With the increase of accessibility and affordability of technology, a new classroom teaching model is emerging, the ‘Flipped Classroom.’ A flipped classroom tasks students with watching learning modules outside of the classroom, so class time can be devoted to 1:1 interactions between student and teacher. Class time is spent working on homework and practical applications with intensive assistance from the teacher.
While this type of learning model makes it difficult to ensure all students complete their learning modules at home, teachers credit flipped classrooms with allowing them to get to know students individually, decreasing classroom anxiety and improving student achievement. As more and more teachers opt for this learning model, researchers and educators alike seek solutions to ensuring students watch at-home videos.
In the three years that my advanced math classes have been flipped, I have been able to get to know my students, as individuals, better than I have ever been able to before. My goal is always to make the classroom feel a little more like play, while still maintaining rigor. I have found that inverting the traditional classroom dynamic has lowered anxiety levels while increasing student performance. The same is proving true for other teachers around the world.
So, why isn’t everyone flipping? Simply put, the flipped classroom challenges the dominant format of our education system—lecture delivery—which remains prevalent in the U.S.
Flipped class methods differ, so let me define mine: In my classes, most students watch videos on their laptops (and some on an iPad), at home. When students come to class, we tackle their needs for the day. Often, this means delving deeper into the topic introduced in the video on the board, together. So instead of a one-way lecture, we start with an interactive discussion. From there, students break into groups to work on problems or get their individual needs met. These problems are what they typically would have been left to figure out at home, without any support
But it’s not simply: lecture at home on video and homework in class. The most important element, for me, is that the content delivery (a very one-way activity) is sent home to free up classroom time for interactive discussion and problem solving. The most important part of the learning process is what happens in the classroom. And the flipped class allows me to make this a reality. Ultimately, students are more engaged with me and their peers—and knowledge is being transferred among all of us. I’m learning from them as well, often through dialog—how they process information, comprehension, and what they need from me to progress.
If you’re concerned that students won’t really view video material before class, you can quiz them while they’re watching and have the results automatically scored and sent to you in a tidy spreadsheet. Some popular tools, like TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio, make it easy to embed quizzes in lesson videos.
Stacey Roshan is a math teacher at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. At the 2013 Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference, hosted by November Learning in Boston, Mass., July 21-26, she will present two sessions on flipped learning: “Making Video Instruction a Less Passive Experience” and “Learning Should Feel Like Play: Reducing Student Anxiety Levels Through the Flipped Model.” For more information about the conference and to register, go to http://novemberlearning.com/blc.