Category: gaming

Typically, when you hear the term “flipped classroom,” you may think of K-12 education. But flipping also works for the training classroom.

In this post, I’ll be covering what flipping a classroom basically means, some of the technology that can be used in creating flipped classes, and what this means to trainers looking to integrate these ideas into their classrooms.

First, let’s look at the basics of what goes into a Flipped Classroom
The official definition of a flipped classroom, as determined by is

“Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

This is a lengthy definition–but don’t let this scare you off of flipped learning!

The main thrust of the flipped classroom idea is to have learners spending more time actively doing rather than passively listening.

It’s using class time for more active learning activities.

In the typical flipped classroom, introductory material and rote activities meant to achieve lower level learning objectives are moved to “homework” and done outside the classroom prior to the class session.

This frees up class time for more interactive higher-level learning activities instead of lecturing and low-level quizzes. It also allows for immediate feedback through mentoring/coaching during activities that more closely simulate desired performance.

Obviously, there are times that it simply isn’t possible to have learners work outside of the classroom. This may be caused by a lack of technology available for all learners or, in many corporate and business cases, much of the materials may be proprietary. Also, training is often paid as hourly wages and needs to be in a controlled environment.
For these cases, we have what is known as “faux flipping”.

With “faux flipping,” the same use of technology happens. Learners are introduced to topics and provided with knowledge checks via video, audio recordings, online texts, online quizzes, etc., except that the computers being used are in the training classroom environment.

With the use of technology, this still frees up the instructor’s time and energy for more active and higher level learning activities, mentoring, and coaching. Continuing with the theme of technology being used, let’s focus on the specific types of technology that are generally turned to when flipping learning. As I mentioned earlier, technology’s main role in the flipped classroom is to take on the lower level learning activities, freeing up the instructor’s time and energy for higher-level ones.

You may be wondering what I mean by “lower-level” or “higher-level”. Let’s look at Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid.


Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid (from Wikipedia Commons)

On the pyramid, the lower level learning activities have to do with simply understanding and remembering with some application. These activities can be handled simply through online technologies that we already have.

Higher level learning has to do with analyzing, evaluating, and creating—the problem-solving abilities many of our learners will be called upon to demonstrate in their jobs. The aim of the flipped classroom is to focus our learners’ time with the instructor on the types of activities that support the upper levels of the pyramid.

Those in academic circles have spent quite a bit of time exploring the best technologies to promote each level of Bloom’s.


The Padagogy Wheel developed by Allan Carrington of the University of Adelaide

Some of you might have seen the above graphic which shows “padagogy”.

Don’t worry—I’m not suggesting you should integrate all of these technologies. I simply wanted to show that there are tons of options available for those who are looking for tools to help flip their classrooms.

From personal experience, observation, and reading, it appears that the main tools used for classroom flipping are:

  1. Video and screen capture—Camtasia, Captivate, Storyline, Jing, SnagIt, etc
  2. Online texts—pdfs are the main version but also epub, mobi, etc.
  3. Web-based interactive content—could be modules created with Captivate or Storyline but can be as advanced as mini virtual environments created with Unreal, Unity, OpenSim, etc.
  4. Learning Management Systems that have options for forums for peer learning and quizzing.
  5. Simulations—these can be simple screen capture-based simulations or more advanced virtual reality using the platforms previously mentioned, or augmented reality using something like Aurasma or tools such as Google cardboard (lower cost) or Microsoft Hololens (higher cost).


So, you’re thinking—this is great for academia but what does it mean to those of us outside of education?

If you think about it, you very well may already be using many of these strategies and tools in your training strategies.

As many of you may have experienced, the typical training classroom often follows the same pattern of the classical academic classroom—lots of lecture in front of a board or PowerPoint with learners passively listening or, if the instructor’s lucky, taking a few notes.

In training that already incorporates web-based modules, many are already doing something of a “faux flipping” without intending to.

In these cases, programs are already incorporating more video, web-based training and quizzing, and screencasts. When these are used, it ideally opens up more time for trainers to spend on simulations, role-play scenarios, and problem-based learning activities.

To continue moving towards more flipped learning, focus should be shifted towards the idea of trainers being mentors and coaches and design activities accordingly.

Use video and web-based training for introducing concepts and for rote learning.

Use web-based quizzing and gamelets for review, knowledge checks, and immediate feedback.

Move to better use instructor-led training time for higher level activities such as role-plays and simulations.

Encourage more learning communities amongst peer groups using technologies the business already possesses/has access to (this could be something like the proprietary Pebble groups, Office 365 group tools, private FaceBook groups, Skype for Business Online, and Adobe Connect.)

To wrap up, while we may not have set out to create flipped classrooms in our training environments, many are already moving to do just that. Continuing to work on using technology for low-level knowledge and comprehension building will allow trainers more time and focus to use their years of expertise mentoring new hires in higher level problem-based activities, more similar to what they’re expected to do every day in their new positions. While the development and organization may take more effort on the front end–the payoffs in better prepared new hires in a shorter amount of training time could more than make up for it.  Happy flipping!



I kid around a lot about being somewhat dangerous when left with too much time to wander around the interwebs while waiting on things to digitize/download/upload/rez/etc at work. Every now and again, though, I manage to find something that I find useful and entertaining. When I immediately see the promise of something and it’s fun, we get into the realm known as the “squee factor”–and yes, I let out a squee when I learned about HabitRPG from this article on Kinja.

HabitRPG is a free online program that gamifies your to-do list. There is a subscription version (for 5 dollars per month) for more goodies, but so far, I’ve found that for most students, the free version would probably be fine. How does it gamify your to-do list and habits?  Once you sign up for HabitRPG, you can outfit your character or avatar. Below is an image of mine now at level 30.

