So what’s all the fuss about “flipping”?
Flipping the classroom means using Web-enabled instructional strategies that allow educators to spend class time interacting with students rather than lecturing. Most often, this involves assigning students an instructional video to watch online as homework, while problem-solving or other hands-on work occurs class time.
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The motivation behind flipping is that students can receive more one-on-one attention from the classroom teacher if they are actively working on an assignment in class. Proponents claim this leads to better understanding of a given lesson.
In addition to watching videos, students (if the school has arranged a platform ahead of time) can do practice exercises and complete assessments from any computer with Web access. Educators can view each student’s progress in detail, so that they are prepared to deliver individualized interventions once kids return to class.
To explore the concept in depth, read Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, by classroom-flipping pioneers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann.
Benefits of a flipped classroom include:
Those who have successfully implemented a flipped classroom give rave reviews:
In A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom, chemistry and physics teacher Sherry Spurlock of Pekin Community High School in Pekin, IL, noted that her students “are much more involved in what’s going on in class than they ever have been in the past….I’m getting much more interesting questions.”
She added, “Flipping the classroom…takes away any places to hide. There is less opportunity for them to just copy a friend’s homework and hand it in.”
Susan Murphy of Algonquin College, who teaches video editing, said, “Students have told me that they feel more relaxed coming to class, because they feel prepared to sit down and do their assignments. Students at all levels—from very beginner to more advanced—were engaged, and attendance was at an all-time high!”
(See some of Murphy’s tutorial videos here.)
The practice of flipping is still too new for conclusions to be drawn regarding effects on student achievement, but early results are promising: In Clintondale High School near Detroit, flipping not only increased the percentage of students passing classes, but also reduced discipline problems.
So teachers merely have to record videos or screencasts of themselves delivering lessons, or find a relevant video online? Well, it’s not quite that simple.
Experienced “flippers” recommend the following best practices: