What is the Flipped Classroom?

The flipped classroom refers to a model of learning that rearranges how time is spent both in and out of class to shift the ownership of learning from the educators to the students. After class, students manage the content they use, the pace and style of learning, and the ways in which they demonstrate their knowledge, and the teacher becomes the guide, adapting instructional approaches to suit their learning needs and supporting their personal learning journeys. Rather than the teacher using class time to lecture to students and dispense information, that work is done by each student after class, and could take the form of watching video lectures, listening to podcasts, perusing enhanced e-book content, collaborating with their peers in online communities, and more. Students can access this wide variety of resources any time they need them. In the flipped classroom model, valuable class time is devoted to more active, project-based learning where students work together to solve local or global challenges — or other real-world applications — to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. Teachers can also devote more time interacting with each individual. The goal is for students to learn more authentically by doing, with the teacher guiding the way; the lecture is no longer the expected driver of concept mastery. The flipped classroom model is part of a larger pedagogical movement that overlaps with blended learning, inquiry-based learning, and other instructional approaches and tools that are meant to be flexible, active, and more engaging for students. It has the potential to better enable educators to design unique and quality learning opportunities, curriculum, and assessments that are more personal and relevant to students’ lives.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • To my mind, the flipped classroom / blended learning is one of the most important concepts of this time - not a novelty per se, of course, but due to the rapid technological development a format that has much more potential now than only some years ago.
    With the flipped classroom we can now diffenrentiate more than ever, we can motivate, engage, activize, but on the basis well-founded and soldi didactical choices. An argument against the use of technology in this teaching setting is that it degenerates into technology for technology's own sake, and there are quite a few examples of this. However, the format has an enormous potential for making teaching and learning much more efficient and for democratizing our programs.
    At my main academic area (School of Business and Social sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark) all tenured professors (500) have to participate in a special it-module on blended learning within the next 5-6 years. - ole ole Oct 7, 2013 - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 12, 2013 - helga helga Oct 20, 2013 Reading quite a bit again lately about models in learning, I've walked away with the sense that we've been looking at variations on flipped classrooms at least since the late 1920s, yet we find it incredibly difficult to pursue anything that upturns the lecture-at-the-center-of-learning as the mainstream model of learning; what appears to be relatively new and very exciting (as well as promising, based on what we can see through current flipped classrooms and variations on the theme) is that current technology gives us new ways to approach these changes if we're willing to explore these changes with our learners.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 21, 2013
  • Flipped classroom strategies are not new, rather technology provides specific affordances that provide students in flipped settings to not only access knowledge but also participate in the construction of knowledge through technology tools. The advantage, of course is that it frees up class time to engage in deeper discussion/ reflection after the student has synthesized information, not the other way around. - jasonr jasonr Oct 10, 2013 - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 12, 2013 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013 - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 24, 2013- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013
  • And I would add that the important question has been the same question for a long time: what are the best media or tools to use for what I want students to learn? and what are the strengths and weakness of each medium or tool (online or offline) for each teaching and learning purpose that I have? The Flipped Classroom is a catchy name for the current instantiation of those questions.- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013
  • I support both of the viewpoints noted above. To add to them, mainstreaming the adoption of the flipped classroom will allow for professors/institutions to fully harness the potential of open educational video resources. This means, the model can result in reducing the expectation/requirement of professors to create their own lecture content, using existing videos instead, and freeing up an instructor's hours to work individually with students. Two out of every three community college professors in the United States is an adjunct instructor who is paid 3 hours per week to teach a class (and, of course, receives no benefits). When consider the pedagogical values of the flipped classroom, it's important to consider how it can lead to broader changes in the expectations of faculty roles. This is an important part of higher ed's survival in this challenging time, and an opportunity for professors to embrace becoming engaged learning facilitators. - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 12, 2013 - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 21, 2013Yes! (Now supporting the three viewpoints noted before this comment.)- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013 - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013
  • Our institution has been using an eCompanion for blended/hybrid instruction since 2003. Those companions typically include video instruction or recorded lectures. Flipping in higher education is not new but rather a technique to point students to relevant and meaningful content and not just have them "Google" or search for content on "YouTube" - cchandler cchandler Oct 27, 2013cchandler

