Is a Flipped Classroom Right for Me?

The strategy of the flipped classroom is credited to two Colorado chemistry teachers. In 2007, they started live recording their lectures and demonstrations for students who had to miss class due to extra-curricular activities. Since then, teachers of all grade levels and disciplines have embraced flipped instruction as a means to deliver introductory instruction outside of class. This approach frees up classroom time for hands-on lessons, collaborative activities, and teacher/student one-on-one work.

In 2013, the Flipped Learning NetworkTM created an executive summary after a comprehensive review of research focused on flipped instruction. Their findings showed that, in general, flipped classroom teachers reported:

  • higher student achievement
  • increased student engagement
  • better student attitudes toward learning
  • improved and re-energized job satisfaction

If you’ve considered introducing flipped instruction into your classroom, remember this: It doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing teaching strategy. You can start small, with one lesson, in one subject, to get a feel for what it takes to create a flipped lesson and how your students respond. Consider these additional insights about the flipped classroom to help you decide if flipping would be a good opportunity for you and your students.

Give Flipping a Try

A flipped classroom may be a fit for your teaching style if…

  • you find that much of your instruction time is focused on low-level information or procedures that students could learn independently
  • you feel like hands-on activities, group discussions, and one-on-one conversations better illustrate which students “get it” and which students need additional instruction
  • you’re looking for learning options for students who learn at their own pace (either ahead of or more slowly than other students) or students who are absent from class

If you’re trying to gauge the viability of flipped learning, it’s understandable that you might not want to invest too much time into creating an instructional video of your own. If you’re not ready for the spotlight just yet, there are fantastic options available for fun and engaging instructional videos covering all subjects. Additionally, many supplemental tools you’re already using, like eBooks, can be easily turned into flipped learning tools.

You May Want to Skip the Flip

Flipped instruction may not be the best option for your class if…

  • the population of your class is made up of students who lack access to the Internet outside of school
  • you prefer a more active teaching style than recorded lectures
  • your teaching style requires the immediate feedback of students’ reactions and responses

Start with an In-Class Flip

If a traditional flipped classroom doesn’t feel quite right to you, you can still try out the overall concept by creating an in-class flip. Jennifer Gonzalez, former middle school language arts teacher and current educational technology blogger, outlines the in-class flip in an article for Edutopia.

Instead of sending your students home with an instructional video assignment, the video lecture can be viewed in class as part of a series of stations based on your lesson topic. Your students can move from the video lecture to a collaborative work station and then to an independent activity.

You won’t have the benefit of gaining extra in-class time, but using an in-class flip allows for instruction to happen on its own, while the teacher interacts with the class and gauges how students are absorbing the information. In-class flipping also allows for immediate conversation if a student has questions, instead of waiting until the next day.

An in-class flip does take some preparation. You’ll need to pay special attention to how the stations will flow and what pre-learning activities you can set up for the students who haven’t had a turn viewing the video.

Answer a few simple questions to see if flipping your classroom will be successful for you:

 

Flipped Classroom Flowchart

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