Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

The Flipped Class Manifest

CJ Westerberg, July 9, 2013 9:58 PM


Photo: Document with Red Line by Dukeii

(Editor's Note: The conversation and interest in the flipped class continues . . . From our very first post about this topic in January 2011 to date (3/30/13), The Daily Riff has received 250,000+ views to related posts which are linked below -  extending to over 100 countries.  Today's post is authored by
eight notable advocates for the flipped classroom. Thanks goes to our guest post contributors, and of course, our avid readers.  Disclosure: The Daily Riff is not financially affiliated in any way with the flipped class.  - C.J. Westerberg)

"The Flipped Classroom is an intentional shift of content
which in turn helps move students
back to the center of learning
rather than the products of schooling.

The Flipped Class Manifest

The "Flipped Classroom" is a term that has recently taken root in education.  Much information and misinformation currently surrounds the conversation.  We, as outspoken advocates for the "Flipped Classroom" concept, believe the following:

What Does "Flip" Imply?

"Flip" is a verb. We are actively transferring the responsibility and ownership of learning from the teacher to the students in a Flipped Classroom. When students have control over how they learn content, the pace of their learning, and how their learning is assessed, the learning belongs to them.  Teachers become guides to understanding rather than dispensers of facts, and students become active learners rather than receptacles of information.

Secondly, we are flipping the instructional process and using technology to "time-shift" direct instruction where appropriate. Direct instruction (or lecture) is still a valuable tool for teachers in some cases. Rather than relying on lecture, we simply utilize the process where appropriate to help reach a learning goal.

For instance, suppose you are teaching a lesson where students at some point will need to use technology to use a linear regression on their data. Ideally they collected data in a "real-world" environment using inquiry-based, collaborative learning methods.  At some instance they may need run a linear regression on the data. It would not be appropriate to say, "Just explore your TI-84 and discover how to do a linear regression." Most likely, students will become frustrated  and give up on the project.  In this case, they will need direct instruction on how to do a linear regression.  In others, there may need to be some remedial instruction on the procedure involved.

You could take valuable class time and have everyone get their calculator and follow you step-by-step, with some students bored and ahead, and some students behind.  You need
to stop class and get students caught up if they missed a step. Then a day, week, or month later, you will need to go through the steps again to remind kids of the process.  Or you could create a simple five-minute video showing the steps to enter data and run a linear regression. This is a permanent archived tutorial. Advanced students may never need to watch the video again. All students can re-watch the video as needed. Now, there is more class time for data collection, collaboration, and application.

What Do Classes Look Like?

In most Flipped Classrooms, there is an active and intentional transfer of some of the information delivery to outside of the classroom with the goal of freeing up time to make better use of the face-to-face interaction in school. When appropriate, information transfer typically takes advantage of technologies like podcasting or screencasting. This allows for more time to individualize instruction in the class time and keeps content alive for remediation, review, or other reference when needed. Learners have immediate and easy access to any topic when they need it, leaving the teacher with more opportunities to expand on higher order thinking skills and enrichment. Offloading some information transfer allows a classroom to develop that understands the need for teacher accessibility to overlap with cognitive load. That is, when students are assimilating information, creating new ideas, etc. (upper end of Bloom's Taxonomy) the teacher is present to help scaffold them through that process.

This can look very different from classroom to classroom and we recognize no two Flipped Classrooms look exactly the same, just as no two traditional classrooms look alike.
The Flipped Classroom is a pedagogy-first approach that strives to meet the needs of the learners in our individual schools and communities.  It is much more an ideology than it is a specific methodology...there is no prescribed set of rules to follow or model to fit.

How Does a Flipped Classroom Fit into Instruction?

The Flipped Classroom is one part of a larger inquiry or instruction cycle, not a panacea or stand-alone magic bullet for instruction. It overlaps with other instructional tools such as: Reverse Instruction, Inquiry Learning, Universal Design for Learning, Blended Learning, and Online Instruction through the use of podcasting or screencasting, Web 2.0 resources, and inquiry activities. Screencasts as instructional tools can be used in many different ways: pre-teaching, front-loading instruction, remediation, extension, providing students with feedback, student created content, etc.

