What is A Flipped Classroom?

Getting to know the flipped classroom model

As the internet becomes more prevalent in the modern classroom, some educators are making changes to their teaching styles to better include this resource. Rather than adopting a traditional method of learning, which includes a lecture by day and homework at night, a new take on the education model starts in the comfort of your own home. 

Called the flipped classroom model, this Internet-based approach to teaching allows educators to reverse the order of the traditional method, giving students a firsthand glimpse at the subject matter in videos they can watch at home. This way, the topics in the upcoming lesson plan have already been introduced, allowing the instructors to spend more time on collaborative coursework.

A closer look at the flipped classroom
According to Knewton[i], this approach allows educators to accomplish a few different things:

  1. Students can approach the subject matter at their own pace, slowing down or speeding up at-home videos according to their understanding of the topics. 
  2. The instructor can take a more hands-on approach to ensuring that the materials are being understood by each student by spending more time on coursework, rather than an on-campus lecture. 

Although it might sound simple enough, the fundamental changes this has on the traditional teaching model are in-depth. Not only does the flipped classroom provide students with an opportunity to spend more time with their educators directly, without first sitting through a lecture, but this model assumes that the Internet has become so widespread that average families will be able to support this kind of learning. That is, access to a computer that supports video download and playback, is a given, rather than an exception. 

Where did it come from?
While the tools for this method, which typically include computers, instant messaging software and a video camera, have already entered the mainstream, the use of this equipment in the classroom is a relatively recent development. In fact, in 2007, two students, Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams, from Woodland Mark High School in Woodland Park, Colo., stumbled across this method accidentally in an attempt to help their fellow classmates catch up on lectures they might have missed. 

Armed with basic recording equipment and PowerPoint lessons, the two unwitting entrepreneurs created an online phenomenon. Their classes began to circulate around the Web, and when this idea gained enough momentum, they were invited to speak to educators around the country. After that, Knewton noted that inspired teachers then started using a similar method in their own classroom, hosting videos online that students could then review on their own time in place of homework. 

Key drivers of the flipped classroom
According to The Daily Riff[ii], this model is becoming popularized by educators who are noticing a more hands-on approach to learning from the students. Instead of being guided entirely by a teacher-led discussion, people are being given the freedom to do a little experimentation along the way, which they can then demonstrate the next day during the in-class coursework portion of the lesson. 

At the same time, teachers have a lot of flexibility regarding how they structure this method. While the basics of the flipped classroom require that videos be viewed at home and coursework be done in an in-class collaborative situation, educators can fill in possible knowledge gaps in any number of ways, such as in-class study groups, activities that target a mastery of the materials rather than an understanding of it, and a closer look at the role that the materials play in the student's digestion of the content. 

With this model, Educause[iii] reported that teachers can leave behind their lecterns and really dive into the materials with their students when they're less responsible for delivering the lectures and more available to act as the in-class experts. For instance, think back to a class that might have given you trouble in high school. During the day, you sat through an hour in the classroom and perhaps took notes on the subject, despite your limited understanding of the materials, and when you got home, you were expected to apply that information. While you might have gotten through it in one piece, it probably wasn't very fun, and you might not have retained much of that knowledge.

Thus, one of the major benefits of this new strategy takes the burden off you to demonstrate your understanding at home, where you can't easily ask the instructor questions along the way. Instead, you'll be doing this work in the classroom itself, having already watched the lecture the night before. 

So what now?
According to Knewton, the results are already pouring in about the flipped classroom model. In terms of how college freshman did in their English classes, 50 percent failed before this teaching method debuted and only 19 percent failed after. In a similar show of growth, 44 percent failed math before the flip, and only 13 percent failed after. 

Why? For a number of reasons that were suggested above, but primarily because of the extra support provided to students when their teachers are spending their time guiding concepts directly, rather than lecturing at the front of the classroom.

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i knewton.com/flipped-classroom/ ii thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-what-does-a-good-one-look-like-692.php iii net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

 

 

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