The Flipped Classroom

I am starting to see lots of information about the “flipped classroom.”  This has grown out of the Kahn model, which was talked about at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) conference.  Here’s a link to learn more about TED and the Flipped Classroom.

It is the type of thing that I start to wonder about when it comes to education.  While in theory it works really well, it raises a whole host of questions.  Here are some that I have:

  • How much time does it take to prepare the videos that kids need to watch?
  • Does this span every grade level?  Or where should you start with this model?
  • What if there is no computer in the student’s home to watch?
  • How do you deal with the student who hasn’t bothered to do the homework?  (This is an age-old question, but I wonder how this works.)
  • What goes into the video?  It is just a teacher talking, is it clips that make things clearer to the kids?  How much “set design” do you have to do to make kids pay attention?

Here’s a link to a teacher, Mike Gorman, at 21st Education Technology and Learning.  He is also starting to think like this. There is some good information here.

Obviously I am in the nascent stages of learning about the flipped classroom.  But I find the whole concept fascinating.  How about you?  What do you already know that you can share?

10 thoughts on “The Flipped Classroom”

  1. Aaron Sams

    I’ve been using the Flipped Class model for about 6 years and have learned the hard way what to do and what not to do. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.

    >>I allow 3x the time of the recorded video to create it. So, a 10 minute video takes about 30 minutes to plan, record and edit. You can spend a lot more time than this, but I try to limit myself.

    >>I know teachers from elementary -college using some components of a flipped class to some extent. It looks very different in an elementary class than it does in a college class.

    >>Access: no internet, put vids on a flash drive. No computer, burn vids to a DVD. No DVD player, buy them one, they’re cheap. No electricity, provide access at school; vids don’t have to be viewed at home.

    >>Unmotivated students: do the same things you do for kids who don’t do homework now. Call home, talk to the student, find out why they don’t do it. OR don’t assign vids as homework, but make them an available learning resource for an asynchronous classroom.

    >>The sky is the limit for what goes in: screen recording, video clips from around the country or world, talking head, teacher posing an interesting question, teacher working out solutions to problems. Be creative, and use the video strategically to accomplish a specific learning goal. Don’t use a video for the sake of using a video.

    I would also welcome anyone reading this to join our network of teacher using the flipped class model at Share your ideas, learn from others, improve your craft.

  2. Crystal Kirch

    You have asked some really great questions. There is a great community of educators of all grade levels and subject areas that I have met around the web (twitter #flipclass, Edmodo teacher groups, etc) that are wonderful resources in getting started in your subject area. I also have a blogroll on the right hand side of my blog with a ton of flipping teachers in many content areas and grade levels.

    Personally, I teach high school math and have found it most successful with my honors-level students, although I am doing it this semester with my low-level CP Algebra 1 students. They are coming along and we will see how it goes by the end of the year.

    The first year there is a lot of prep time, although I know many teachers pair up to make the videos. I like personally making all my students’ videos, so I have put in a lot of time this year. Next year there won’t be nearly as much time needed, which I am looking forward to 🙂

    If there is no computer, there are a ton of ways to still share the videos – DVD’s, flash drives, etc. Classroom or school computers before/after school.

    You still have students who don’t do the hw, but the nice thing is I just stick them on a computer to watch the lesson and work with the kids in class who did come prepared. It is much less stressful dealing with absences because it is no longer my responsibility to get the lesson, it is there for them.

    I’ve seen a variety of different videos. For me, I go over basic vocab and information, and then work out sample problems. If I find a video clip that works well, I will add it to my playlist for the kids to watch as well. There isn’t one right way to make them. My students have to do a reflective assessment piece at the end of each video to make sure they were paying attention and are ready to discuss at the beginning of class.

    I am a first year flipper, so I am definitely still learning a lot, but I do post a lot on my blog of everything (good and bad) that is going on. Hopefully that can provide some insight as well.

