What are Flipped or Blended Classrooms?
The Flipped Classroom… Reverse Instruction… Blended learning… Teacher Vod-Casting… Pre-Teaching… Fisch Flip… Explore-Flip-Apply… The Inverted Classroom…These are all hot phrases in the industry of education. What is flipped learning? The following article explores flipped or blended learning and will investigate the benefits and pitfalls of this new teaching method.
A flipped classroom is a teaching approach in which a student studies traditional lessons/ lectures at home and then uses class time to ask his/ her teacher practical questions regarding the application of the knowledge. A student may be given a task to complete and then bring questions to school in order to assist with the completion of these tasks. The overall goal of flipped classrooms is to make the learning experience more practical.
Video lessons or podcasts (voice recordings) are often combined with slideshows in this form of teaching. The content can be directly streamed from a website, downloaded or obtained from the teacher during class time.
Below is a video testimonial of a high school teacher, Aaron Sam, who is seen as a pioneer in using this approach in his chemistry lessons:
Katie Gimbar explains why she shifted to this approach. She now effectively engages and challenges all students in her class whom each have a different level of understanding of the content.
- Students tend to enjoy this method of learning
- It assists students who miss lessons
- Increased interactivity with students during class time
- It allows learning at the student’s own pace
- Helps students who don’t understand the lesson the first time in class
- It serves as a good resource for teacher assistants or student support staff who may not know the curriculum
- Improves student scores (The Harvard University has written on the subject)
- Some teachers feel that they don’t have the skills to make videos that are interesting and engaging to the students
- Students may not make use of the study guides at home
- When teaching, lectures and teachers use the body language of students as feedback of their comprehension on the work being taught. With flipped learning there is no immediate feedback.
- Lesson preparation is lengthy and technology heavy
- Not all students may have access to the flipped lessons
After considering the benefits and disadvantages of flipped or blended learning it is apparent that flipped learning cannot be used as the sole teaching method in classes. It does however show great results in practical subjects such as mathematics and science. One of the biggest challenges in teaching is to engage and challenge students who are high performers and at the same time to assist students who are experiencing difficulties understanding the work – flipped learning addresses this issue.
It makes sense to consider this as a supplementary teaching method as the youth of today are spending much of their time on the internet and mobile devices. For further reading and information f and blended learning view the feature on Ted Talks and the Sound for Schools info-graphic.
If you are interested in obtaining lesson capturing tools for your classes and other technology that assists flipped learning, have look at the Juno system offered by Sound for Schools.