Technology in Education: What is a Flipped Classroom?

Technology has transformed today’s schools and the face of education as we know it. The classrooms of our children are worlds away from the ones we grew up in.

21st_century_classroom

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For some parents, this new era of education may be dauntingly unfamiliar so we have started to explore some of the “new” ideas being implemented in 21st century schools:

What is a Flipped Classroom?

One commonly heard term when we talk about technology in education is “the flipped classroom”. If you have no idea what that means, then this post is for you.

A Flipped Classroom

Teachers record lectures for students to watch online outside of class; and what was once considered homework is now done in class, allowing students to work through assignments together and ask teachers for help if they run into questions.

The following video offers one of the clearest explanations of the flipped classroom model that I have seen so far and it’s perfect for getting your head around the idea. I don’t think I fully understood what a flipped classroom was until I watched this video:

In a nutshell:

  • the teacher assigns video lessons that students watch at home
  • students review the video as many times as they like and can discuss the topic with other students online
  • in class, the teacher can approach students individually to see where they are at:
    • students who find the work easy can be set more challenging work
    • students struggling with the work can get assistance with the areas they are struggling with
    • other students can work together collaboratively
  • the flipped classroom gives the teacher more time to identify where everyone is at and make sure each student gets the attention they require to make their lessons worthwhile

Overview of the Flipped Classroom

The following infographic from Knewton offers more information on the flipped classroom – what it is, how it came to be, and how effective it has been:

Flipped Classroom

Do Flipped Classrooms Really Work?

Yes, they do. Like everything else, they do have limitations and they aren’t perfect, but flipped classrooms have addressed some of the gaps from our old education model.

For a real life example of a flipped school, watch the following video from PBS News Hour. The school in question is Clintondale Highschool, a school that improved their students’ academic performance after completely flipping the entire school.

One of the arguments against traditional schooling has been the problem of having one teacher to address the individual needs of every student in the class. As we all know, students all learn differently – a student might find Math easy but English difficult, while another student finds the reverse to be true; yet another student might have trouble with algebra but breeze through probability. How can a teacher successfully cater to all these individual needs? Running flipped classrooms might just be the answer to this problem.

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