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Flipping classes takes an investment in time. Like any other pedagogical strategy, it requires that faculty rethink what students need to know and why they need to know it. One needs to either find OER resources for students or construct resources in the form of guides/videos/etc. It also requires a high degree of self-motivation on the part of the students to engage in flipped activity since they are, by definition learning on their own first, before any class activity. Flipped curricula need to be designed to guide student through the process of learning. It is here where technology can help. Faculty can not only post videos to watch but also guide students through the analysis of the video. They can (and arguably should) not only provide links to podcasts, but also provide a guide by which students can help to focus their listening. - jasonr jasonr Oct 10, 2013 - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013
  • Today, many professors feel they "aren't doing their job" if they are not lecturing. The flipped model is a deep, cultural shift for higher education and while some professors are fully on board with this change, others struggle with it. Moving from the podium into a learner facilitation mode places a professor in a vulnerable position. Without the steady flow of the lecture between a professor and his students, there is a raw unveiling of oneself that can be terrifying for many professors, especially those who have never truly related to their students before. These social elements of the flipped classroom need to be acknowledged, as they will be significant barriers to it becoming adopted by mainstream higher ed. - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 12, 2013 Agree, and suspect that the successes we're already seeing could help move us through the challenges cited here.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 21, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013
  • Videos must be captioned be meet U.S. accessibility regulations (section 508 of the ADA). Most OER videos are not captioned today and institutional support for video captioning is not as integrated as it should be. - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 12, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013 We are looking at this same requirement in Ontario. It will add hours onto teacher preparation and may discourage them from flipping their classrooms. Collaboration among faculty can help ease the burden and ensure that students needs are met. - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013 ADA compliance with captioning is a huge issue in the U.S. and I believe one that is not fully addressed.
  • The Emperor's New Clothes comes to mind here. Read a book, and then talk about it? Sounds suspiciously like the combination of reading list / tutorials / seminars / lab sessions I had throughout my undergraduate degree well over 20 years ago, albeit the jazzed up, online version. In my science-based degree, the contact time was spent in the laboratory testing the theories read about in the week leading up to the laboratory session. Am I missing something here? Sure, the delivery of materials is now taken care of online, instead of being from a traditional dog-eared chemical-stained paper textbook, but surely the concept remains the same: Read About It - Then Do it. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013
  • And whilst I love the idea of "freeing up an instructor's hours to work individually with students", who will free up the time of the academics to create the content in order to to free up the time to work individually with the students? And will the students and, indeed, the institution recognise the time a lecturer spends creating and a student spends watching a "Video lecture" as contact time? And why would you need the academic once you have their video? Tutorials/seminars/lab work could be run by lower paid staff with little or no knowledge of the subject in hand - all they would have to do is watch the video themselves. before the session. These are all questions and comments that are coming from my academics regarding this concept. Self interest, cynicism and politics will prevent such ideas from taking flight, however well meaning they are. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013
  • OER resources sound like the perfect teaching resource - which of us didn't sit in a school classroom at one time or another watching a VHS tape explaining and idea or concept whilst the teacher did some marking? New shiny digital delivery methods, same old concepts. We have a chance to radically redesign the way we teach from the ground up, but we are always looking to re-purpose the past rather than start anew. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 14, 2013- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Oct 24, 2013 - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013
  • I suggest that instead of "after class" the description should use "before class." Also, project-based learning is only one way to repurpose class time from information delivery, so I think that part of the description should be tweaked to include other ways that classrooms are flipping.- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • When done correctly, flipped classrooms can help to reshape the classroom dynamic from "instructor-as-authority" to "instructor-as-guide", and it help students learn the skills necessary to become independent, 21st century learners but through guided expert facilitation. [Posting this note to agree with whoever wrote the original comment preceding this bracketed response.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 21, 2013]
  • The flipped classroom model supports learners with cognitive disorders (dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.), by providing audio/video resources that can be paused and replayed, unlike a live lecture. It also allows all learners to work at their own speed, rather than raising one's hand multiple times in a classroom and asking a professor to repeat something over and over again, which is unlikely to happen. - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013 For community colleges, the flipped classroom has significant advantages due to the large population of students with learning disabilities. The use of OER content for lectures (instead of instructor generated videos) allows for a powerful transformation in the role of professor from lecturer to learning facilitator. In Michael Staton's "The Unbundling of Education," he identifies the "meta content and skills" that students acquire through their course work as one of the more difficult elements of higher education to be replaced by technology; while the delivery of content is one of the easy elements. To sustain and flourish in a digital, mobile society higher education must adapt and the flipped classroom allows for instructors to deliver the irreplaceable pedagogical value a teacher brings to the classroom. - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 12, 2013 - lkoster lkoster Oct 24, 2013
  • Flipped classrooms may help make blended learning pervasive in higher education.- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?