Flipping Over the Flipped Classroom

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve been doing a lot of research into the concept and practice of the Flipped Classroom model.  For anyone unfamiliar with this, I’ll spare you the details.  If you do a quick Google search you’ll be all caught up.  I actually tend to like the model in principle, however it is those principles that need to be defined.  If our view of the flipped classroom is simply switching the location of the teacher directed instruction vs. the student directed element, I feel that this has limited impact besides being logistically favourable for the teacher and potentially providing more support for students when they are working.

In order for the flipped model to be transformative, the pedagogy that it is flipping must first be transformed.  In essence, flipping an ineffective learning model is equally ineffective.  So if your plan is to post a video of yourself delivering a lesson so that students can watch it at home and then have them complete worksheets when they get back to class, you may want to save yourself the time required to make the video.

Flipping is less about the location and type of work being completed, and more about making really great use of the scarce time available with our students.  In a three part math lesson for example, or in an inquiry based lesson, I need to ask myself, which element of this learning opportunity is the one least requiring my direct support?  Can I use a digital tool to deliver or help complete this element?  Does the use of the digital tool allow me to maximize collaboration and communication?  Does it allow me to spend valuable time facilitating learning with my students (whether in person or not)?  Also, shouldn’t there be an element of student content as well; changing how they communicate and changing the tasks themselves to be more collaborative in nature?  I think yes.

Perhaps the difficulty is in the term “flipped” since it implies simply switching something pre-existing?  Perhaps Digitally Distilled is more fitting?  I have been accused of saying in two words what could have been said in one however. 🙂

  1. heather says:

    You make a good point. We struggled with this in our Action Research Committee 2 years ago when flipping was ‘the’ thing to do in the class.

  2. Royan Lee says:

    Thank you for your bi-annual blogpost. I’ve been waiting a long time.

    I feel like your awesome sentiments can be applied to almost any discussion we have about tech, especially of the new variety. For instance, I just replaced the word ‘flipped’ with ‘iPad’ and, voila, it still makes sense!

    Love ya, bro!

  3. paulaniceto says:

    “In order for the flipped model to be transformative, the pedagogy that it is flipping must first be transformed. In essence, flipping an ineffective learning model is equally ineffective.”

    Yes. I hear you on this. I agree pedagogy must inform how technology is used. Not ‘flipped’ the other way…

    But I wonder about what we feel we need to transform pedagogy into? Something that is overall more responsive? Less of a banking model?

    When questioning the ‘usefulness’ of a digital tool I often ask myself: Can the digital tool be used effectively by students to help make their thinking visible?

    Thanks for pushing my thinking.

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