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What to consider when flipping the K-12 classroom

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
February 28th, 2013

Flipped learning is not without its challenges–most notably, access to devices and the internet.

Flipping the classroom is one of the top trends in school reform, with more and more teachers trying the approach in an attempt to boost student engagement and achievement.

The concept is simple: Teachers create or find online short videos that explain a lesson or concept, and students watch the videos at home. Students then come to class the next day prepared to complete “homework” during class time.

Supporters say the flipped classroom model works because students aren’t struggling to finish assignments at home without the help of a teacher should problems or confusion arise. Teachers are able to spend less time lecturing and more time helping students.

Start off slow—one or two things at a time,” advised Gwynn Loftin, an educator with Highland Park Independent School District in Texas, during a Texas Computer Education Association 2013 conference session. “You are going to have bumps and bruises along the way, but it is so very much worth it.”

For more coverage of TCEA 2013, see:

New ed-tech products abound at TCEA 2013

How one school district deployed 10,000 iPads in five weeks

Tips for using Pinterest in the classroom

Even the most pro-flipping educators may experience some discomfort with the process. “The teacher’s role changes; you’re not the center of attention anymore, and for some of us that’s hard to get used to. You become a player on the side,” Loftin said.

Loftin’s district has flipped lessons about the planets, poetry, and social studies, using a website or tool such as Moodle or Edmodo to house videos, blogs, and assignments; and video creation tools or video sites such as YouTube, Brain Pop, Khan Academy, or LearnZillion.

On the other hand, flipping the classroom presents challenges for students who might not have access to internet-enabled devices, or the internet itself, at home, and who therefore encounter obstacles when they try to watch their teacher’s video.

(Next page: How one district overcomes access obstacles)

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2 Responses to “What to consider when flipping the K-12 classroom”

jeffpatterson
March 4, 2013

My 7th grade daughter’s teacher implemented a flipped classroom in her math class last year. I’m sure the teacher thought it was great, but my daughter thought that the teacher just stopped teaching.

I suspect that the hype and reality about flipped classrooms are mis-matched. At the very least, the students should be part of the discussion about a flipped classroom. Students need context to understand why it’s different.

I also suspect that a flipped classroom will only work with very motivated learners. That probably describes less than 50% of middle-schoolers.