MEF University | Turkey |http://www.mef.edu.tr/en
How does your current role allow you to make a difference to the education and learning space?
I am in the unique position of being the founding rector of a new university – MEF University. MEF is the first and only fully flipped university in the world. MEF was established in 2012. Then, in 2013, I was appointed with the remit of finding a totally new approach to education that would suit the needs of today’s students; students who were born into a world where technology is omnipresent. As I searched for an appropriate educational model, flipped learning started to emerge as a suitable candidate. After much investigation, discussion, and focus groups with students, the decision was made to open MEF as a fully flipped university. As such, work started on finding the best location for the university, active learning classrooms were designed and built, a digital library was set up, and a recording and post-production studio were put in place. All of this was underpinned with the opening of the Research Center for Best Practices in Learning and Teaching, which was established to support the development of flipped learning for instructors and students. Since then, five years have passed, and we have seen many successes based on the flipped model. Aside from our student successes, the greatest honour took place this year with MEF being awarded the Eric Mazur Flipped Learning Award for its advances in flipped learning. MEF was also appointed as the inaugural charter institution for flipped learning by the Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences. Furthermore, MEF was invited to be the flipped learning consultant on a one-million-Euro-funded Erasmus+ project. MEF is also regularly approached by other institutions from around the world requesting our support to flip their learning. As such, I am proud to be leading the development of flipped learning at university level both in Turkey and the world.
What are the key trends you believe have the power to transform the way we learn?
I believe there are four key trends that have the power to transform the way we learn. These are flipped, adaptive, digital and active learning. Flipped learning is transforming education by taking information transfer out of the classroom via technologies. Instructors turn the lecture part of their classes into videos and upload them onto learning management systems, along with quizzes, discussion boards and supporting materials. Students then engage with these materials prior to class so that they are prepared with the information they need to put that information into practice. This means class time is freed up for student-centered, active learning where students are involved in practical, authentic activities in which they practise and demonstrate their learning. Thus, the students are transformed from passive to active learners. While flipped learning has the power to transform students from passive to active learners, digital and adaptive technologies have the power to individualise learning. The key to true learning is Mastery learning, whereby each student fully comprehends a concept before moving on to the next. This can be done by providing differentiation for students. However, this is challenging for instructors, as they need to have a detailed understanding of the level of each of their students. However, digital and adaptive learning overcomes this. When digital platforms are incorporated into the learning process, each student is provided with their own learning path. Algorithms work out what level each student is at and make recommendations for them to return to certain chapters or videos if they have not understood. Furthermore, students who understand the concepts quickly are taken to a more advanced level so that they remain challenged. Thus, I believe that flipped and active learning coupled with digital and adaptive learning have the power to transform how effectively our students learn.
Why is it important for all players in the EdTech ecosystem to continuously connect, network and learn from each other?
As we have seen at MEF University, rapid advances are taking place not only in our understanding of educational approaches, but also through new technologies that are transforming the educational landscape. It is imperative that educational institutions stay ahead of these advances if they wish to continue providing the most effective and up-to-date education to their students. This will only happen if institutions connect, network and share those experiences so that we can learn from our collective challenges, developments and successes.
What should the rest of the world learn about EdTech innovation in your country?
Like MEF, there are many new educational institutions currently opening in Turkey. This puts them in an advantageous position when it comes to the incorporation of technology into their education. Instead of trying to shoehorn technologies into old educational systems, these new institutions are able to strategically plan their learning experiences to incorporate these technologies right from the start. It also means that these institutions are investing in the latest technologies with the best learning capabilities for their students. As Jean Paul Getty famously said, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy”. For these new institutions, establishing themselves now in today’s educational landscape is an advantage.
When you think about joining London EdTech Week and EdTechXEurope Summit this year, what are you looking forward to?
I am particularly looking forward to meeting other thought leaders, innovators and influencers in higher education in Europe, to share and hear their perspectives on advances in learning and teaching.
Who would you like to meet at the event?
I would like to meet other educational leaders who, like me, are transforming their institutions through flipped, adaptive, digital and active learning.
Join Muhammed and our 150+ thought leader speakers at EdTechXEurope 2019 on 18 June 2019 - reserve your place now >>