Habit RPG avatar

Habit RPG avatar

HabitRPG uses basic motivators from gamification to help hook users into the “game” and prompt them to get things done on their to-do list, while building good habits (or lessening negative ones). XP, leveling, health meters, badges, rewards, pets, mounts, quests, parties, guilds and the like can all be found in HabitRPG. Need people to be accountable to or a cheering section to get you going? Join a guild. Like collecting items through quests and drops? There are questlines and pets (as well as the foods and saddles to “raise” them into mounts). The creators have made a great set of tutorial videos and, better than me re-explaining how the program works, I’m embedding them below.


I’ve been playing with the system for a bit over a month now and I’m still finding new tricks to use to better organize my lists. I can’t say that the program has suddenly made me into a perfectly organized individual but, there has been a handful of times that the reminders (red-colored alerts) have prompted me to do something I’d been putting off or I did something extra to get that last bit of gold needed for a piece of armor. Bottom line, it’s a fun way to keep yourself accountable and I think students, especially the gamer crowd, might get a few grins using it as well.

See you out on the grid!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the first meeting of the fall semester of the Video Game Development Club (VGDC) here on campus.  First, as an aside, Shelby Hall is gorgeous and any excuse to visit is a good one!

President Joshua Dunn (Junior IS major) led the meeting by first having the club sponsor, CS instructor Howard Whitston, and the other officers introduce themselves then presented a bit about what the club would be doing.  I quickly realized that this is not a club for lurkers (which is great!).  Just as the title suggests, the group will actually be designing and developing games!  Teams will be formed with group members of varying talents and strengths.  The idea is that the team, over the course of a month, will design and develop a game using the Unreal gaming engine or Unity3D.  The club will be working towards levels/badges on the One Game a Month challenge site.  Lessons gleaned from one project can be used to hone skills and make future projects better. For those of us in education who want a boots on the ground experience in learning real-time development of games to match the book knowledge, this is perfect. :)

Interested in playing a part of this growing club?  Follow the group on Twitter and Facebook, or contact president Joshua Dunn for an invite to the Sakai project site (you must have a USA Sakai account to join).  And who knows?  In the near future when a student asks if you’ve “got game?,” you can answer “YES!”

(Originally posted on the South Alabama Gaming Educators (SAGE) blog.)

It’s been much too long since I’ve chronicled here.  Since mulling over adding some attractions to Caledon Sound, I was curious as to the subject–what games do Caledonians play?  I set out to find some locations with regular or ongoing activities.

The first location I visited is high over Caledon Prime.  Every Friday night, Duke AV Parabola and crew host Primtionary, a game where players build “clues” to the titles of books, movies, events, etc.  (Think charades but with prims instead of gestures.)

Primtionary over Caledon Prime

For those who like exploring and shop style hunts, they can fly a few sims south of Caledon Prime to find the Caledon Quest in Caledon Oxbridge University.  Questers start off in the Hall of Caledon on the Oxbridge campus, but quickly find themselves following clues to locations all over the nation, ending up in the skies over Middlesea dodging air kraken.

Caledon Quest Starting Area at the Hall of Caledon
Not far from the Oxbridge campus, in Oxbridge Village, the Oxbridge Fencing Club caters to those who want to hone their swashbuckling skills.  Using the En Garde gaming system, mentors and champions help beginners learn the finer skills of the game while working their way up the ranks in the En Garde system.  The Club also has an in-world group to arrange tourneys and team activities.
Inside the Oxbridge Fencing Club
You’ll need firepower more than sword skills in the skies below Middlesea’s Iron Cloud.  Kraken hunting has become infamous in the sim.  Kill enough kraken and your name will appear on the leader board in the Iron Cloud lobby.  (The sim has avatar flight turned off, so vehicle flight is required–may want to bring a partner to navigate the skies while you blast a few tentacled critters from the aethers.)
Kraken Lurking below the Iron Cloud Airbase
(photo taken by Wrath Constantine)
Finally, for those who prefer a more leisurely pursuit, full of pets and prizes, there are multiple locations in Caledon that offer 7Seas Fishing.  To catch best fish and custom prizes, you’ll need a pro rod and bait–these are usually available at vendors at the fishing sites.  I have fishing set up in both Caledon Sound and Caledon Speirling at Tempest’s Point.  Kitiwickshire Fishing Supply is also listed on the 7Seas website as having customs (in this case, a Jaeger Duck!), but there are many unlisted locations–just wander around and you’ll probably find some fishing holes.
Aev's Gone a tiny
A Wee Pink Jaguar Fishes from the Tempest’s Point Dock.
(Originally posted on the Caledon Memoirs blog.)

Fall semester 2013 started off Monday here at the University of South Alabama.  Just started and I already feel like I’m behind (and I’m only taking one hour of dissertation!)  My brain’s rather in a muddle, so here’s just a few things I have on my mind currently…

Tours will start from Jaguarland next week–I still have to figure out the exact themes and dates and, of course, I need to update all of the info in the Bay Boat to correspond correctly with the College of Education website.

On the upside, I need to send out big congrats to my guildies in the Inevitable Betrayal educators guild in World of Warcraft–over the past couple of weeks, they’ve snagged a handful of guild achieves for raids, questing, and fishing–so yay!  (Maybe once I get this dissertation proposal passed by my committee, I can rejoin the group and start slooowwwwly leveling my little characters once again.)

I’m still a bit disappointed to hear about Disney closing down several of its virtual worlds/games.  Toontown, Fairytopia and Pirates of the Caribbean Online are all going.

I actually really enjoyed those and felt pretty safe letting my nephews play them, so I wonder what will be coming down the pipeline, if anything.