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Over the past few years we’ve watched Web 2.0 tools begin to enter the classroom at a rapid pace. Many of these tools are valuable, however, they have only acted as a digital channel to the same curriculums we’ve been teaching. What does this mean? We haven’t changed the way students learn or engage, we’ve only changed the way they access education with tools like iTunes U, Khan Academy, etc. Then we have the concept of the ‘flipped classroom.’ The flipped classroom has many definitions but Bill Tucker at EducationNext says it best: “…the core idea is to flip the common instructional approach: With teacher-created videos and interactive lessons, instruction that used to occur in class is now accessed at home, in advance of class. Class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning. Most importantly, all aspects of instruction can be rethought to best maximize the scarcest learning resource—time.” The best way to flip the classroom is by incorporating open innovation and crowdsourcing technologies into the learning process. Imagine classrooms where students ask questions or pose challenges to one another using their phones. Other students are able to submit answers to these questions and collectively decide who’s right. Teachers are then able to take a step back from lecturing to help facilitate the ongoing online discussion. Students ask a question, other students answer, and the teacher moderates the discussion. We have just created a self-sufficient, democratic classroom that empowers students within the learning process. Here’s how simple it is to setup an Icon instance. Visit http://icon.spigit.com Enter your e-mail address and click ‘Sign up’ Click the link sent to your e-mail and complete the registration process Invite your students/co-workers (on same e-mail domain*) Here’s some ideas to get started: Prepopulate questions that are relevant to the discussion for the day. Let the students come up with ideas for prom (i.e. theme, venue, etc.) Let students submit challenges or questions that would like answered by the administration. On the district level, use Icon to let teachers community challenges and ideas to school administrators. We’re actively researching new use cases for Icon in education. If you’re interested in sharing your ideas or examples, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. Our goal is to help change education for the better using the technologies that have made us successful in the private sector. (*Next month users will not need to be on the same e-mail domain to collaborate).