Nudgee College's Technology Coach Mr Joel Speranza was a finalist for an Excellence in Teaching Award through the Queensland College of Teachers.
Joel's innovation in the realm of flipped learning, as well as his leadership in the use of technology are just a few of the reasons he was nominated.
The College featured a story on Joel's flipped learning methods in the August edition of Nth Degree, which you can read below:
Over recent years, classrooms all over the world have seen dramatic changes, with the integration of new technologies to enhance learning experiences and opportunities.
St Joseph’s Nudgee College is no different, introducing its Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program in 2014, as well as transitioning to become a “Google school”.
Mathematics teacher and the College’s Technology Coach Mr Joel Speranza has taken full advantage of these changes, transforming many of his classes through a ‘flipped classroom’ method.
A flipped classroom is when the role of class time and homework is reversed; the teacher provides video explanations on different concepts for students to view in their own time, and class time is used for students to ask questions and apply the information.
“It is really about answering one question,” Joel said. “What is the best use of my face-to-face time?
“The flipped classroom takes instruction out of the class and into the home, which allows the classroom to be used as a collaborative learning space.”
In the beginning, Joel said a flipped classroom was a natural progression, enabled by the technology that became available.
“I started because a few students missed classes and were struggling to catch up with the work,” he said. “At that point, video lessons just made sense.
“The College is very supportive of innovation in teaching, allowing me to experiment with this teaching practice in my classroom, and offering the support to do so.”
Nudgee College students are certainly embracing a flipped classroom, with feedback being overwhelmingly positive.
“Students who previously struggled with Mathematics are now able to pause or rewind their teacher for the first time, and learn at their own pace,” Joel said.
This concept, as well as Joel’s application, is gaining a lot of traction in the educational community, so much so that he has been asked to provide workshops on the method to other teachers.
“I was first approached by the Queensland College of Teachers to take part in an online mentoring program for early career and new teachers interested in how technology can be used in their practice,” he said.
“During this time many new teachers expressed interest in my flipped classroom and wanted to learn more, so the Queensland College of Teachers then asked me to host a webinar explaining the flipped classroom and how teachers can use it.”
This ended up being their most popular webinar.
On 10 June, about 45 teachers from various parts of Queensland came to Nudgee College to participate in a flipped learning workshop led by Joel.
“The day was a very collaborative experience, with teachers working together in their teaching areas to brainstorm how flipped learning would work best for them,” he said.
“The workshop itself was presented in a flipped learning manner, with teachers able to watch videos on particular topics that interested them before coming back together.”
Joel said he is really excited about other teachers trying flipped learning in their own classrooms.
“It’s a relatively new practice, which means that it’s up to our current teachers to shape how flipped learning is used,” he said.
“I’m a big believer in collaboration between teachers, within school, and across other schools, as technology moves at such a rapid pace that education needs to be nimble to keep up.”
In June, Joel was named as one of the champions in the Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions program.
This program awards Champions whose stories and activities can act as a way to motivate and inspire people to explore the benefits of the digital age.