Does Flipping the Classroom Give You More Time for 1:1 Instruction?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 -- Scott Sterling

No (voluntary) movement in education has more steam behind it right now than the concept of the flipped classroom. And just like other educational trends throughout the years, there are the early adopters who view it as a panacea for their classroom woes and then there are those educators who cautiously cling to the same workbooks they’ve been using for decades.

Like most ideas, the potential of the flipped classroom probably lies somewhere in the middle.

In short, a flipped classroom is one in which the background learning of a particular topic or skill occurs outside of class time - utilizing technological tools like videos and podcasts to teach the essential skills. This leaves the class time free to work collaboratively on the higher-order thinking needed to utilize the skills.

One of the big draws to the concept is the potential for class time to be reallocated to target struggling learners with more individualized instruction. When implemented correctly, flipped instruction does provide that opportunity, but there are various pitfalls that can pop up if not planned for in advance.

Here’s some things you want to keep in mind to maximize your class time when flipping:

Make sure your flipping tools include monitoring participation.

We’ve all known students who simply refuse to do their homework but still somehow perform on tests and in-class tasks. Those students are now at a significant disadvantage in the flipped classroom because their “homework” is receiving the background information. Whether you are using podcasts, videos, or some other technology to disseminate your skills information, you want a way to see which students are accessing the data consistently.

Include tasks that can serve as formative assessment.

If you include a small “learning check” task to go along with the video or podcast, like a short post to a class message board, you can start the class knowing not only who did their “homework”, but whether they actually grasped the presented concept. Then you can identify those students who might need more help that day and budget class time more effectively.

Let the class be the teacher.

The highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is the ability to teach a skill yourself. If you’ve included a formative task in the “homework”, you not only know who needs help but also who you can rely on to help the class better understand the task. When the students teach each other, everyone benefits!

Have you flipped?  Share your success story with Edmentum via the comments section below.

Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox