The Flipped Classroom… what is it?

Lately I have seen increasing numbers of references to the “Flipped Classroom”.  My initial thought was maybe it had something to do with “flip cams”  (seeing as my class had won one last year through “The Classroom Energy Diet Challenge” by Canadian Geographic and Shell Canada).  Videos certainly have something to do with it, but that’s not the full story!

I found an excellent article on the “Flipped Classroom” via an email from “Media and Learning News – Nov. 2012″.  There are some excellent links as well.  Here is the short version of what I found most interesting.

The “Flipped Classroom” involves teachers preparing their lessons on videos and students watching these videos AT HOME and BEFORE the class at school.  When the students come to class, the work usually assigned as “Homework” is done in class.  This is the “flipped part”… teacher lessons are watched at home and student homework is done at school.   What is the advantage… the teacher spends the class time actually working with the students instead of being “the sage on the stage”.  Students who understand the concepts are free to advance at their own level.  Students who have difficulty with the concepts can work in small groups to review the lessons.  The teacher is free to work one-on-one or with  small groups at THEIR LEVEL of understanding for the entire “math block”.  The result is that virtually everyone ends up with a good understanding of the concept being introduced.

This article led me to the “Flipped Learning” website… who knew!  A whole website devoted to flipped classrooms!

I watched a very engaging video involved a young high school math teacher.  Her mom was also a math teacher, the father was an engineer, and she had “grown up with math”.  As a math teacher, she wanted to bring modern technology into her classroom and found that the “flipped classroom model” helped her students immensely.  She shared her findings with her mom, who then spoke of how delighted she was to find that her daughter could teach HER new, modern ways of helping students learn math.

That’s all very “well and good” for high school, you might say…
but here is a video of a flipped FIFTH GRADE Math class!


What are my thoughts at this point? 
There are certainly some changes coming!  However, I have to wonder (seeing all those Smartboards and iPads and other modern devices on the videos) how the schools go about ensuring that all students have the technology at home to access the videos.  I also have to think about the preparation needed for the teacher to record a video of the lesson.  Not everyone is comfortable “on screen”, let alone proficient with creating and posting videos.  Also, when do these teachers find the time to do this?  On the other hand, a video of a lesson could be used again the following year.  Perhaps some ProD time is given for the initial start-up?


How does this relate to a Grade 2 teacher? 
Perhaps I won’t be “flipping” my classroom anytime soon, but this year I am involved in an “Online Initiative” which uses two programs, “Mathletics” and “Raz-Kids Reading”, to supplement our in-class learning. Students use these programs at home (and at school too) and I am able to view their participation, set assignments, and keep track of their results.  It also reminds me of some other classroom Edublogs which have videos of students explaining their math learning.  I think this is the area I will want to explore.  Right now my classroom Edublog is focused more on “sharing special events”.   Maybe it’s time we started “sharing our learning” as well!

Food for thought… but… WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME???  Hmmm… back to my previous article on “I vote for more hours in the day” !!!



One thought on “The Flipped Classroom… what is it?

  1. Cool idea, I can definitely see the benefits for older students. Not sure how it would work in primary. You also make a good point, what about those students who don’t have technology available at home. For example many of our students live rurally and don’t even have access to the internet. Good food for thought, though! Thanks, Tracey :)

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