Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Flipped Classrooms

So have you heard about flipped classrooms?  This seems to be the new buzzword right now.  This article from Edudemic has a good explanation as well as a good infographic to help explain the process.  In a nutshell, the teacher acts as an advisor rather than instructor.  Students watch lectures as homework and then use class time to work on assignments with the teacher around to help and advise.

I'm on the fence on this issue.  I can see the benefits of helping students to work and apply concepts in class time.  Teachers can use their time to help students and they can actually see how students are working on assignments, rather than correcting mistakes after the fact in a homework assignment.  In terms of efficiency, the amount of material a class can cover should increase.

But I worry about several details.  If a student's homework assignment is to watch a video at home, will they?  What about the differences in technology from school to home?  Not all my students have Internet access at home.  What would they have to do?  And not to mention the fact that most students don't do homework these days.  How would that destroy a lesson?

And I worry about the burden on the teachers to prepare the lessons for home viewing.  Do most teachers have the technology skills to create a "vodcast" and publish it to the Internet?  And do they have the time?  If all during class, the teacher is walking around advising, when is the vodcast going to get produced?

I think this might be a good technique to try for a science or history class, but those of us who teach literacy skills know the best thing for students is to read, read, read and write, write, write.  My favorite class periods consisted of a very short mini lesson (no more than about 10 minutes) of instruction, a block of time to write and share and then a block of time to read. 

Am I wrong?  What do others think?  I would love to hear from anyone who has used a flipped classroom model.  Leave me a comment if you have.


  1. Hi Diane! I think you've read some of my opinions on this via twitter. I definitely see your point. I watched a webinar with the guys who sort of started this a few years ago, and I was really excited about it. But coming from the ELA world, I wasn't sure how this would work. They did a very good job at addressing the access issues: students could get it on their phone, a CD or DVD if no access at home, etc--lots of hurdles for teachers to overcome!
    However, I love the idea of not only thinking outside of the box, but throwing the box away completely!! One size fits all learning doesn't work, and I have strong concerns that a flipped classroom only encourages the "sage on the stage," mentality even more. BUT--if you get students involved in creating tutorials, you've got a brand new idea. And I think we can make this work in ELA classrooms as well when you consider multimedia, mash-ups, social media and global connections.
    I am still letting these ideas simmer around in my crazy head for now. I'll stop rambling...

    Good topic for discussion!

  2. HI! Those are some great ideas! I've been thinking ELA teachers could create a library of videos to keep online--maybe tied to a specific lesson or just general "here's how to do it" topics so when kids are having writing/ reading troubles at home, there's an online resource available.

    I do see lots of possibilities and think this could be a great technique if it's used correctly!

    So glad you found my blog! Come back and visit again!! :)
    Miss you!