The Flipped Classroom: Turning Traditional Education Upside-Down
26th of April 2016
What is a Flipped Classroom?
The flipped classroom is a teaching model in which the typical classroom and homework elements of a course are reversed. Students watch short videos/lectures at home before the class session, while class time is devoted to exercises, projects or discussions. The video element is a key ingredient in the flipped approach and is either created by the class teacher or selected from an online repository. Within the classroom, activity learning and concept engagement takes place with the help of the teacher.
What is the Value?
The value of a flipped class is in the workshop style class time where students can inquire about the lecture/video content, test their skills in applying knowledge and interact with classmates in hands-on activities. This shifts the focus of the class from the teacher onto the students, making learning intentionally learner-centred and allowing students to explore topics in greater depth, creating meaningful learning opportunities within the classroom. Teachers are able to provide instant feedback on student work and are on hand to help students and explain more difficult concepts. They are able to give support to students who traditionally may have struggled completing work at home due to lack of provision or guidance.
What Takes Place in the Classroom?
Class activities vary but may include: in-depth laboratory experiments, using math manipulatives and emerging mathematical technologies, debate or speech presentation, current event discussions, original document analysis, project-based learning, peer reviewing, and skill development or concept practice. Because these types of active learning allow for highly differentiated instruction, more time can be spent in class on higher-order thinking skills such as problem-finding, collaboration, design and problem solving as students tackle difficult problems, work in groups, research, and construct knowledge with the help of their teacher and peers. A teacher's interaction with students in a flipped classroom can be less instructive and more personalised, and students are actively involved in knowledge acquisition and construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning.
In 2011 educators at Clintondale High School flipped every classroom. The school Principal led the effort to help teachers develop plans for flipped classrooms. He worked with the social studies teacher, to run two classes with identical material and assignments, one flipped and one conventional. The flipped class had many students who had already failed the class — some multiple times. After 20 weeks, students in the flipped classroom were outperforming students in the traditional classroom. Further to this, no students in the flipped classrooms scored lower than a C+, whereas the previous semester 13% had failed. The traditional classroom showed no change.
The next year when teachers used a flipped model in the 9th grade, the English failure rate dropped from 52% to 19%; in math, from 44% to 13%; in science, from 41%t to 19%; and in social studies, from 28% to 9%. After 2011 the now-flipped school's failure rate dropped from 30 to 10 percent. Graduation rates soared above 90 percent. College attendance went from 63% in 2010 to 80% in 2012.
Clintondale teachers found that shorter videos (3–6 minutes) were the most effective for students. The school uses audio files, readings and videos from the Khan Academy, TED and other sources. Students favoured the changes. Students unable to watch the videos at home watch the videos in school.
“In addition to flipping the classroom, we wanted to give our students the opportunity to learn about each subject or topic from someone who is a recognized expert in each area. So we decided to team with other schools across the country and world. Now, some of our calculus students are able to watch video lectures from a math teacher in a private school in Virginia, and our students learning about the Holocaust can watch videos made by a teacher in Israel who just brought her class to Auschwitz. This type of learning network will enable us to close the gap of inequality that schools are subjected to because of their financial standing, and provide all students, no matter what district they’re from, with information from the best teacher or expert in any field.” – Greg Green, Principal at Clintondale High School.
My Learning and the Flipped Classroom
The My Learning Fusion VLE provides an ideal platform for flipped learning, making content easily accessible across devices and locations. Teachers are able to upload or link to videos and resources in customised class and learning spaces, as well as having the option to create blogs and forums to encourage student interaction and discussion online as well as in the classroom. Content remains available for students to revisit for revision or consolidation and is also a great way of minimising the effects of student absences. Features such as ClusterPad, Content Library, MLTV, Blogs and Forums make Fusion the perfect platform for a Flipped Classroom.