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The Fipped Classroom

Posted by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM
  • 1 Replies
Most of the time, talk of more technology in the classroom earns a giant eyeroll from me. This is because many folks don't understand the breadth and the depth of the learning that ought to be happening on the classroom. Much of the technology being used these days only serves to speed up linear learning. Yeah, kids might learn material faster and bang through tests quicker. But that which the children "learn" never becomes their own.


This article I just read provides a model for using tech that I can really get behind. And, done well, I'd have to admit is likely superior to any other classroom model I've seen.
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM
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by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:57 PM
The Flipped Classroom: Chaos or Cutting Edge?
By Roberta Munoz
Updated on Aug 28, 2013

Upside-down instruction? Topsy-turvy teaching? Educational theories come and go so quickly that it can be hard for parents to keep up. The “flipped classroom” model of instruction has been around for a few years and is starting to catch on—but its moniker doesn’t tell you much. What is a flipped classroom, and what does it mean for parents?

How It Works
The flipped classroom model uses technology to move lectures outside the classroom. Instead of a teacher standing in front of a class throwing out facts, students absorb key info at home on a computer or other device, leaving more time for active learning in the classroom. Hence, the classroom is “flipped.” Instead of learning material in class and practicing at home, students learn at home and practice in class. Some educators have described this as replacing the “sage on the stage” with a “guide on the side.”

How It Started
The idea started as a way “to increase the value of our in-class time with our students,” says Aaron Sams, one of the originators of the flipped classroom theory. “We committed to pre-record all lessons … and continued to refine our model from there. At some point along the way, others began calling what we were doing ‘flipped,’ and we became the flipped classroom guys.”

Educational Technology
Technology is a key feature of the flipped classroom model. Teachers, like Sams, can make video lessons for students to watch at home. Ideally, this allows students to more easily retain the information because they can pause and rewind at will. Students who learn quickly won’t get bored, and students who need more time don’t get left behind.

Tip for parents: If this sounds like too much tech, work toward a healthy balance. “Kids fill a lot of time with less-than-educational screen time,” Sams says. “I'm okay asking a student to watch 15 minutes less of silly YouTube videos and asking them to replace those 15 minutes with my educational YouTube video.”
Project-Based Learning
The goal of the flipped model is to bring more active learning into the classroom. Hands-on projects, questions and answers, and other forms of give-and-take instruction are done in a group setting with teachers and peers present to help.

Tip for parents: You may worry you’re being cut out of the learning loop, with less homework and fewer projects to help with. But parent participation is still crucial. Create a quiet study space at home, and watch lessons along with your little learner whenever possible. Kari Arfstrom, the executive director of the Flipped Learning Network, says that when parents participate at home, they gain a better understanding of what works for their kids.
Student-Centered Instruction
According to a report by the Flipped Learning Network, one of the core principles of the flipped classroom is the idea of student-centered instruction. In this model, teaching is driven more by the learning styles of individual students rather than a curriculum timeline.

Tip for parents: Adjusting the pace of learning and creating personal goals can look like slacking off to some—but several case studies cited in the report suggest that this method improves outcomes. Let your child absorb information at her own pace and don’t be discouraged if she needs to watch or replay a lesson. That’s what flipped learning is for.
Flexible Format
Along with personalized learning, flipped learning calls for a more “free-form” classroom environment that’s focused on student needs, not test-oriented goals. “The greatest benefit is the teacher being able to spend time with each student every day to address individual learning needs,” Sams says. One-on-one time with a teacher is especially beneficial to struggling students.

Tip for parents: This beehive of activity can look chaotic at times, but it’s a sign that dynamic learning is taking place. Pay attention to educational outcomes rather than superficial appearances. If the flipped model has recently come to your child’s school, be patient. Students may need time to adjust.
There’s no rule book for a flipped classroom—but there are guiding principles. Teachers, schools and districts may interpret and implement these principles differently. If the flipped model is coming to your child’s school, feel free to ask questions and offer suggestions about how this new educational style can benefit your child.
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