It seems as if the beginning of each school year ushers in new education trends. This year the “flipped” classroom seems to be the buzzword. However, is this a trend, or will this initiative truly stand the test of time?
What is flipped learning? The interpretation of many educators is that this is an extension of the age-old practice of homework, with the added benefit of new technological advancements. Traditionally, teachers have always given homework to reinforce the skills learned in classroom lessons. We can now take this further by creating or linking video lessons and posting them where students can view and learn concepts online. The expectation is that students will come to the classroom ready to start their project, assignment or experiment.
By using a flipped learning method, there is more time in the classroom for hands-on practice, teachers as facilitators, and an inquiry-based approach. Students are able to view the material at their own pace, or as frequently as necessary to master each concept.
I must add a few caveats, which include the realities of our students’ environment. Even in the year 2012, not all children have computer access. Motivation can also be a factor. Who will motivate students to access the required viewing? For their lack of preparation, students will always offer up a multitude of excuses such as, “My dog ate my computer.”
That being said, I do believe we have an opportunity to overcome such obstacles, which will always stand in the way of learning. The Flipped Learning Network (FLN) has gathered significant findings on the success of this methodology and is continuing research with specific examples of increased learning gains and teacher satisfaction.
What is needed in order to “flip” your classroom? Your computer, a way to capture lessons via video (or link to video lessons, such as with SAFARI Montage), administrator and parent support, and a restructured lesson plan format. To manage this change in instruction, start with just one unit, theme, or standard until you reach a comfort level.
Have you tried a flipped instruction approach? What are your thoughts? Post your comments about your successes and challenges!