With all of this new talk of a “flipped classroom,” it’s pretty natural for people to ask, “What the heck is a flipped classroom and why would someone use it?”
The idea of the flipped classroom is pretty simple. In a traditional classroom, you have lecture during class and homework outside of class. In a flipped classroom, you have a video of your lecture to be watched outside of class with homework, lab, or applications done in class.
Sounds simple enough, but why would we want to do this?
Proponents of the “flipped classroom” like to use the terminology that they are changing the teaching role from that of a “sage on the stage” to one that is a “guide on the side.” They argue that spending more classroom time actually focusing on applications or homework can better help students grasp the concepts and makes learning become something the students must actively pursue. Also, since students have the ability to pause, fast forward, or rewind lecture, they can learn at their own pace.
Aside from the philosophical advantages, the “flipped classroom” also arguably provides a resource for those students who miss class due to illness or other circumstance and won’t have to fall behind because a video of the lecture and content will be readily available for the students to catch up.
Opponents argue that lecture is still a poor method of learning regardless of what mode it’s in. There’s also the argument that just because lecture is moved outside of the classroom and homework is moved in, the same results can still be achieved with no significant improvement in a student’s overall learning experience.
Another argument is that many students do not have internet access at home and are inherently at a disadvantage for this type of classroom.
So, if I wanted to do this “Flipped Classroom” thing, what would it look like?
As a social science teacher, one idea that came up is to have posted videos on the web about specific topics. (Perhaps the French Revolution). When it comes time for class, I could start off with a very short writing assignment that just helps the students remember what they watched the night before (or fifteen minutes before class, knowing how high school students are :)). We can then go into a sort of “rehash” over where we’re at and what the background is. (For example, it’s some time in the 1800’s, the Bastille has just been stormed, King Louis is still on the throne, but the revolutionaries are gaining ground.) We could then go into a discussion over why the situation in France is the way it is and what the students predict will happen. We can also look over some primary resources from the time and have some discussion on the experience of certain members of society during this historical period.
How did I find out about this stuff?
Knewton - a graph describing the “Flipped Classroom,” a pro-flipped classroom site
Ramsay Mussalam - blogger for edutopia.org and neutral in the debate
Chris Faulkner - blogger for Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and neutral in debate
Greg Kulowiec - History Teacher attempting to implement the Flipped Classroom