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Benefits of a Flipped Classroom

Posted by Darlene Waite
Darlene Waite
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on Friday, January 13, 2012 in K-12 General Interest

Have you ever tried to do a complex task while other people were watching you? I'm sure we've all had moments like this. My first experience with this was when I was doing my student teaching.  I remember standing at the blackboard (Yes a blackboard...not a whiteboard) demonstrating to my students how to do a math problem.  I had planned my accounting lesson well, and what I was demonstrating was simple math.  But when I stood in front of those 9th graders, I froze.  My students were amused.

Why doesn't it occur to us that this same thing is happening in many K-12 classrooms to our students? Imagine being a student, sitting there with 30 or so of your peers, trying to solve some of the most complex math equations most people will ever have to solve in their lives. I'd be scared to death or at least extremely uncomfortable!  Furthermore, imagine that you have an adult standing over you saying "Do you understand this? It's going to be on the test later."  Yikes!

That story is the foundation of an emerging trend in K-12 education, and it's called the "flipped classroom". Basically, the flipped classroom model means that teachers make videos of their lectures, post them online, and then have their students watch the lectures at home.

The next day when the students are at school, they run through example problems and have the students collaborate on their work. This way, what is normally homework gets completed at school, and the usual classroom lecture is absorbed by the students at home.  The teacher becomes the guide on the side and the students are engaged in their learning.  This format for the class is labeled a "flipped classroom".

The flipped classroom model has several advantages:

  • Students receive instant feedback. Class time can be used to explain difficult concepts instead of rushing through a lecture.
  • Students don't get frustrated. If  students  face a difficult problem, their teacher is available to help, unlike with regular homework.
  • More one-on-one time with kids. Teachers can answer questions from individual students and explain difficult concepts.

While the concept of a flipped classroom is still new, it is already showing results. A study published in Science last spring shows that a group of undergrads enrolled in a flipped classroom came away with "increased student attendance, higher engagement, and more than twice the learning" as compared to the regular, control class.

Although flipped classes are certainly not the solution to every issue in K-12 education, we here at VARtek support any use of technology that helps students learn!

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Michael Hosford Friday, January 13, 2012

This is really good information. Especially the Salman Khan TED talk link. The fact that Bill Gates comes on stage and supports this as the future of education speaks volumes of why this not-for-profit structure is so powerful. A board member of my company suggested I use this Khan Academy tool with my son a couple of years ago and it's had a positive impact with his education. Salman Khan is an incredible genius that is having a postive impact on millions of students worldwide and doing it for free. He has the keen ability to take complex problems and explains them in a way that is understandable be leveraging the technology resources that are now commonly available to most students and parents.

Michael Hosford
Michael Hosford
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Michael Hosford Tuesday, January 17, 2012


You are absolutely on target. While I've not used the term "flipped classroom," what you are speaking to is exactly what I've been trying to express to my follow teachers for years (I should have had you speaking for me long ago). It's a paradigm shift. It changes the role of the teacher from the one who holds all of the knowledge and who disseminates it as he/she sees fit to a classroom where the teacher is a facilitator of learning -- presenting concepts and allowing students to explore various avenues of discovery learning. You mentioned your student teaching years. All of us remember those days! Forget all of the Education Theory classes! There was no “theory” when I stood in front of those students for the first time. They looked to me to provide them with guidance and information. What has changed since I did my student teaching is that students still look to the teacher for guidance, but information . . . well, that’s a different story. No longer is the teacher the “gate keeper.” Students have, at their fingertips, more information than we could have ever imagined. That’s not a bad thing. Quite the contrary, but they still need to be guided. Limitless information is not, by itself, a positive thing, but unlimited information opportunities combined with a skilled teacher to guide student learning creates an environment that we can all be excited about!

UKsuperiorpapers Friday, May 11, 2012

I think what you have here with the "cycle of learning" is the start of smth much more important than just "flipping." Flipping is a baby step, that won’t get us to where we want . It’s not a bad thing because it provides several new capabilities, but it fits in the existing model and that’s where the trouble is. Thanks!

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