Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Flipped classroom: 60-second elevator pitch

Flipped classroom explained in 60 seconds
I recently attended a school in the North West to discuss the uses of mobile learning in supporting GCSE revision. As the conversation unfolded it turned out that teaching staff were not just interested in the independent applications of mobile technology but also what it could offer classroom teaching and learning.

After a short discussion to identify their school’s particular requirements, a colleague referenced the flipped classroom. While the surge in interest in the field has been overwhelming, a few of the SMT sitting alongside were unsure of what this meant. Not wanting to bore those who were familiar with the term, I set about explaining the basic principles in the form of an elevator pitch.

The meeting was a success and we are currently working in partnership with the school on several projects, including a pilot scheme to trial flipped learning. After the meeting, I was inspired by the challenge to define the flipped classroom in 60 seconds or less, which led me to offer this short and concise overview to help you if you are met with this challenge.

Please note: This should be regarded as a basic definition of the flipped classroom; it is not intended to offer a comprehensive account. For more information on the common key criticisms, best practice applications and to watch video case studies on its application in UK classrooms visit LearnersCloud.blog.com.

The easiest way to define a flipped classroom is to think about it in comparison to a traditional class.*

In a traditional class students usually get first exposure to course content inside the classroom via direct instructions from their teacher. For example, the first time they hear about Mitosis and Meiosis or Pythagoras’s Theorem is when their teacher delivers a lecture on it in class time.

In a flipped classroom that first exposure to content happens before the class meets. Students prepare for a lesson by doing some sort of preparatory activity: for example, watching a tutor-led lesson video or by completing a reading assignment.

During class, students work on applying the key concepts or ideas that they covered in their preparatory tasks and assignments. They interact with their peers and instructors while in the lesson, demonstrating their level of knowledge and understanding. The teacher is able to clarify misconceptions and help facilitate effective collaborative working.

The cycle completes after the lesson when students use the feedback and interpretations taken from their lesson time to further advance their learning. They can review certain concepts and ideas that they found challenging first time round and work through their misunderstandings with the support gained from their peers and teacher.

Consistent throughout the flipped classroom approach is a focus on the key learning objectives: what students should know and what they should be able to demonstrate with the content being studied.

What is a flipped classroom in 60-seconds? (14-sec intro and conclusion)



*Schell, J., "What is a flipped classroom? (in 60 seconds)", Turn to your neighbor, April 22, 2013, http://blog.peerinstruction.net/2013/04/22/what-is-a-flipped-classroom-in-60-seconds/