Flipping the Classroom

Sometimes the universe is knocking at the door.  It is similar to when you think about someone and then they phones you up, or you hear a new word, and that new word just seems to pop up over and over again.  The same thing happened to me when I was deciding what my first ‘real’ blog posting should be.

For my Grad Studies course, our professor gave us a video to watch on the Khan Academy.  A small snippet of the video struck a chord with me.  One of the ideas that Mr. Khan presented was that of  ‘flipping the classroom’.  The next day, my consultant (@gwoitas) tweeted out a link to a blog from the ISTE 2011 Conference.  The blogger, Betty Ray (I’ll link to the blog at the end) cited Flipped Classrooms as an emerging trend coming out of ISTE.

A Flipped Classroom is where content is presented or ‘taught’ at home in an asynchronous format (usually through video modules), and then class time is spent on assignments/work/group discussion.

What a radical idea! It made me question my own teaching practice.  Have I always given my 100% to my students?  I thought I had, but maybe this is not the truth.  A flipped classroom would give me the opportunity to really dig deep into my students’ comprehension.  It would free up my time to really work at and reach that student who is struggling.  It would allow me to do more formative assessment to improve or remediate my instruction.

I also see some potential pitfalls to a Flipped Classroom. First, teachers must be committed to the work.  There would be intensive front load tasks attached to this type of teaching. Preparation work would be enormous (making/editing videos, learning new software, posting the content into a Learning Management System).  Second, students must have the intrinsic motivation to go on-line and watch the videos on their own. For most of us the 80/20 rule will apply.  80% of our students will do as we ask of them, 20% will not.  This gap should narrow over time, as the need to stay up-to-date with the class will outweigh the desire to procrastinate.

After watching the TED video on The Khan Academy, and reading the blog post that was tweeted out by my consultant, I decided to do a bit of digging on my own.  Below is a video of Aaron Sams, a teacher in Woodland Park, Colorado and his thoughts on the flipped classroom.

Here is a link to the TED Video – http://bit.ly/hDa26d

Betty Ray’s Blog Entry from ISTE – http://bit.ly/jAjEwq

On a quick note before I end this post, I wanted to let you know that I have narrowed down the focus of my blog.  The focus is going to be Motivating and Engaging the Middle Years Learner Through Technology.  Thanks to everyone who was able to provide me with feed back.


2 thoughts on “Flipping the Classroom

  1. You are off and running to a great start in giving your blog focus and direction. I am envious that you are taking the first step of getting a blog out of your brain and into the blogosphere. They say the second post is the most difficult. Check! I like the topic geared towards actually sharing your technology engagement ideas with middle school students. This is a ever expanding focus that will never be stagnant. I hope to read a few cutting edge posts and possibly a couple controversial ones as well. Best of luck. G

  2. Great start to your online adventure, Jeff! I think your (re)focus will strike a chord with a lot of readers. I’m taken with this notion of flipping the classroom too. But I share your observation and permit me to flip it! I wonder if we don’t need to flip it one more time… to go beyond dealing with the content outside of classtime to free up time to deal with it more deeply during class. Maybe…just maybe…we need to find ways to move away from the prescribed curriculum. Is it possible that in the next “flip”, we find a way to let students decide what it is they will learn? Do we have the courage and the trust to turn students loose on their own learning?

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