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

About the Author:

Aaron Sams has been an educator since 2000. He operates the education consulting firm Sams Learning Designs, is an Adjunct Professor at Saint Vincent College, and serves as an advisor to TED-Ed. In 2009 he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching while teaching Chemistry in Woodland Park, CO, and serving as co-chair of the Colorado State Science Standards Revision Committee. Aaron has co-authored seven books on the flipped classroom concept. You can follow him on Twitter @ChemicalSams.

Justin Aglio is the Director of Innovation at Montour School District in Pennsylvania. Recently, he was mentioned as a 2016 “Edtech and Elearning Top 100 Influencer” by Onalytica. He was honored by the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology as the 2014 Outstanding Leader of the Year. In 2013, ISTE named him as an Emerging Leader. He was one of three featured principals in the book Best Practices of Literacy Leaders: Keys to School Improvement. Justin is a board member of The Flipped Learning Network, an advisor for the Carnegie Science Center, a member of the Remake Learning Network, and co-organizer of EdCampPGH. You can follow him on Twitter @JustinAglio.