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Monday, December 05, 2011

Flipped Classrooms - Education Technology

I have recently learned of an idea called a "flipped classroom". The idea is that the work that used to be done at school is done at home and the work that used to be done at home is done at school.

Here's a description from onlinecollege.org:
In a flipped classroom, students watch lectures and supplemental materials for their classes at home, usually pre-recorded by their instructors and uploaded to the web. Classroom time is then used for answering student questions, helping with homework, and other activities that help students apply what they've learned.
Once again, the idea here is to use the technology for what it does well to free the teacher to do what the teacher does well. In some examples the technology provides the individualized instruction. In this example the teacher provides the individualized instruction.

The key to good educational uses of technology remains the same: the teacher delegates to the technology the tasks that do not require the teacher's personal and professional attention. The teacher retains those personal and professional tasks that require creativity, improvisation, and customization - the parts that are founded on knowing each student and what that student needs to be motivated and to progress.

What is the highest and best use of the teacher's time and class time and how can we leverage technology to allow the teacher to do more of that in class?

10 comments:

Jon said...

I like the idea of a flipped classroom, but I think the problem you have to think about is what to do with the students who don't do the work at home.

This technique works with students who are motivated and have parents supportive of education, but likely does not work with kids that are struggling.

What might fix that is to have before and after school hours equipment for watching the lectures and going through the material (as well as free food perhaps). But I think you'd have to think long and hard about how to make this work for kids that can't or won't do this work at home and make that solution a major part of the structure of the program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I saw a CNN special that included a piece on just this kind of learning (I can't find it at the CNN website so I wrote them asking for a link).

It certainly has promise but as Jon points out, how to get this to work with the lesson watched outside the classroom.

FedMomof2 said...

Interesting idea. Might work well for some kinds of classes and some kind of learners. Some material is extremely dense and might be better broken into smaller digestable bits under this approach, or may not be appropriate for this delivery approach. And there would be no student/teacher interaction during, an important learning opportunity for many students. Finally, there is the digital divide. I would like to think that it's going away, but it's still a very real issue.

FedMomof2

Patrick said...

I don't see how this could work for a public school. Kids don't always do their homework and parents aren't always able and willing to make sure it gets done, nor do they all have high-speed internet at home. The kids from motivated families would continue to do okay, and the kids who aren't would drop behind rapidly. Given that, it's best if the homework is a supplement and most of the teaching goes on during the school day.

A halfway measure could be that an aid or TFA teacher shows a group of several classes the movie for the first 30 or 40 minutes and then the teachers answer questions and work with the kids on homework 1-on-1 or in small groups.

TraceyS said...

My first year college programming classes were taught this way, and it was an excellent way for me to move through the material as quickly or as slowly as I wanted. We had videos that we could watch in any class session(they were scheduled daily) or check out to take home, and we could attend any TA session to ask questions, get help, turn in homework, or take proctored tests.

However, I was a very motivated college-aged student, and there were many, many kids who did not pass that class, simply due to not keeping up with the videos.

Like everyone else, I do not see how this could be effectively delivered in a K-12 classroom, at least not for core material. This might work for electives or for extra, in-depth material for motivated students. But there simply is no substitute for a teacher leading a classroom when you are talking about K-12. They are still kids, after all, and have varying degrees of self-sufficiency, motivation, and parent support.

Nick said...

It would be great to allow for more individualized learning etc. The only little hitch is that SSD blocks the main math tool - Khan Academy .

hschinske said...

http://local.lakesideschool.org/Communications/LSMagazine/LSMagFallWinter11/index.html includes a bit about Lakeside considering the idea of "flipped classrooms."

Helen Schinske

mirmac1 said...

Here is a proposal for a system for "at-risk" highschoolers, presented during the MGJ days. Cost? $7,695 per student plus SPS provides facilities, admin, food service and transportation,

AdvancePath Academics

My concern as I read this is that these "academies" within a school will essentially be a "self-contained" classroom for struggling students, hooked up to headphones. Students attend one of three sessions a day - morning, afternoon, evenings. There are four teachers and one aide for 120 students. AdvancePath says it works to have subject matter experts in reading, math, science and social studies, as well as at least one trained to work with ELL. Oh and a diverse mix of racial representation and male and femaile teachers. No Problem!

TechyMom said...

New York Times article on flipped classrooms today

Unknown said...

We have used this flipped classroom approach throughout our entire school and we have seen some remarkable results. Our school demographics are 75% free and reduced lunch, technology handcuffed and financially strapped. As a result, we were hurting. We started to create video screen capture lectures and then sought to spend more of our time helping and supporting our students during the learning process. Our failure rate has suddenly DROPPED from 40% in our building to 10.8%. Furthermore, this is with a population in which 69% of our students have transitioned from other at-risk districts around Detroit. The key component is not the technology but the support you give your students. http://www.flippedhighschool.com