Aaron Sams talks about how flipping the classroom changed his teaching.
See Eric Mazur, Physics Professor at Harvard, in action in his flipped class. Great video. Thanks to Online Learning Insights for this link
What is a Flipped Class?
The flipped class is a relatively recent model of classroom learning popularized over the last 20 years by teachers such as Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University, Colorado high school teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, and Salman Khan of the online Khan Academy. Flipping means turning the traditional classroom model upside down. Instead of lecturing in class and assigning students exercises to do at home, teachers of flipped classes record instructional videos, post them online on YouTube or their respective school portals, and tell their students to review the video lesson at home.
The next day in class, students work together to solve exercises based on what they learned in the video lesson. Teachers encourage students to work with each other in class to solve problems or complete exercises, and intervene only to provide guidance or to answer questions. The model is that of self-guided student learning rather than traditional top-down, lecture-based classes.
Tips for Online Courses
Teachers who use the flipped class model can make the most of its strengths by:
- Keeping the end goal in mind at every stage of the course design
- Explaining the concept and benefits of the flipped class model to students at the outset to avoid confusion
- Utilizing video from news sources or from other teachers, especially if they’re experts in the topic or if they’re recording a site visit relevant to the course material
- Setting up social media sites such as Facebook or Google Groups pages to encourage students to meet and continue the class discussion after hours
- Experimenting with different technologies to see which work best. Teachers may choose to “screencast,” or record the activity on their computer screen, accompanied by voiceover narration. This technique is useful for making video lectures or for giving feedback to students about their electronic assignment submissions over the Internet, suggests the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy
- Flipping the teacher, suggests the New York Times. Have students create their own videos about the course topics and post them on a school blog.
Some proponents of flipped classes report that they inspire students to take ownership of their own education. They are no longer the passive recipients of a lecture, but rather active participants in learning. They’re encouraged to discuss problems and exercises with each other before coming to the teacher, which sparks lively student debates and encourages deeper involvement with the subject matter. If students have questions that are too hard for their peers, the teacher steps in and provides guidance, but then steps back again and allows the class to resume its brainstorming.
The result in many schools is a dramatic improvement in test scores. This model ensures that when students have questions about homework material, they are in a classroom where they can ask the teacher instead of their parents or roommates. It gives teachers more time to answer those student questions and to interact with them one-on-one.
Some college students have voiced criticism of the flipped class model, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. Students say that they feel cheated, especially when they pay thousands of dollars for tuition only to find that sometimes their course lectures are available online for free. This model makes heavy use of the Internet and can make students feel isolated and robbed of a truly collegial experience with classroom peers. It has also been criticized for penalizing lower-income students who don’t have ready access to the Internet.
Since the start of the school year, many of Wayne Tsai’s math students have been watching his lectures at home or in the computer lab.
They take notes and jot down questions about his algebra and geometry lessons and then return to Tsai’s classroom the next day, ready to apply what they’ve learned to problems and projects that traditionally would have been assigned as homework.
The practice — known as “the flipped classroom” because of the reversed roles of lectures and homework — has helped students understand the lessons better and move through them more quickly, Tsai said. More class time is now spent on projects and extra help for those who need it.
Both national and local talent is being used to help Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 and other Minnesota students gain the benefits of online videos. That’s good news for students and a compliment to teachers who continue seeking new ways to help students learn.
It happened all the time to Katia Molina. A teacher would explain how to solve a math problem in class and give her practice problems to take home.
“I’d get to my house, go to do it and I don’t remember,” said Katia, 14.
Things changed in a big way this year when Katia entered her eighth-grade algebra class at Willis Junior High School in Chandler. Instead of doing practice problems at home, she does them in class, with her teacher’s help. Instead of hearing a lecture at school, she hears one at home, on Internet video.
“If I don’t get it, I just stop it,” Katia said about watching the teacher explain how to solve a math problem. Katia can replay the video, take notes and send her teacher questions for the next day’s class.
Katia’s teacher, Michael Schultz, is one of a growing number of teachers across the country who are embracing an innovation called the “flipped classroom,” which reverses the traditional roles of classwork and homework.
Some teachers are flipping their classes.
They put the teaching element of the class on YouTube or similar and spend class time doing more 1-2-1 with students. This flip-flop of watching class at home and doing assignments in class is how the flipped classroom got its name.
Here’s an example from CockrumVideos:
So is this a good or a bad idea?
- Some students aren’t ready for this, particularly I suspect adult learners who have become accustomed to lecturers who just, well, lecture.
- Some students don’t have access to the web at home or in halls, so will be at a disadvantage
- Some students only have dial-up access and won’t be able to watch the videos
- Watching at the library may not be an option if kids are rural or if parents can’t afford to drive their kids there
- Many public libraries don’t open in the evenings
On the plus side
- For parents who like to help their kids with their homework, it provides revision of the topic for the parents too
- It’s new and novel and engaging
- It frees up teachers to help those who need it most
When it works it seems to work well.
Take this comment in the article from KCParker:
“I am located in NC teaching 8th grade math and algegbra and am currently using the flipped classroom model. I love it. My students love it. My students’ parents love it.
The biggest complaint I get from parents is that they want to help their student with the math homework, but they just don’t remember how to. The flipped classroom eliminates the home frustration of not knowing how to do the math and in a way invites the parents to my classroom without having to physically be there.
The students in my classroom work in centers and I sit with about 8 students at a time while the others practice in different ways(i.e. puzzles, games, challenge problems). This really lets me see on a daily basis who is getting it and who is not.
And as for the the equity issue, I burn DVD’s for the students without internet.
There is no way around notes in math. They are completely necessary, however checking homework, teaching a lesson and waiting for students to copy eats up entirely too much time. Especially when I only have 55 minutes with each group. The kids don’t mind so much getting on the computer or TV for homework. I check their notes off as their homework grade and we complete practice in class. I use daily exit quizzes to track progress. This holds students accountable for working productively at their centers while I have carpet time with the small groups. The students are also required to fill out an activity log and learning targets for the week with reflective questions about what activities helped the most and what topics they are still struggling with. The majority of the students say that carpet time is their favorite and most beneficial activity. If I weren’t using the flipped classroom model there is no way I could offer this small group learning environment that they so obviously crave.”
So are you using the flipped model and how is it working for you?