  3. Brian E. Bennett (@bennettscience)

    I am a science (biology and chemistry) using a flipped classroom, and have been for the last two years. I just wanted to throw in a couple of thoughts in response to your questions:

    1) Flipping has been around much longer than Sal Khan’s TED talk. Granted, his talk did garner a lot of attention around flipping, but he is by no menas the originator, nor is his method (using the entire Khan Academy suite for teaching) the most successful. Dan Pink wrote about the flipped classroom (he actually coined the term “Flip”) back in September 2010. You can read the article here:

    2) Technology issues are much less prevalent than people assume. A friend of mine, Ramsey Musallam (who also teaches with a flipped classroom) asks, “How many of you check Facebook every day?” If they have access to Facebook, they have access to short videos.
    Other methods of distribution include having kids bring a USB drive for hard copies, downloading them at school, or even the teacher burning a DVD with the unit videos on it. I’ve been using a flipped classroom for two years and haven’t had issues with access yet.

    3) The flipped classroom lets you move away from “homework” and “classwork” in the traditional sense. We’re asking students to learn when it is appropriate for them. For some, they listen to the videos in class and complete all their other requirements without doing a shred of “homework.” Others listen to the videos at home and then ask questions in class. Still others watch the videos in class where they can ask questions, and then work on other assignments at home. The point is, students are driving their own learning, not the teacher. Reluctant learners still exist, but it is much harder for them to make excuses about why they’re not completing work.

    I hope this helps you sort out your questions. There is a great community of teachers flipping their classes on the web. I would suggest you check out the #flipclass hashtag on Twitter to start. We also have a #flipclass chat Monday nights at 8PM EST. We’d love to see you join in the conversation with us.


  4. John Chapman

    Check out Wikipedia “Flip Teaching” if you’d like more history on the flipped classroom.

    Q: How much time does it take to prepare the videos that kids need to watch?
    A: Check out the one take videos from FIZZ

    Q: Does this span every grade level? Or where should you start with this model?
    A: It applies to all grade levels but started with college and is very popular in the last few years in high schools.

    Q: What if there is no computer in the student’s home to watch?
    A: Students can watch on smart phone, computer at library, class after school, etc.

    Q: How do you deal with the student who hasn’t bothered to do the homework? (This is an age-old question, but I wonder how this works.)
    A: Watch

    Q: What goes into the video? It is just a teacher talking, is it clips that make things clearer to the kids? How much “set design” do you have to do to make kids pay attention?
    A: Not much is required if you’re in the picture, per the FIZZ method. Some do screen capture on a presentation with the teacher talking. Most important is keep it short and focused.

    Watch the videos in this playlist for more flip classroom video FAQs:

    IMHO, the most important part is that flip teaching gives time for project based learning and differentiated instruction. If you’re not using the class time well, then you won’t see the benefit.

  5. Ina Levin

    Thanks to all of you for your responses. This is going to be so helpful! I can hardly wait to delve deeper into the subject. I will definitely be looking more into the network for this. I already have learned a lot just by reading these comments.

  6. Tracie Heskett

    This is a great discussion with plenty of resources to read further about flipped classrooms. When I started reading about this strategy a few days ago, I had many of the same questions posted here. Now I understand more how this works.

  7. Brandi Whitewolf

    As a former Technology Curriculum Specialist, I love how flipped classrooms have increased interaction and participation, as well as promoted content retainment.

    I’ve since moved roles and am an associate producer for The Smart Girls Channel on Youtube. We have recently launched a new show called “Girls of the World” that elucidates how different girls from a myriad of cultures, ethnicities, and groups utilize their heritage and intelligence in being themselves. For classrooms, it serves as a great resource for students to learn geography and culture from kids their age.

  8. Bruno Benarrous

    The above tips are great. I teach high school math and I am looking to use flipping with my calculus & geometry classes. Given that students learn at their own pace, how do you keep track of student progress and create milestones by which to test the class as a whole? For benchmarks and final exams?

  9. Felicia Pickrel

    Hello all,
    I am new to working towards a flipped classroom. I now have a Promethean board and iPads for my classroom. I currently am teaching Biology at Appomattox County High School in Virginia. I have also taught Honors Biology and Environmental Science. Honors Biology will change to Pre-AP Biology next year with AP Biology coming on board the following year. I am unsure and a little overwhelmed in getting started. Is anyone willing to be a mentor? I can e-mail, call, Skype or whatever is needed. Please feel free to contact me
    Thank you

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