What is a flipped classroom?
In layman’s terms, a flipped classroom is a type of instructional strategy that reverses the traditional method of lecturing and assigning homework. Instructional content is given to the students through videos and other online resources, outside of the classroom and in-class time is reserved for activities and “homework.”
- Students are more engaged. Rather than having to sit down, be quiet, and listen to the teacher drone on and on, students get to do labs and actual work during class.
- Right along the lines of doing activities in class, students are able to ask questions right away.
- A flipped classroom also transfers beautifully into content for distance learning students.
- Because students have grown up in a digital age, they are more often comfortable with speaking to each other and the instructor through chatting or other collaborative methods. This opens up channels of collaboration.
- Data is often easily obtained and the instructor can follow up with whether the student watched the content and completed the necessary tasks. Students gain a sense of responsibility to prepare them for higher education.
The BAD (and how to fix)
- Critics of the flipped classroom model say that there is a “digital divide.” Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are unable to obtain the necessary online materials due to a lack of resources. Not every student has a laptop or device to get the material. This can be fixed with increased funding to school districts, giving access to computer labs, making the library more accessible, etc. With time, as we move into a more paperless world, this digital divide is slowly being closed.
- Another criticism is that young students already spend too much time in front of the computer or on their phones. Limiting screen time and helping students to regulate their device usage is important for students to be able to manage their time.
- Students also have distractions when they are in front of the computer. With the ease of opening up a new tab (or more like 100 new tabs) or reading something else while having the lecture video play is a definite possibility. This is also something that the students need to learn how to manage in order to succeed in college. There can be controls put in place. This can also be mitigated by helping the students set good habits for themselves.
- Some students do not do well in a self-directed learning environment. Some students need the pressure and discipline of a traditional lecture. However, this is something that the students need to learn in order for success in college. Putting the responsibility back onto the student, (albeit in the right way) students should be motivated to do well.
- Flipping a classroom requires a lot of up front work and prep time for teachers. However, once the initial work is put in, the teacher has more time to engage with each student at school. Looking at creating lesson plans and content as an investment would be useful if you think that having a flipped classroom is useful! Teachers can implement a flipped classroom for just one or a few units.
More and more teachers are choosing to deliver content to their students online. There is a plethora of resources and with a little bit of pre-planning and modifications, a flipped classroom allows more rapport and engagement with the students (which is invaluable).