Flipping the Classroom

Although I did not attend this year’s ISTE Conference 2011 in Philadelphia, I did follow the main web site posts, where I accessed the Daily Leader conference newspaper, #iste11 tweets, the Ning, the mobile apps, and postings from Facebook friends who were there. One practice that was discussed was ¬†the instructional practice of “flipping the classroom.”

As dedicated educators we are always on the lookout for innovative ideas and practices, but we still tend to cling to the traditional methodology of presenting concepts and skills to our class(regardless of size) and then assigning the students time to practice them in class or at home. Even with the advent of technologies that allow for more independence in learning, we still follow tried and true practices. Flipping the Classroom proposes a 180 degree alternative, in which students independently view videos of teacher presentations and then receive practice and more personalized instruction form their teachers during classroom time.

This video done by 2 teachers (Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann) in Colorado who were pioneers in this area explains it well:

Is this a realistic approach to teaching? Without video recording capabilities, ipods, student access at home, or  administrative support, can classroom teachers make this happen?

Prior to this, I read an interesting article in Bloomsberg’s Business Week magazine about Salmon Khan. He created a series of 2200 videos on a multitude of topics in mathematics, because he was tutoring a cousin remotely. Students can go online and for free, they can access tutorials on math and other topics via his Khan Academy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded this initiatve. How will this inpact education?

Listen and watch as he explains this:


If anything, this approach should provide teachers with a different perspective that they may be able to adapt to their 21st Century classrooms. It surely demonstrates how technology can personalize education and help teachers to be true guides and facilitating the learning process for their students.  Also, when applying for grants, teachers, principals and tech directors may want to investigate this process and include aspects into their proposals.

I have included some websites that address “flipping the classroom” should any of you wish to pursue this technology-based instructional strategy. Many of you ask for practical ways to get technology in the hands of the students and to truly integrate technology in your classrooms. Perhaps this will work for your students and you. These sites also provide other helpful links.

Daniel Pink on Flipping the Classroom

Reverse Thinking-Flipping info-Principals

Advances in Flipped Classrooms

2 thoughts on “Flipping the Classroom

  1. So interesting that I would see you post today. I was thinking about an online course I am taking, thinking about students, thinking about teachers–all while I am watering the garden.

    Based on my limited experience, I reflected that those who can’t learn from watching videos will struggle with the current state of online learning, and perhaps will struggle with some aspects of the “flipped classroom.”

    During this year’s professional development, I had numerous teachers tell me that they couldn’t learn from watching videos. Some adults in my online class say the same. I’m not passing judgement here.=, just observing.

    Is this a difference in learning styles, with the more media entrenched folks more accustomed to that type of delivery while print folks want a list of printed steps?

    Is the video a stepping stone to the next format?

    I know this is going in a different direction from what the concept of the flipped classroom does. But I was curious about your thoughts on video learning.

    One thing is certain (at the moment anyhow)–Learners need to be independent and self-motivated if they want to take advantage of the best opportunities.

    I’ll look forward to your thoughts.

  2. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience. I remember watching science instruction on pbs tv when I was in elementary school. Back then we couldn’t stop, rewind, etc and the presentations were rather bland. I am wondering if adult learners who say they can’t learn from videos simply can’t focus solely on the video and need the distraction of a classroom or need to ask questions. Depends on the video presentation and how engaging it is. I learn a lot from watching History and Science channels..do they? What makes online videos so different from that? Maybe it depends upon topic and learner interest level? Lots of variables here.

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