Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Flip Teaching

Developing Students who are Responsible for their Learning

Flip teaching, as defined by Wikipedia, is a “form of blended learning which encompasses any use of Internet technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing.” Its principles assume that students will be able to gain more form self-moderated course modules because they can watch and re-watch them at their own paces. Flip teaching provides in-person class time that can be used for more engaging activities than traditional lectures. The practice is used in k-12, as well as higher education. Most successful implementations include specific directions for students on how they are to be prepared their in-person class session. For example, students may be required to hand in notes for the lectures they watch, contribute to online discussion boards outside of class, or have questions drafted to ask the instructor or to prompt discussions with fellow classmates. With this course format, instructors can more easily poll students on concepts on which they need additional instruction. Instructors also receive filtered feedback from all students as to have complete samples of both excelling and struggling students.

A recent blogpost by Herman Berliner, on Inside Higher Ed’s “Provost Prose,” delivered great optimism for the use of flip teaching to improve higher education. Berliner suggested that there could be models to alleviate some institutional costs by engaging students with open course learning experiences (like edX) paired with graduate student led face to face sessions for discussion and evaluation. This proposition cuts costs by minimizing the number of lecture class sections led by faculty members. An article in Education Next from earlier this year also references the sharing of recorded course sessions. This opens possibilities for catalogs of course content that could be shared and used to develop uniquely delivered curricula at institutions around the globe.

Skeptics of flipped teaching claw at the pressures that the practice puts on students to dedicate time to teach themselves concepts without instructors present. Supporters of the flipped classroom agree that there is a great level of responsibility provided to students. According to an article in The Daily Riff, “The Flipped Classroom Revealed,” the authors provide a listing of the characteristics of a successful model – many of which depend on student engagement:

Discussions are led by the students where outside content is brought in and expanded.

These discussions typically reach higher orders of critical thinking.

Collaborative work is fluid with students shifting between various simultaneous discussions depending on their needs and interests.

Content is given context as it relates to real-world scenarios.

Students challenge one another during class on content.

 tutoring and collaborative learning forms spontaneously. 

Students take ownership of the material and use their knowledge to lead one another without prompting from the teacher.

Students ask exploratory questions and have the freedom to delve beyond core curriculum.

Students are actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking that reaches beyond the traditional scope of the course.

Students are transforming from passive listeners to active learners.

One commentator on Berliner’s post explained that the use of such innovative teaching practices can be dangerous to non-tenured faculty whose employment is often based on student success and satisfaction. As referenced in our post “Simplify Your Internal Marketing,” in order to improve higher education and find successful solutions for more personalized learning, the culture needs to embrace some risk and get on board with ready, fire, aim approaches to innovation. Let us know what successes and challenges you have faced with flipped teaching models in your classrooms.

Becky Yannes, AEFIS Team

For more, check out the sources mentioned in this post and let us know what you think by leaving a comment...

Bennett, Brian, Jason Kern, April Gudenrath and Philip McIntosh. “The Flipped Classroom Revealed.” The Daily Riff. 03 May 2012. http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-what-does-a-good-one-look-like-692.php

Berliner, Herman. “Flipped Classroom.” Provost Prose. 22 Jul 2012. http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/provost-prose/%E2%80%9Cflipped-classroom%E2%80%9D

Tucker, Bill. "The flipped classroom: online instruction at home frees class time for learning." Education Next 12.1 (2012): 82+. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Sep. 2012

Photo from Knewton

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