Principals' Corner: Transitioning to the i2Flex School Culture

Principals' Corner: Transitioning to the i2Flex School Culture

MaryAnn Augoustatos (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece) and Catherine Makropoulos (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0267-8.ch012
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Abstract

This chapter presents and discusses the fundamentals of the i2Flex teaching methodology from the perspective of the elementary and middle school principals. First, the Elementary School Principal (Ms. Makropoulos) will present how she has set the groundwork for students and faculty to embrace this new paradigm shift in the teaching and learning at American Community Schools (ACS) Athens. Then, the Middle School Principal (Ms. Augoustatos) presents and discusses the two-year implementation process of the i2Flex methodology of instruction.
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Leading The Elementary School Path Towards I2flex

Observing young learners today, it is evident that traditional ways of gathering information is something of the past. Nowadays, children are engaged in (to use a better word than engrossed) in technology. They seem to have the answers to any question just by pressing the enter button on their device. How challenging has this become in educational institutions? According to Monkman as sited in Stromquist (2002) globalization has brought change in economics, culture and formal schooling. What kinds of shifts are required in the traditional classroom setting? These are questions that we have come to face in the 21st century. Acknowledging there is a need for change in the traditional educational setting is evident. The bigger question becomes what kinds of shifts are being made in leadership to discover a new learning design that will develop student learning, and move it forward?

At ACS Athens we believe genuine life learning takes place when learning is meaningful. Our vision is: Empowering individuals to transform the world as architects of their own learning. Students, under the correct guidance, take ownership of their learning as they further process and develop it. This practice allows students to discover more about themselves and their learning style. A model which incorporates face-to-face instruction, personalized learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, facilitated by technology is reflected in the i2Flex methodology aims to improve educational opportunities offered to our student body to ultimately optimize the learning outcomes. It provides individualized learning opportunities on a broader scale supported by means of technology in different grades and subject areas (Avgerinou, Gialamas, & Tsoukia, 2014).

This i2Flex model is currently being used in the middle and high schools at ACS Athens. While preparing our students for the middle school and ensuring a smooth transition, we in the elementary school (ES) needed to identify a developmentally appropriate approach to initiate this methodology to our own school faculty, students and parents. The ES setting is the best place to introduce young learners to the i2Flex model, preparing them for the middle school. The traditional teaching model of face-to-face and guided instruction should embrace another component including learning supported by technology. This will allow students to work at their own pace and level under the guidance of their teacher. There is much research being conducted to discuss the effectiveness of the use of technology in learning. According to Hattie (2009), effective use of computers takes place when students are in charge of their learning and not the teacher. Students engaged in this form of learning build critical thinking skills as they learn to problem solve, collaborate and analyze their learning in the process.

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