Over the past week, I have really been trying to wrap my head around the idea of “flipping” a classroom. First lets deal with the ideology: students access new lesson material outside of scheduled class time, this replaces traditional “homework” activity. Class time is then used to apply the concepts they learned in a hands-on way, with teacher support. Rather than working through the application of material on their own, as tradtional models so often demanded, students have the teacher and classmates there for guidance and clarification.
There are reasons this makes sense to me. A full class period to conference with students individually about their essay writing is far more personally productive for both me and the student in question.
I can answer specific questions and give focused, precise formative feedback. The student is able to directly and immediately apply the feedback and watch their capabilities evolve. By having multiple sources of content, with flexible access, it trains students that there are many ways to aquire information, and no longer does the teacher need to be the vessel through which content flows. I like the idea of teachers working together, leveraging their time and expertise in creating content that is able to stand alone. This could create such a wealth of resources. I like the dynamic nature of it; content more flexible and current than a textbook. Plus, I’m a bit of a video editing nerd!
From a practical perspective I will not be moving to a fully flipped model of delivery any time soon. I do see major benefits to having students access course content on their own time, at their own pace and theoretically in a medium most useful to their way of learning. It will be a gradual process requiring conversation with the students in the attempt to strike some balance.
One of the struggles is that this concept is strongly associated with tecnhnology, which in itself will limit the number of teachers able to embrace it at the outset. Student access to content also becomes something of concern. There should be measures taken to equalize socioeconomic disadvantages. Personally, I think an entire reconsideration of what types of learning spaces we provide students, and what flexibility we provide to them is in order. We are moving to full wi-fi and more students are watching all types of media on their ipods or smart phones. Laptops in the caf, hallways and library are constant. Many schools are trying class sets of tablets, ipods or netbooks in addition to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) system used in many classrooms. Students are comfortable learning in a variety of spaces, so providing various learning spaces to fit learning styles seems logical to me. I have little fear of students using the technology to play the mindless time wasting type games they are prone to when bored in a traditional computer lab. My hope is that there will be so many cool resources and things to learn, or learn from, that the students will use the opportunities effectively. I’m a glass half-full kinda gal!
I am just so fixated on getting everyone to explore the amazing opportunity that is afforded by the sudden boom of access to information, resources and amazing tools. I think that a classroom that provides practice at becoming an independently motivated learner is perhaps the most valuable resource to provide for students.
A couple things of related interest:
- A popular infographic detailing a flipped classroom model.
- This is a 8th grade science class in Hamilton, Ontario using a flipped model.
- Khan Academy: One of the most well known resources for lessons, particularly in maths and sciences– seemingly thousands of exercises.
- An article in www.dailyriff.com from Aaron Sams and Jon Bergman, the teachers to first use the term “Flipped Classroom” This leads to many great teacher resources.