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The Flipped Classroom: In class is now out of class

Written by Heidi Mercer | Find me on: LinkedIn

Classrooms haven’t changed over the years (well maybe, the technology and of course, paperwork); but for the most part, the teacher instructs the class and at home, the students work on their assignments, which emphasizes what they were taught. That concept has been the same since chalkboards met the classroom in the late 1800s… that is until the ‘flipped classroom’.

Flipped Classroom Basics

The Flipped Classroom

The ‘flipped classroom’ is also known as the inverted classroom, backwards classroom, reverse teaching and the Thayer Method.  The modern movement pushes video streaming mediums such as YouTube.

Flipped classrooms got its start 6 or so years ago at a small Colorado high school where Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams began working together on ways to improve their face-to-face time with students (check out a really awesome Q&A with both of them here). Thus, the modern flipped classroom was born, where teachers put lectures (podcasts and/or videos) in the home of the student and classroom time is supported by group work. 

The concept of the flipped classroom emphasizes personalized teacher support for each student. The flipped concept has a large following and many adversaries; fans of the flipped concept say it frees up time to support the ‘silent failers’, or the students who don’t immediately raise their hand to answer a question, but rather sit in class, unparticipatory, and in the end, fail their subjects. 

Criticisms surround the concept of the student at home:

  •  The student who doesn’t have the access to the internet at home
  •  The lack of accountability
  •  The lack of expertise in how to create videos
  •  The increase in ‘homework time’ for the student who is already hammered with books to read and now lectures

If it is done correctly, the videos are 10 minutes or less, the students take notes, summarize, and answer a guiding question to ensure they get the concept… styled for higher level thinking. 

The concept has taken fire; now having its own network for its followers: the flipped learning network and I-kid-you-not, its own conference, FlipCon 2015, which will be at Michigan State University this year, in case you want to book it into your calendar. Want to get started on flipping? Check out the University of Texas at Austin’s quickstart guide.


Flipped classrooms are for those who can embrace change and new technology solutions in hopes that they encourage all students- eager and silent- to get excited about learning.

Are you an educator looking to become more interactive and collaborative in the classroom?  


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