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Comments from Catherine Henderson

The 2014 edition of the K-12 NMC Horizon report supports your statement regarding the
professional development needs of teachers, citing outdated pedagogies and teaching materials
as essential to adequate instructional supports (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman,
2014). Several programs, including embedded training, a peer-evaluation protocol, master
teachers, STEM-focused training, a summer training institute, professional learning
communities, team teaching and one-on-one coaching have been effective in assisting teachers
implementing project- based learning (Vega, 2012). The keys to well-designed project-based
learning are preparation, planning and collaboration. This is true for other models such as
hybrid learning and specifically flipped learning.
You noted that project-based learning and flipped classrooms will work well in your school. I
agree. However, in my experience, good planning has helped me to avoid implementing flipped
lesson without the necessary supports for accountability. For example, I use Playposit (formerly
known as eduCanon) to embed questions and assess student learning during videos. I was able
to integrate this tool as an Edmodo application. Jon Bergmann, a flipped class pioneer, offers
several tips such as interactive assessments and quizzes for increased accountability when
implementing the flipped classroom (Edutopia, 2014). Although these strategies make it possible
to effectively flip a middle school classroom, it is very helpful to collaborate with parents and
other stakeholders to insure the success of this instructional model. Parents are particularly
relieved to have access to the background information for assignments. Bergmann & Sams
(2014) observe that parents can watch the flipped class videos to learn techniques that may be
different from the way that they learned.
You post highlights key points about the flipped classroom and project-based learning models
while posing important questions about the effectiveness of game-based learning. Researchers
have concluded that gamification interventions must target specific processes (such as increased
time-on-task) if their goal is to affect learning (Landers & Landers, 2014). Although educators
and trainers have noted the motivational qualities of games, the pedagogical implications of
using games to improve cognitive processes or the transfer to external tasks is not as strong as
the drive to engage in games (Tobias, Fletcher, & Wind, 2014). In light of the limited research
that focuses on or supports any correlation between game-based learning and gains in content
knowledge you posed a valid question that should be answered before implementing game-based
learning alongside research-based strategies.
Works Cited
Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2014, December 18). Flipped-learning toolkit. Retrieved 15 June,
2016, from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/video/flipped-learning-toolkit
Edutopia. (2014, November 4). The Flipped Class: Overcoming Common Hurdles [Video File].
Retrieved June 15, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwvXFlLQClU

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014
K-12 Edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.
Landers, R. N., & Landers, A. K. (2014). An empirical test of the the theory of gamified
learning: The effect of Leaderboards and Time-on-Task and Academic Performance. Simulation
& Gaming , 45 (6), 769-785.
Tobias, S., Fletcher, D. J., & Wind, A. P. (2014). Game-based learning. In J. Spector, M. Merrill,
J. Elen, & M. Bishop, Handbook of Research on Educational Communicatoins and Technology
(pp. 485-504). New York, N.Y.: Springer.
Vega, V. (2012, May 15). Research-Supported PBL Practices. Retrieved June 20, 2016, from
Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-project-based-learning-best-practices-new-tech-research