The first well-documented flipped classroom rang into session only back in 2007, when a pair of chemistry teachers began looking for a way to provide lecture materials for students who had to miss class. Using simple screen recording software to capture their PowerPoint slides, the two then uploaded the recordings to YouTube for every student in the class to review.
Every great idea has its “eureka” moment — this was is for the flipped classroom.
Right away the two teachers noticed the tenor of the classroom had shifted. Students came to class prepared with a better understanding of the day’s material. Right away, class time began to shift away from passive lecturing and toward increased student interaction and greater discussion of the details of the lesson and how the subject related to other lessons.
In short order a new pedagogy was born — and its adoption throughout the world of education has been nothing short of astonishing.
Just eight years after the first example of a flipped classroom, the 2015 NMC Horizon Report has named the flipped classroom as one of the most important developments in educational technology for higher education, and lists the technology supporting the concept on a “one year or less” time to adoption horizon.
Why so soon? Because, as the report notes, for most academic institutions, the flipped classroom is already here. The report cites the Center for Digital Education’s survey of higher education instructors, which found:
In other words, already nearly one in three educators are flipping their classes. And by this time next year, more than half of all teachers will have flipped a course. No other technology strategy meant to provide students with a personalized learning experience comes close.
Today the flipped classroom has taken center stage among new strategies schools and universities can deploy to enhance student engagement and improve in-class results. Just eight years old, the flipped classroom concept today includes a variety of inverted classroom models, flipped lecture strategies, and tactical ideas for making the most of more interactive classroom time.
However it’s practiced, at its most fundamental level, the flipped classroom is just a simple twist on the traditional learning experience.
In the past, teachers devoted all or a significant portion of their class time to presenting information — most commonly as a lecture. Students all tried to take in the information at the same speed, then apply the day’s lesson in a following homework assignment.
Flipping the classroom simply asks the teacher to provide foundational lecture materials ahead of class time, most often in the form of a recorded presentation supported with readings. Students are then required to review that material as homework prior to coming to class.
The value of the flipped classroom strategy is the opportunity it creates for more interactive learning. Instead of asking every student to all learn at the same speed during an in-class lecture, a video lecture allows students to review the information at their own pace — even instantly rewind and repeat sections where they may have a question. Class time, then, can be reserved for deeper analysis of the subject, interactive activities and discussions, or even just for students to complete individual assignments — all with the benefit of having the teacher at hand and able to answer questions that come up or expand on related ideas.
A sample flipped classroom lecture recording
While many of the best-known flipped classroom case studies feature classrooms that have made flipping a daily part of the learning experience, increasingly, flipping has become a tool educators can turn to on a part-time basis, supporting their lessons as best fits the materials.
For part-time classroom flipping, the process is much the same — teachers record lectures and share them with the class for review ahead of time. Part-time flipping is proving exceptionally valuable both as a means for interested teachers to see how flipping might work in their courses, as well as to help teachers facilitate extended or more complicated lessons in a way that allows students to tailor the materials to their own needs.
While early flipped classrooms relied on individual teachers to record and post lecture videos on YouTube, most institutions today aren’t hoping their teachers will each invent their own flipped classroom solutions.
Rather, many schools are turning to flexible lecture capture video platforms already designed for academic video use, and adapting those tools to enable every faculty member to flip their classrooms as they see fit — with the technology they already know.
With Panopto, schools and universities can enable their teachers to easily record and share flipped classroom video lectures right from their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones — then instantly make those recordings searchable and shareable for students either directly in their institution’s Panopto video library or through an integrated learning management system.