Flipped Classrooms: Sweeping Schools Across the Nation

In many traditional teaching models, learning takes place in the classroom while practice takes place at home. However, as with all instruction, this format has its challenges: different learning styles are harder to accommodate; completing homework doesn’t always ensure understanding; and students can fall behind if they miss class. If these issues sound familiar, take a look at the “flipped classroom” model: it was created to eliminate problems with traditional teaching by having students learn material at home, and then later in class practice what they’ve learned.

Flipping the classroom, which was developed by two teachers at a high school in Colorado, has since taken hold in many schools and universities across the country. Earlier this year, AAAS hosted a panel discussion featuring three middle- and high-school science and math teachers who have flipped their classrooms and had great results: they say that their students are more engaged and have become better active learners. In a flipped classroom, students of all learning styles and abilities are able to engage in better group-work and get more individualized attention from the teacher.

The flipped classroom is most different from the traditional teaching model in its reliance on educational technology. While there are any number of ways students could learn at home, most often it takes the form of pre-recorded video lectures or podcasts. Some teachers create their own videos for their students using resources like Educreations, a free tool for recording educational presentations mentioned in the AAAS panel discussion. Another tool mentioned by the panel is Khan Academy, a website with thousands of free pre-made educational videos. This discussion on Thinkfinity also contains a wealth of additional flipped classroom tools and resources. See this discussion also for a conversation about the pros and cons of flipping.

Interested in flipping your classroom? Remember that flipping doesn’t need to happen all at once — try flipping just one lesson or unit before diving into flipped learning for a whole month, semester, or year. If you decide to try flipping your classroom, pledge to do so on Flip Your Classroom Day on September 6, hosted by the Flipped Learning Network. It's a great way to try flipped learning with your classroom with the support of other educators and accessible resources.



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