The question educators’ face today is not if they will be using technology in their classroom, but what is the best way to use technology in the classroom. The Flipped Classroom seems to be the answer for many teachers. This new style of teaching relying heavily on educational technology was developed by teachers Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams in 2007. What began as a way to assist absent and struggling students spread like wild fire and by 2014 a majority of teachers had heard of flipping the classroom.
Whether you are an experienced teacher or new to the class, it’s no secret that many teaching trends have come and gone over the years. Change can be difficult, met with resistance, time consuming, and ineffective. So before you commit to flipping your class, it is reasonable to ask a few questions.
The first question that immediately pops to mind is, what are the benefits of a flipped classroom? While educators who are flipping their class realize this is not the answer for every teacher and every student they are seeing some remarkable results.
- Provide more individualize instruction than traditional classrooms. Students are able to watch and review videos at their own pace. They may review previous lessons, stop videos and lectures to take notes, and submit questions directly to the teacher.
- Engage students, encourage collaboration, and produce high order thinking. According to James Ponce, superintendent for the McAllen Independent School District in Texas, “Classroom technology isn’t about teaching students how to use mobile devices,” he says. “It’s all about interaction—with teachers, with content, and with each other. We’re creating a collaborative generation, and using technology for that effort.”
- Improve grades. According to the Flipped Learning Network, 71% of teachers who flipped their classes noticed improved grades.
- Create a more enjoyable atmosphere for teachers and students. According to the Flipped Learning Network 80% of teachers with Flipped Classrooms reported improved student attitudes as a result. Students enjoyed both the interactivity and the individual guidance. An astounding 99% of teachers who flipped their classes reported that they would flip their classes again the following year.
- Prepare students for higher education. According to Inside Higher Ed, a recent study by the Campus Computing Project showed that more than two-thirds of U.S. colleges and universities are already using the Flipped Classroom pedagogy.
The benefits of a Flipped Classroom are difficult to ignore. So, how do teachers flip their class? One advantage for educators that are new to this teaching style or who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed is that you can start slowly. Begin with flipping one lesson at time.
Start with the end in mind. What do you want your students to be able to know, apply, and accomplish at the end of your lesson or unit. Now decide how you can use technology to get information to your students. A few years ago, this would have been a monumental task to undertake but as Chris Millet, the assistant director of Education Technology Services at Penn University points out, “There are so many new technologies that make out-of-classroom content creation a little bit easier. And there are drop-dead-simple technologies that keep the flow of idea generation and exchange moving inside the classroom to support active learning." Teachers are great at sharing their experiences and resources. Website like YouTube and Lennections.com are valuable websites where teachers get support with videos for just about every lesson imaginable. As you and your students become more comfortable with the structure of the Flipped Classroom, you may want to begin recording your own lectures and creating your own PowerPoints for students to view outside of class time.
It is important that you take time to explain to your students the vital role they play in the Flipped Classroom. They are no longer spectators but are a crucial part of the learning team. They need to come to school prepared, focused, and actively participate in classroom discussion and projects. This will not happen overnight. Building a trusting environment where students feel safe to ask questions, think outside the box, and rely on their peers will take time. Going from the leader of the class to the facilitator can be quite a change for many educators. Remember that a teacher’s goal is to create life long and independent learners and problem solvers.
Allowing a flexible learning environment is very important in the flipped classroom. Class time should be centered on small group discussions, team based projects, and conceptual questions. Quick and frequently assessments are used to address misconceptions and drive instruction.
Technology is everywhere, especially in today’s classroom. How will you use technology to educate your students? If you haven’t tried flipping a lesson in your class yet, why not try it? 99% of teacher who have tried it are betting that you will like it!