Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flipping the Classroom

By now, you've probably heard of Salman Khan and the Khan Academy. I watched his TED video over the summer and I have to say I was impressed, though not totally sold that his ideas will transform education. I am interested enough though that I am giving the teaching approach he espouses--one that teachers Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams call the flipped classroom--a shot this year with my accelerated math classes.

Since my first days as a teacher back in the year 2000, I have worked hard to be on the cutting edge of technology integration while being careful not to jump on the bandwagon of trendy technologies that I feel have little use in the classroom. From blogs to wikis to digital cameras, I have used a lot of effective tools and now I am ready to try flipping my classroom.

What is the Flipped Classroom?

In the article The Flipped Class: Myth vs. Reality, the flipped class is described as being one where student/teacher interaction time is increased, the teacher is not the "sage on the stage", constructivist and direct instruction are blended, and much more. Mainly though, the flipped classroom is one where teachers record lessons for their students to view outside of the classroom (through a site like YouTube) and then use class time for doing assignments. The goal being to increase student/teacher and student/student interaction.

Read about the history of the flipped classroom at the Flipped Class Blog.

Transforming the Classroom

In their article How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Learning, Bergman and Sams identify a couple ways that flipping has transformed their classes:
  • Student Interaction Increases - When the classroom is flipped, the role of the teacher changes from presenter of content to learning coach. Because of this, the authors have been able to observe their students interacting:
"Since the role of the teacher has changed, to more of a tutor than a deliverer of content, we have the privilege of observing students interact with each other. As we roam around the class, we notice the students developing their own collaborative groups. Students are helping each other learn instead of relying on the teacher as the sole disseminator of knowledge. It truly is magical to observe. We are often in awe of how well our students work together and learn from each other."
  • Flipping Changes Parent Interactions - In a flipped classroom, learning becomes the focus As a result, discussions with parents aren't centered on issues like behavior, but more important questions like are the students learning or not and if not, why?

You can join The Flipped Class Network to engage with other educators using the flipped class approach.

More Flipped Classroom Articles

The flipped classroom concept is also getting mentions outside of education. In Daniel Pink: Flip-Thinking, the popular author describes Karl Fisch's method of flipping his classroom and then describes how Seth Godin has applied "flip-thinking" to other areas of life. Though not an article, in this forum discussion titled "Remind me why I'm doing this" educator Steve Hegwood describes some of the intense resistance he is receiving from parents in his district. Finally, read about some more resistance to the Kahn Academy approach over at the Action-Reaction blog.

Hopefully there is enough information here to get you interested in the flipped classroom approach. I plan to start with the second chapter in my math textbook. I'll be posting updates on its progress here.

No comments: