching styles. They will have the chance to lend quality to Xinmin’s Team Model Teacher (TMT.)
“According to the former deputy secretary of education of America, the most urgent tasks of today’s world don’t even exist ten years ago. Looking back at Taiwan, there are at least two-thirds of teachers who still use the knowledge and methods they acquired ten years ago to teach students. This is utterly unacceptable!”
According to the quote, experts think that teachers are accustomed to teaching their students with the outdated mindset and methods they acquired ten year ago. Students of such teacher often get bored in class. Therefore, if teachers wish to “hear no yawn during class,” they will have to change their teaching styles. Teachers who wish to guide students’ thoughts must think of a way to flip their teaching. Use the following four tips to flip the classroom: I. Google Connected Classroom: Students should know how to use Google to learn and interact with knowledge from different disciplines online periodically. II. Google Books: Students should know how to use Google to read online. III. MOOC, Massive Open Online Course: Teachers should conduct online teaching via cloud technology. IV. Flipped Classroom: Students can preview their lesson online, work together studying (students can sometimes be the teacher), and exchange thoughts after class. A conclusion can be made that cloud technology, such as the one Google provides, is an integral element in future education. Its impact on the future of education is never to be overlooked. In short, to flip the education as a whole is to challenge cloud technology.
Ruminating the future of education, I can’t help wondering whether if it will be free from the “shadow” of cloud technology such as Google, especially at a time that is already filled with the “specter” or “ghost” of the AI big data. Several experts in education point out that in the face of the challenge, interdisciplinary collaboration and contribution are required to realize the educational ideas of “teaching students in accordance with their aptitude” and the “adaptive development.” This is especially true with the advent of the era of the big data. Some experts claim that there are three basic abilities that students in the future must learn and will definitely have the chance to use them, which are ”the ability to read, search, and discern.”2 This statement may be a simplified version of the truth; however, it raises the question: What is the purpose of education? In the future, teachers are slated to encounter an even greater challenge and they will have to do more than just teaching, telling, and helping.
As to solving problems of education in the Big Data Era, Jim Sun, a parent and an entrepreneur of a technology start-up, suggests we must use the three possibilities of big data to alter the face of education in the future: I. Record and analyze the learning process: Recording students’ learning in a digital manner. II. Record and analyze the teaching process: Saving teachers’ teaching in classes to facilitate the following analysis. III. Record and analyze the evaluation and tests: Increase the effectiveness of evaluation via digital system as well as the big data that can be analyzed (as referred in note 2).
Tackling the looming problems of education in the Big Data Era, Xinmin has finished establishing the software and hardware for the school to transform to a smart school. The education team of Xunmin has also launched “Ride on the Wave: The Smart Curriculums Program,” which contains a five-stage smart teaching workshop and certification process. The program encompasses teaching processes such as collective lesson preparation, teaching, class recording, class observation, and lesson discussion. From 2018, the school has implemented the Socrates analytic system that collects teachers’ teaching content and materials. The collected information will be put into the big data and analyzed via self-evaluation, mutual-evaluation, and lesson discussions by experts.
To create the possibilities of implementing flipped education, we use smart classrooms to represent the mode of the “ride on wave” voyage of learning that entails preparing, pending, setting out, riding on wave, breaking wave, anchoring, and harvesting to fulfill teaching scenario with “the five elements (motive, focus, coherence, effectiveness, enthusiasm)” in smart teaching. I. The “motive” of technology: Using IRS and IPDA to strengthen the learning motive. II. Evoking students “focus” with competitions. III. Building a team collaboration atmosphere for students to stay “coherent”: Employing team learning to build a coherent atmosphere of teamwork. IV. The “effectiveness” of the real-time response of performance evaluation: Using technologies such as IRS and IPAD to conduct practices and performance evaluations in class to get real-time responses and realize the effectiveness of remedial teaching. V. The “enthusiasm” to participate and share: Evoke students’ passion and drive to share with team interaction, collaboration, and feedback.
To create the possibilities of implementing the flipped education, we have implemented the Socrates analytic system since August 2018 and started training faculty how to use IES to record the teaching process on the cloud. When school began, we embarked on tasks such as the lesson design and collective preparation, videotaping of teaching, class observation, and lesson discussion in full swing. We hope that we will be able to record and analyze every detail and keep track of all of the students’ learning behaviors, including learning, reciting, taking notes, doing homework, taking tests, experimenting, and discussion. In the meanwhile, we’d want to record and analyze teachers’ complete teaching process and increase the diversity and effectiveness of students’ evaluation and practices via a digital evaluation system. We hope to create a big data for the school that can be analyzed by these digital operations and recordings. By the end of October, we have received around 1,000 pieces of information.
We are aware of the efforts and hard work of the faculty as they spend time recording their teaching and as they try to learn how to use the Socrates system to analyze information. After convening several meetings with teachers from different grades, I have generalized opinions our teachers have when reflecting on the teaching practices. These opinions are, in fact, more like doubts and mists that are waiting for thorough scrutiny and resolution.
“We have a very tight teaching schedule and preparing IRS or IPAD for students is a rather time-consuming process that can delay our teaching progress.”
“The IRS and IPAD are just cold and lack the temperature of the actual teaching by a teacher.”
“For classes that demand more rules, using IRS or IPAD makes the situation worse. The chaos and agitation sure have their toll on our teaching progress.”
“The seat arrangement for the learning group makes some students have to turn their head back to see the blackboard. This will damage their necks in the long run.”
“Private schools tend to have a tighter schedule and are not a suitable candidate for smart classroom videotaping and the Socrates analytic system.”
Judging from the responses we see in the many meetings and discussions, it is clear that doubts and confusion are prevalent among our faculty. They are just like mists stealthily shrouding Xinmin. Our minds should be focusing on how to dissipate this mist. Maybe we have to go back and re-examine our curriculum arrangement and figure out how to expel the “mist” while we “ride on the wave” so that we can “break the wave” and sail smoothly. Finally, it is our hope that our team will face the ordeal together, navigate the ship out of the mist, find a wonderful harbor to “anchor,” and finally “harvest” the fruit of this educational voyage.