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An invitation to the Legacy of R. L. Moore/IBL conference

March 16, 2015, 9:03 am

agh3math-1060669If you’re interested in inquiry-based learning in mathematics, I highly recommend you consider attending the 18th Annual Legacy of R.L. Moore and IBL Conference in Austin, TX from June 25–27. This conference is lively and active affair with mathematics instructors from all walks of life and from all over the country coming together to talk about IBL and how to practice it in the classroom. This year’s theme is “Empowering with IBL” and promises to “highlight how inquiry-based learning gives students and instructors the space to realize their own talents”.

This year I’m on the organizing committee for this conference, although I myself am not a practitioner — at least not at the moment — of inquiry-based learning in my classrooms in the sense of using the “Moore method” (modified or otherwise). The reason I’m helping to organize this year is because I see an opportunity for the IBL community and the flipped classroom community to come together, consider our shared goals and vision, and to begin to work together. I’ve written before that I consider the flipped classroom to be a sort of operating system on which the IBL “app” can run particularly well, and I’d like to take this year to get together with the IBL people, and with you, to think about how we can move forward with a united front and make mathematics education better.

Last year when I was at Cal Poly giving a flipped classroom workshop, I was hosted by Stan Yoshinobu. Stan and I talked a lot about the shared goals of the IBL community and the flipped class community and what each group has to offer the other. One of the things that I pointed out — lamented, actually — is that flipped classroom practitioners, at least in higher ed, lack the coherent community that the IBL people have. The IBL people have the Academy of Inquiry Based Learning; they have the Moore conference; they have seed grants for IBL newbies; they have polo shirts for goodness sakes! Meanwhile, the flipped classroom is getting lots of good press and an increasing recognition as an effective normative instructional design paradigm. It seems like joining forces with the IBL community could serve both groups well. At this year’s Moore conference, we’ll have a chance to do just that.

So I encourage you, if you are either an IBL or a flipped classroom person — or would like to be one! — to make plans to attend the conference this year. There will be a session specifically for flipped course environments and IBL. Abstracts for all sessions are due by March 18 (Wednesday). Even if you don’t submit an abstract, come anyway, and there will be a lot of good conversation both formal and informal. And I have a feeling that good things could happen.

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