Flipped Classrooms .. is it learning or browsing?

So during my undergraduate studies, I have had the experience to use flipped classrooms and create flipped classrooms. This new type of classroom learning, if you are unfamiliar, allows teachers or professors to create their lesson for the learners to view before they come to class. The learner will then take notes and bring in any questions to be answered by the teacher the following day. Then during class time, the learners will be doing more hands on activities rather than sitting through a lecture. My question is are the students successfully learning or are they just browsing the content?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of this movement; however, I do see a downside. Are the students getting the information they need? Is there significant motivation for the students to do more of the work on their own? What about all this time the students are spending on the computer? I am a firm believer that if you begin to work flipped classrooms into every day curriculum, that eventually it will stick, meaning that the students will become classically trained to sit at a computer and learn. The biggest fear is, well, will there then be a use for as many teachers? I believe that there may be more teachers needed if a flipped classroom setting is implemented. It is hard for one teacher to formally assess, converse, and make sure that the students are on task with the hands on activities. I believe that this puts more of the teacher evaluation onto the students, and I am unsure of how I would feel about that.

So now for some pros, since I am a big supporter of the flipped classroom. This allows students to work at their own pace, which is great. The student are also able to access the information again, or if they missed the class they can access the information immediately. This also gives parents a great resource to use to help their students with the tasks their children are being asked to complete. Most importantly, the flipped classroom allows students to collaborate more effectively with each other.

I have seen a flipped classroom work great for some teachers, and fail for others. I believe it not only relies on heavy planning from the teacher (which I believe is always happening) and high motivation from the students to work efficiently.

So my question I ask of you, is what are some of the risks you are willing to take as a teacher. Is this one of them? Do you think that the flipped classroom approach, if you have experience with it, is a good or bad thing?

Opinions are opinions, so take them with a grain of salt!

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One thought on “Flipped Classrooms .. is it learning or browsing?”

  1. I feel that the flipped classroom is a wonderful idea, but it has limitations. The first I see is age, I think it is more effective the older the learner is. I am a college instructor and feel this model is perfectly suited for that age group. The second limitation is the content being taught. If it is mainly lecture materials where you are not able to utilize the time in the classroom for hands-on activities it does not work well.

    I do a hybrid flipped classroom for my Introduction to Web page design class I teach. Instead of a complete lecture video for the weekly lessons, I build a checklist for the students to complete outside of the classroom. The checklist will include my own small video clips, some from lynda.com, reading from their textbook, and online websites. I found that my students found the checklists very useful, and I added two form fields in this online checklist with small survey. The first question was if there was any materials they could not understand or figure out. The second question was is if these materials they viewed outside the classroom helpful for them with the in-class projects we do.

    I find this way works excellent for the course materials I teach. Instead of them attempting to struggle writing the code outside of class, I am available to answer the questions they have right away. This model led to something I didn’t except, increased collaboration among the students. If I was spending time with a student, they would take it upon themselves to see if someone in the classroom could help them out.

    Now why I call my the hybrid flipped classroom, is because if I find in my survey most of the class struggled with a concept, I would flip back to the traditional classroom and do a lecture of the materials on the fly. I find the flipped classroom model causes the students to understand the materials quickly and the hands-on assistance assures their comprehension and competency in the subject.

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