Flipping the Classroom

4/27/2012 12:00:00 AM

Teachers from around the world have adopted the flipped classroom model and are using it to teach a variety of courses to students of all ages. In the excerpt below from the book, Flip Your Classroom (©2012, ISTE® International Society for Technology in Education and ASCD), authors Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams outline reasons why educators should consider this model.

Flipping speaks the language of today’s students. Today’s students grew up with Internet access, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and a host of other digital resources. Instruction via video is not a big deal for [them]. When you walk into our classrooms, you will see students engaged in a variety of activities using different digital devices.

Flipping helps busy students. Students today are busy. Our students appreciate the flexibility of the flipped classroom. Because the main content is delivered via online videos, students can choose to work ahead.

Flipping helps struggling students. When we taught in the traditional manner, the students who tended to get most of our attention were the best and brightest. In the meantime, the rest of the students would passively listen to the conversation we had with the inquisitive students. But since our introduction of the flipped model, our role has changed—we spend most of our class walking around helping the students who struggle most.

Flipping helps students of all abilities to excel. Our special education teachers love this model. Because all the direct instruction is recorded, students with special needs can watch the videos as many times as they need to learn the material.

Flipping allows students to pause and rewind their teacher. Even the best presenters and lecturers have students who don’t understand or learn all that is required. When we flipped the classroom, we gave the students control of the remote. Giving students the ability to pause their teachers is truly revolutionary.

Flipping increases student–teacher interaction. We are not advocating the replacement of classrooms and classroom teachers with online instruction. In fact, we strongly believe that flipping the classroom creates an ideal merger of online and face-toface instruction that is becoming known as a “blended” classroom.

Flipping changes classroom management. Under a traditional model of teaching, we had students who consistently did not pay attention in class. These students were often a distraction to the rest of the class and negatively affected everybody else’s learning. When we flipped the classroom, we discovered something amazing. Because we were not just standing and talking at kids, many of the classroom management problems evaporated. Students who needed an audience no longer had one. Because class time is primarily used for students to either do hands-on activities or work in small groups, those students who were typically a distraction become a non-issue.

Flipping educates parents. A surprising thing happened when we started talking to parents during parent-teacher conferences. Many of them told us they loved our videos. As it turns out, many of them were watching right alongside their children and learning science. This leads to interesting discussions between students and parents about the content of our lessons.

Flipping makes your class transparent. Flipping opens the doors to our classrooms and allows the public in. Our videos are posted on the Internet, and our students’ parents and others have free access to them. Instead of wondering what their students are being exposed to in the classroom, parents can find our lessons in just a few clicks.

Flipping is a great technique for absent teachers. We teach in a semirural school where it is hard to obtain qualified substitute teachers. When we first started recording our lessons and posting the videos online, we simply recorded our lessons live in front of our students. It then dawned on us that we could prerecord a lesson for our students ahead of time when we knew we were going to be gone. This method is being used across the country.

Flipping can lead to the flipped-mastery program. We are [now] using the flippedmastery model, in which students move through the material at their own pace. No longer do all students watch the same video on the same night. Students watch and learn in an asynchronous system where they work toward content mastery. We should note that we did not start using the flipped-mastery program until two years after abandoning the traditional model. Our journey has been a process that has occurred over several years, and we recommend that those interested in flipping make the change gradually.

By Michael Gorman

The One-Take Video requires a topic, written script, narration, simple props, and a collaborative group of students with a small camera. The video, usually under three minutes, is done in one take. Students write a script covering the topic and prepare props that integrate with the script. When ready to shoot the video, the script, camera, and props are incorporated into a video production that begins with the record button being turned on, and ends with the record button being turned off.

Pick a Topic
A simple One-Take Video can be the focus of an activity for any curricular area. Decide on whether it will explain a concept, demonstrate an idea, give a procedural overview, or show a demonstration of learning.

Assign the Groups
In the spirit of PBL, students should be divided into groups. Three seems to be a good number. While all students should help facilitate all tasks, a manager for each role will also help. These roles include script writer/ reader, prop creation and manipulator, and technical and project manager.

The pre-production includes writing the script. It should be creative, easy to understand, and concise. Once it is written and all props and set are prepared, it’s time to rehearse. No camera is needed for the rehearsal.

Final Production Students are now ready to shoot the final video. They will need a camera and possibly a small tripod. Students will also need their scripts, props, and set (could be just a white background). This session should mimic the final successful rehearsal. Any mistakes will require a complete retake.

Students should be assessed using both formative and summative methods. In the formative category, preproduction scripts could be the object of an assessment. The formative can also include teacher observation and facilitation throughout the project. Peer and individual assessment in the formative stage can include journaling with reflection. The final rubric should include content application, collaboration, and communication.

A simple One-Take Video can provide students with a powerful process to practice 21st century skill development.

Read more of Michael Gorman’s posts on techlearning.com

ANOTHER TAKE: Five Reasons I’m Not Flipping Over The Flipped Classroom

By Lisa Nielsen

While I certainly see benefits in flipping instruction, there are also reasons to move ahead with caution:

1 We have yet to bridge the digital divide...

Many of our students don’t have access to technology at home. The flipped classroom method does not have strong provisions in place for these children.

2 Flipped homework is still homework.

There are a growing number of parents and educators who believe mandatory homework needlessly robs children of their after-school time. We believe time at home should be spent pursuing passions, connecting with friends and family, playing and engaging in physical activity. In some families, it might be time needed to take care of a sibling, work a job, or take care of their own child. Let us leave children to the activities they and their family choose or find necessary.

3 More time for bad pedagogy.

Flipping instruction might end up just providing more time to do the same type of memorization and regurgitation that just doesn’t work. When I shared the idea of the Flipped Classroom with an administrator, she said to me with excitement, “This is great! We’ll have more class time to prepare kids for the tests!”

4 Grouping by date of manufacture...

If we really want transformation in education, one thing we must do is stop grouping students by date of manufacture, which the flipped classroom is ideally suited for, but have schools put the structures in place? Are they ready to let students move at a pace that meets their developmental readiness and come to the realization that not everyone at the same age needs to be at the same place at the same time? True flipping should include a careful redesign of the learning environment, but this is often overlooked.

5 Lecturing doesn’t equal learning.

The flipped classroom is built on a traditional model of teaching and learning: I lecture, you intake. While this method of teaching works for some learners, many others thrive with a model that takes a more constructivist approach.

While there’s no doubt that flipping is preferable to sending kids off on their own to make meaning of lectures, without questioning exactly how the pedagogy works, we are doing our children a disservice.

Read more of Lisa Nielsen’s posts at techlearning,com and The Innovative Educator.

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