What is flipped learning? You might wonder why we’re asking, because the phrase is pretty universally known. But while the term is recognizable, definitions vary–and the wrong idea about flipped learning could be detrimental to schools.
At ISTE 2017, flipped learning pioneer Jon Bergmann introduced session attendees to Flipped Learning 3.0, and described the 8 principles that are crucial to any school’s flipped learning journey.
If you don’t know what flipped learning is, or if you want to get a solid grip on the concept before you present it to your teachers, here’s a primer.
In traditional classrooms, the teacher uses group space and time to instruct, and students use individual space at home to complete homework and other assigned activities. In flipped environments, students use their individual/at-home time to access learning and instructional material with a device. In the group space during class time, students are actively engaged in learning activities, though not always with a device.
Bergmann referenced the Flipped Learning Network’s definition as a pretty solid explanation for educators who are unsure: “Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”
(Next page: The 8 guiding principles for effective flipped environments)
Flipped learning is evolving because of research, classroom innovation and new technologies.
Whereas educators asked about teacher and student satisfaction and achievement in flipped learning 1.0, flipped learning 3.0 focuses its questions on the effect of drawing or questions in flipped videos, the optimal time between individual work and group work, and the impact gamification has on a flipped classroom.
School leaders hoping to bring flipped learning to scale in their classrooms should keep in mind eight very important principles as they begin their journey.
1. Teacher buy-in: “This is absolutely critical; it’s the mindset change–you have to convince your teachers to change their minds about what a classroom looks like,” Bergmann said. Key questions often include what is the best use of face-to-face class time, and as Bergmann mention, it is not direct instruction. “Start with the WHY you need it, and then get to the HOW you’ll implement it. Find a teacher who is afraid of technology and who is well-respected–if you can get him to flip his class, everyone else will, too.”
2. Pedagogical change: This is at the heart of why flipped learning works–it creates an active place of learning, and it’s authentic in nature and helps foster better relationships between teachers and students. “If you flip your class/school, your teachers will have better relationships with their students. Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care [about them], Bergmann said.
3. Stakeholder buy-in: Getting parents and students to buy in to flipped learning can be a challenge, because change is hard for everybody. “Some students like passive learning,” Bergmann said. “Getting them into active learning is difficult. Think about how to take people through process of change–what should you communicate?” Explaining how flipped learning changes Bloom’s Taxonomy, and spreading the message to parents that teachers will have more time to spend with all the kids and will be helping students one-on-one, helps.
4. Learning spaces: “Principals, your classrooms won’t look traditional. Instead, you will have more collaboration, more movement and more activity. It’s important to get buy-in for that,” he said.
5. Technology: Flipped has technological components, but the key overarching principle is simplicity. “Find simple tools any teacher could use–so many platforms today work with flipped learning in easy ways,” Bergmann advised. “It’s very important that you think through the simplest workflow given your IT infrastructure.”
6. Time: This is likely the most important principle for school leaders, Bergmann said. “Finding time to change and providing time for teachers is something you can do by being creative. Make it a priority.”
7. Teacher evaluation: “How we evaluate teachers is going to have to change in a flipped environment, because so may of the rubrics measure teaching the old way,” he said. “It’s broken in a flipped environment. Flipped learning features active places of learning, so how does a principal judge that? You have to rethink evaluations.”
8. Training: “In this day and age there’s no excuse for not being well-trained on flipped learning,” Bergmann said.
“It’s time to begin to think about how we change; it’s time to accept that the future of education is going to be different from the past,” Bergmann said.