Over the last few years, the flipped classroom has rapidly gained popularity among teachers and school administrators. According to recent studies, 1 in 5 teachers are considering flipping their classrooms, with 1 in 4 school administrators are interested in implementing this trend. And according to the THE Journal, the number of active members on the Flipped Learning Network’s Ning site has grown from just 2,500 to more than 15,000 since January 2012.
But what is a flipped classroom, exactly?
In flipped classrooms, also known as inverted classrooms, students review lecture materials before class as homework. In-class time is dedicated to discussions, interactive exercises, and independent work that would have previously been completed at home — all under the guidance of the teacher, who is present and available to respond to any questions that may arise.
The materials reviewed prior to class can take the form of recorded lectures, curated videos, reading assignments, video broadcasts — any material that the instructor assigns as relevant to the topic at hand.
Why are teachers flipping for the flipped classroom?
What makes the flipped classroom so compelling for many instructors is the improvement in the student experience. Flipping the classroom enables educators to improve the classroom experience in a number of ways.
- Flipped classes allow students to consume lecture materials at their own pace. Unlike traditional lectures in which students are beholden to the instructor’s pace, students in flipped classrooms can rewind and replay the video as many times as needed in order to improve their understanding of difficult concepts.
- Students apply new knowledge using the instructor as a resource. In traditional classroom environments, students usually apply new knowledge on their own through homework. There are two problems with this traditional approach. First, students at home typically do not have access to resources for help or questions if any problems arise. Second, when students turn in incomplete or incorrect homework, instructors have little insight into what went wrong. By bringing homework into the classroom, students are able to get help quickly, and teachers can identify common problem areas in order to adjust material accordingly.
- Flipping the classroom works. A growing number of studies show that flipped classroom scenarios can improve student achievement in nearly any subject. According to the Flipped Learning Network, 71% of teachers who flipped their classes noticed improved grades, and 80% reported improved student attitudes as a result. What’s more, 99% of teachers who flipped their classes reported that they would flip their classes again the following year.
For educators planning to make the flip, one question to resolve is the technology needed to deliver course content to their students. Video plays a major role in the majority of flipped classrooms, and as such, schools must consider the platform used to record and stream video content to their students. Without a plan to manage the technical aspects of managing a flipped classroom, educators risk limiting the benefits to this new pedagogical style.
If you’re interested in knowing what technology you’ll need to flip your classes, download our latest free white paper, So You’ve Decided to Flip Your Classroom: 5 Technology Considerations You’ll Need to Succeed. In it, you’ll learn the foundational strategy for inverted classrooms, along with the five most important technologies schools should consider when researching or implementing the flip.