What is a Flipped Classroom

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Of all the impacts technology has had on education in the past few years, the idea of a flipped classroom has arguably had the most influence and gained the biggest following. But what is a flipped classroom and how do you implement this idea in your class?

What is a flipped classroom?

The term flipped refers to the format of the class. In a traditional course, content delivery happens during the scheduled class time (usually via lectures or readings) and the real learning activities (problem sets, projects, etc.) are done as homework.

In a flipped classroom, that relationship is exactly reversed. Students access the content resources before they come to class, using pre-recorded video lectures and other online tools, and then they use class time for the hands-on learning activities that are usually considered homework.

What are the benefits of a flipped classroom?

The flipped classroom has many benefits for students. Here are a few of the major advantages of this model:

Students learn at their own pace

In a traditional classroom, there is one pace and one method of delivery, which may not be right for all learners. For example, traditional lectures may be too fast or too slow, and it is usually impossible for teachers to tell if students are truly understanding.

In a flipped classroom, students watch the lectures on their own, so they can skip over parts they already know or stop, rewind, and re-watch any content they don’t immediately understand.

Flipped classrooms reduce academic disparities

In a traditional classroom, slower students are often left behind or forced to move to the next level before they are ready. Over time, this can lead to great academic disparities in classes.

In a flipped classroom, because students learn at their own pace, they all have an equal opportunity. Slower students can take the time they need to master the concepts. This reduces academic disparities and gives all students the chance to succeed.

Students have more interaction with the teacher and with one another

Interaction is key to successful learning, and traditional, lecture-based classes offer very little opportunity for this essential component.

In flipped classrooms, students spend the entire class time interacting -- with the content, with the teacher, and with other students. They can ask questions, solve problems, and engage in the types of activities that make learning meaningful.

How do you implement a flipped classroom?

With the educational technologies available today, any classroom can be flipped. All teachers need to do is put their course materials online and design collaborative learning activities to be completed in class, rather than at home.

Here are some options for creating digital course materials:

  • Video Lectures. Anyone today can create a video lecture using nothing but the webcam on their computer, or even a smartphone or mobile tablet.
  • Podcasts. If you don’t want to be on a video, you can use online tools to create audio podcasts.
  • Presentations and tutorials. Another option is using screenshare software to create presentations and tutorials.
  • Pdf. Finally, text-based materials can be put into pdf for easy uploading and downloading.

After you’ve created the course materials, you need to put them into a format so your students can access them online. Again, there are many ways to do this, but an online course creator is the easiest -- all you have to do is upload the materials into the software and then your students can login and access them.

Many teachers are starting to adopt the flipped classroom model, and the reason is that it works. Studies have shown that flipped learning is both more engaging and more effective. With digital tools and online course creators, it is easy to apply the principles of flipped learning to any course. Why not try it today?

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