3 ways the flipped classroom leads to better subject mastery

By Aaron Sams and Justin Aglio
August 15th, 2016

Flipping is more than a buzzword. It helps teachers personalize lessons, assessments, and reporting

flipped classroom

Now that the buzz about flipped learning is calming and the novelty is wearing off, the time has come to dig a little deeper into the natural outcomes of flipping. Specifically, flipping can change the type of work students complete and the way in which class time will be used; it can modify the nature of assessment, and it can alter the way in which teachers will report student work.

First and foremost, we should define some terms. On the most basic level, flipped learning occurs when instructors make use of video lectures outside the class in order to bring what was being done in the homework space back into the classroom. In short: lecture at home, homework in class.

Much of the conversation about flipping has focused on using teacher-created video as an instructional tool, but the real benefit of flipping the classroom does not come from video. The true benefit comes from using videos as a teaching tool to deliver direct instruction at home so teachers are free to reinvent classroom time.

Truly personalized learning

Inevitably, a teacher who is new to flipping will use materials from previous years. In fact, beginning flippers often change only the time and space in which content is delivered and practice is completed. One main benefit of this basic form of a flipped classroom is that, instead of students completing homework assignments outside the observation of the teacher, they now complete all work under the direct supervision of the classroom teacher. Thus, in a flipped class, the time that a teacher once spent delivering new content can be used catching and correcting each student’s misconceptions.

One way to foster student engagement and to facilitate active learning is to give students the opportunity to choose what they will do to learn and practice. But teachers should also use professional judgement in the extent to which they offer choice. Limited choices are more appropriate for most learners than absolute autonomy. One practical way to facilitate limited choice is through choice boards or selecting from a list.

Flipped classrooms give students the time to explore what they need to learn, and new ed tech programs are helping teachers give students choices both in and out of the classroom. For example, software like ClassFlow allows educators to create and deliver lessons, assignments, and assessments. When students have anytime, anywhere access to content, learning can take place beyond the classroom and become truly personalized.

Next page: Bringing student choice to assessment

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