Dispelling the Myths About Flipped Learning

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 -- Scott Sterling

As flipped learning grows in momentum across the country and around the world, there are still some teachers not willing to at least give it a try. Whether the myths they hold onto were generated by their own understanding of the concept or were spread to them by others, the more people come to understand what flipped learning is, the fewer reasons there are not to give it serious consideration.

You might have heard some of these reasons from the non-flipped segment:

You have to be technologically savvy to flip your classroom.

Yes and no. It helps to have some sort of repository to organize your video materials and send the students to when needed. If you are not comfortable with setting up a classroom website or Moodle outpost, just use a subscription channel on YouTube. Blocked from YouTube? Use a dedicated Twitter feed or Facebook group. This new era is all about sharing information and there are plenty of solutions out there to make it possible, even for people who are less than technologically advanced.

I work in a disadvantaged school. Most of my kids don’t have a computer.

It’s true that your students need some sort of device to watch the videos outside of school - otherwise the concept is useless. Did you know that one of the pioneers of flipped learning, Jon Bergmann, was teaching at a rural school when he came up with the idea? 40% of his students didn’t have the Internet at home at the time. He found ways to get his kids the information, including burning DVDs. There are so many more options available now than there were back then. Take a poll before you flip to see what resources your kids do have at their disposal and remind them about options they might forget about, like the public library.

It only works for some subjects.

You’re right. If your subject has no knowledge or information that you would like the kids to learn outside of class - freeing up class time for real practice and discussion - then flipped learning won’t work for you. But if your subject has skills and background knowledge that usually takes up class time and can be just as effectively shared online, flipping is for you. The concept has grown so large that with just a little web searching, you can find examples of flipped classrooms from gym teachers to chorus instructors.

I don’t want to put my own content out on the web.

That’s understandable. Some teachers are worried about everyone having access to their lessons. Others get a little self-conscious when filming themselves. What they are forgetting is that there is already plenty of content out there just waiting to be linked to. Some videos come from highly recognized organizations and universities, while others are from regular teachers making videos based on the same subject you’re teaching. Making your own content is no longer the only option.