The ideology of flip classroom is turning the traditional educational model of learning on its head.
What is a flipped classroom?
The flip classroom is a pedagogical model – changing the traditional method of a teacher initiating the first exposure to a new concept via a lecture or presentation and the student taking home work to assimilate the knowledge. In a flip classroom, the student initiates first exposure by watching short, five to seven minute pre-recorded videos on specific concepts, answering quizzes and/or activities and assimilating the knowledge during class time via discussions, debates, activities or workshop projects.
The conception of a flipped classroom draws heavily on the theories of student engagement, active learning and student empowerment – “active learning improves students’ understanding and retention of information and can be very effective in developing higher order cognitive skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.” (The University of Queensland Australia, Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation).
The value of a flipped classroom is the repurposing of class time for both student and teacher. Teachers can utilise their time in a more interactive and collaborative role with the students; allowing the teacher to more clearly identify the students who are at need of one-on-one attention and those that are more advanced in their learning. Discussions or projects are participated in in class time, with the teacher offering suggestions and observing students implement the knowledge that they have obtained via the video lectures and quizzes and/or activities.
How does it work?
“There is no set formula for designing the flipped classroom as it is very much dependent on your teaching and learning context” (The University of Queensland Australia, Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation).
In one common model, students watch multiple short five to seven minute video lectures with online quizzes or activities which help the students to confirm their learning. The feedback provided for these quizzes is immediate, which allows the student the ability to return to certain aspects of the lecture that they are having difficulty understanding and can clarify the pain points for their individual learning. Teachers will then turn the classroom into ad hoc workshops or studios for students to work together to put into practice the knowledge that they have assimilated.
Teachers choose to flip their classrooms because the approach can enhance the learning experience for the students.
- Personalized guidance: as the initial exposure to new concepts is introduced at home, students bring any questions that they have to the class room – giving them more assurance in the material that is covered, allowing them the confidence to participate in class. Also as Seung-Wun Yi states “with the guidance of their teacher, they can give insight into which concepts the students are having trouble with.”
- Learn at students own pace: students can “consume content and lecture materials at their own pace” (Seung-Wun Yi 2016). Students are given the ability to stop, pause, rewind or fast forward lectures depending on their own understanding of the material. Having the ability to view the lectures at their own individual pace, gives the student power over their own knowledge. It can lead to their ownership of their individual learning and enhance the students’ engagement.
- Improves students’ performance: A recent study that has been conducted has revealed key performance indicators:
- “Cumulative final exam performance rose five points from 80% in 2011 to 85.1% in 2013
- Ninety-three percent of students agreed that the flipped course improved their understanding and application of the course’s key concepts
- Attendance was noticeably higher” (unc.edu. 2013)
- Individual learning: with the use of a flipped classroom, teachers can identify and manage individual student learning. The interactions that are had within the classroom environment can help teachers identify the unique learning challenges that students face and allows teachers to then cater to those specific individual needs – allowing for a more one-on-one teaching experience.
- Content coverage: Using the classroom as an environment to foster discussion, will allow the teacher to dive deeper into content coverage.
As described by Jason Krueger, Founder/President of StratoStar, the flipped classroom model can also have its own complications:
- “Heavy reliance on student motivation – The flipped classroom acknowledges that everyone learns at different paces, which is why it utilizes a learn-at-your-own-pace style of education. But this mode of operations relies heavily on the principle that students are self-motivated. Some students are not as motivated as others, and this method of teaching may allow those less motivated students to get less done.
- Keeping everyone on the same subject can get tricky – While teachers can access where each student is in their education and even group them accordingly, it would become rather tricky to make sure everyone is learning at a steady pace. The relaxed atmosphere of the flipped classroom enables students to be on different levels of their education, but education must continue. It will be a lot to handle when students of a class are all on different levels of the class lessons and you need them to be caught up to introduce a new lesson.
- Testing will become difficult – Tests are usually given out to everyone at the same time in order to judge how much they have learned over a period of time and to ensure that they can keep up. If students are operating under the flipped classroom model, they will each be approaching tests at different times. This will also allow students to procrastinate on their learning when they are dreading the next test.
- Internet accessibility fluctuates – A flipped classroom requires of internet accessibility outside of the class room. Internet is not always easily accessible for everyone which can make it difficult for some students to access lectures.”
This pedagogy places a large amount of the responsibility of learning on to the students shoulders. Students take control and own their learning, and teachers are collaborative partners in each students learning pathway. As a modern day educator, the roles within the holistic school community are continually evolving and empowering the student to take control of their own learning and acquisition of knowledge can allow teachers to provide a more consistent individualistic learning environment.
Principal and chief Director of Sky AcademySky AcademyCommitted to new and cutting edge paradigm shifts in the delivery of Mathematics education. A flipped classroom website for senior high school students doing Mathematics courses for the NSW Higher School Certificate.
The University of Queensland Australia. 2012. About Flipped Classroom. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.uq.edu.au/teach/flipped-classroom/what-is-fc.html. [Accessed 24 November 2016].
unc.edu. 2013. ‘Flipped’ classroom yields improved student performance, pharmacy study shows. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.unc.edu/campus-updates/flipped-classroom-yields-improved-student-performance-pharmacy-study-shows/. [Accessed 24 November 2016].
Stratostar. 23 June2016. Five Reasons Against the Flipped Classroom [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.stratostar.net/blog/five-reasons-against-the-flipped-classroom/. [Accessed 02 December 2016].