Practitioners of the various flipped classroom models are constantly tweaking, changing, rejecting, adding to, and generally trying to improve the model through direct experience with how effective it is for kids. It's not "record your lecture once" and you're done; it's part of a comprehensive instructional model that includes direct instruction, inquiry, practice, formative and summative assessment and much more. It also allows teachers to reflect on and develop quality and engaging learning opportunities and options for internalization, creation, and application of content rather than just fluff or time filling assignments.

Final Thoughts

The Flipped Classroom is an intentional shift of content which in turn helps move students
back to the center of learning rather than the products of schooling. We are committed to creating dynamic and engaging curriculum through collaboration and constant revision. We understand that the Flipped Classroom is not a "silver bullet" to educational problems, nor
do we claim it to be. However, we do recognize that it can have a profound impact on issues including student motivation, achievement, and engagement.

The purpose of this article is not to convince you or others to switch to a Flipped Classroom because only you, the teacher, can make that decision based on your school's culture and
your learners' needs. We, the authors, hope that you have a more balanced understanding
and each of the authors would welcome further discussion or questions.

Brian E. Bennett, Teacher, Evansville, Ind.
Dan Spencer, Educational Technology Coordinator, Jackson, Mich.
Jon Bergmann, Lead Technology Facilitator, Kenilworth, Ill.
Troy Cockrum, Teacher, Indianapolis, Ind.
Ramsey Musallam, Teacher, San Francisco, Calif.
Aaron Sams, Teacher, Woodland Park, Colo.
Karl Fisch, Teacher, Centennial, Colo., USA
Jerry Overmyer, Outreach Coordinator/Math Instructor, Greeley, Colo.
The Flipped Class Network


Related posts The Daily Riff:

How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Learning by Jon Bergmann, Aaron Sams

The Flipped Class: Shedding light on the confusion, critique and hype by Aaron Sams

Are you Ready to Flip? by Dan Spencer, Deb Wolf, and Aaron Sams

 "The Flipped Class:  Myths vs. Reality" by Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie

 "The Flipped Class: What Does a Good One Look Like?" by Brian Bennett, Jason Kern, April Gudenrath and Philip McIntosh

Private School Math Teacher Flips Learning by Stacey Roshan

The Flipped Class:  Show Me the Data! by Stacey Roshan

Teachers "Doing the Flip" to Help Students Become Learners

  • Dr.Waleed

    Hi, Could you please to tell us if the flipped classroom can help the students with ADHD or other learning difficulties?? if so you do you have any reference or research??

  • Glenn Platt

    This is an *excellent* summary of the flipped classroom concept and how to implement it. The phrase "inverted classroom" and the model you describe were first articulated in a 2000 article in the Journal of Economic Education titled "Inverting the Classroom". In this article we presented the very first argument for flipping the classroom and coined the phrase. Please see here for a PDF of the article: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/249331/Inverted_Classroom_Paper.pdf

  • CJ Westerberg

    Previous posts and comments at The Daily Riff address many of the comments made - such as Khan not being the sole representation of what flipped is/can be, etc. A bad lecture/presentation is still a bad lecture/presentation whether it's on-line or in-person. At least you can shut off the one on-line ;) We've all experienced it. Video can help students in certain situations. Some teachers may be better at flipping (especially if they videotape themselves or curate rather than pass off to a Khan) than others. Flipping may work better for some students - or for certain classroom dynamics and/or subjects better than others. Can flipping help resolve many homework and /or enrichment issues - like parents not being able to help w/homework (not there/don't understand it)? I think yes, sometimes, maybe even often. Plus, if this is the beginning, where new steps may provide interactivity (w/teacher/peers and/or tutors), it will be most interesting (then we'll have the discussion of how effective are on-line tutors, peers and discussions ;) - C.J.

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The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they - at some distant point in the future - will take over the reigns. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely... because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.
Alvin Toffler
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