Technology Can Flip the Classroom

Susan Fourtané, Journalist, Writer | 12/13/2012 | 43 comments

Susan Fourtané
Technology may be just the ticket to flip the classroom.

The concept of the flipped classroom, where students learn a lesson at home and do "homework" in the class, has been around for some time, but technology might be the key to making it work.

Students learn the material prepared by the teacher at home, in their own time, and most importantly, at their own pace. In class, the teacher acts as a tutor, helping students and providing a student-centered type of classroom. The traditional classroom is all about having the teacher lecturing for 40 to 80 minutes about the subject to a passive class. Flipped classrooms are believed to be more student-centered.

In the flipped classroom, the students come back to class with the subject learned in a more dynamic, entertaining way. They are now ready to be guided by their teacher, who acts as a facilitator. The students are engaged in activities where they will apply what they learned at home. If they are stuck, the teacher goes into action and helps to make sure the student's knowledge and understanding of the topic keeps on flowing.

Flipped teaching is not against face-to-face interaction, as some critics suggest. On the contrary, it enhances the students' interaction with their teacher in the classroom, in a more collaborative and friendly atmosphere.

But a flipped classroom relies on engaging online material that students can study at home -- usually screencasts provided by the teacher, or video courses like the ones provided by the Khan Academy or Crash Course. It is only after they've learned the lesson at home that students come to class to put that knowledge into practice.

Watch this video where Aaron Sams, a chemistry teacher, who in 2006 started using and developing this educational tool called Flipped Classroom, explains how his Flipped Classroom works:

What about the students' perspective? Here is what students from The Flipped High School, the name by which the Clintondade High School is known, say:

Greg Green, principal of the ClintonDale High School in Detroit, flipped the entire school. As a result, the students are more engaged, and scores have considerably improved. The technology they use is centered around Tech Smith's Camtasia Relay, Wacom displays and tablets, and Dell laptops. The school has reported a reduction of failure rates of 33 percent, and a reduction of 66 percent in their discipline problems.

How can CIOs help the flipped classroom? Supporting it by making sure the teachers in their educational institution have the right tools and IT support to create an efficient technology-assisted environment for their students, and by helping teachers in the creation of good streaming video presentations. Producing a video lecture is a one-time thing, and it will be used multiple times, making it a great time investment, but only if the material is engaging and useful.

Whether you're really ready to flip all your classrooms, there are concepts any CIO can put into place. Many CIOs often center their technology investment on in-class experience. Flipped classrooms demonstrate the value of allowing technology to leave the school and enter the home. Engaging students in learning needs to be a 24-hour effort. The only way that is going to happen is for CIOs to change their outlooks.

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nasimson   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   7/2/2013 11:01:27 AM
Re: Extra Work
I just feel that without someone there to guide them, many students will get easily lost and plenty won't watch/listen to the lesson at all.
Most of the students don't even bother to listen or pay attention to what is going on in the class so lack of concentration is just another issue!
In flipped classrooms,students will be reproducing what they had absorbed already at home and teachers will guide them and solve their problems in the classroom! (Who else can be a good guide than your own teacher?)

Secondly your idea of splitting up the duration into two halves, for delivering lecture and discussion, is a good one but I don't think so it will work for a long time because teachers are unfortunately more focused to complete their course rather than to answer the queries!
vnewman   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   6/24/2013 11:30:18 AM
Re: Extra Work
@nasimson - I see your point and I'm not saying the idea doesn't have some merit.  But, I just question why does it have to be so extreme where the entire lesson is done at home?  Why not just break up the time spent in the classroom with half lecture, half discussion session.  I just feel that without someone there to guide them, many students will get easily lost and plenty won't watch/listen to the lesson at all.  
nasimson   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   6/24/2013 7:56:32 AM
Re: Extra Work
"I don't know if it is such a great idea for teachers to be turned into homework tutors - after all, aren't they there to teach?"
I won't agree with you here vnewman..Teachers are not being spared in this way too...Perhaps they are going to have a really tough time with this kind of environment as they have to answer each and every student for their queries because that's what they will be doing all day long unlike traditional classrooms where teachers usually spend most of their time delivering lectures and hardly can take out any time to answer students' queries/confusions!
nasimson   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   6/24/2013 7:48:09 AM
Flipped Classrooms!
I like this idea...Perhaps it will help in developing the concept of "Brainstorming" among the students.
In traditional classrooms, students minds are trained in a way that they only think in a direction their teachers give and usually follow the trend but with the flipped 
classrooms' concept they will be able to think in different horizons making their perspectives broader and clearer.
Syerita Turner   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   2/28/2013 6:10:13 PM
Re: Extra Work
@ make a great point. If they are home and are having problems then who is there to help out? Or what if their home environment is not conducive to learning. These should be assessed before they take work home and complete as expected.
nimanthad   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   2/22/2013 11:00:16 AM
Re: Extra Work
"Maybe though a campaign or something like that"

@ Susan: Not sure about campaigns since the turnout for such activity migh be low.
nimanthad   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   2/22/2013 10:59:25 AM
Re: Extra Work
Susan: Companies should understand that the future is these kids and only if they are fed with right resources they will be able to help out the issues in the future. So basically its like investing for your future.
vnewman   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   2/21/2013 2:42:37 PM
Re: Extra Work
"It's easier for the students to watch a leacture at home, where they can play and replay the video as many times as they need. If they don't understand something, they can write down their questions and ask their teacher in class."

I don't dispute that - but playing devil's advocate: What if they don't bother watching the lecture at all?  What are the consequences?  How does the teacher know?  What if they are too embarrassed to ask questions just as they might be in a normal classroom setting?  

I feel like this presupposes that kids are self-motivated to learn - I don't think this is the case for many children - either because of living circumstances or because school isn't valued as much as it is in some families.  
Susan Fourtané   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   2/20/2013 3:14:39 PM
Re: a win-win situation
Exactly, Taimoor.

One of the advantages I see is that students can play the video lecture as many times as they want, and they are pretty short -about 10 minutes- So playing it twice or three times, and then writing down the questions they would like to ask the teacher it should work very well. 

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Taimoor Zubair   Technology Can Flip the Classroom   2/20/2013 12:57:02 PM
a win-win situation
From a studen'ts standpoint, this is one of the best teaching practices to develop their interest in a lesson. It would be a lot easier for a student to listen to a lecture after he's gone through the lesson at home. Students tend to hesitate from asking questions in a classroom, with a clearer mind and initial know-how of the subject they would be more confident and productive. i think It's a win-win situation
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