Before college, I had never heard of the term flipped classroom. Honestly, before sophomore year I had never truly experienced it.
As a Psychology major, I was required to take Psyc 210 – Psychology Statistics. When I read the word stats I knew I was doomed. I hate numbers and statistics and tables and graphs. I was terrified. Even more so, when I found out it was a flipped classroom setting I was prepared for failure. Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic… but I really was worried.
So what is a flipped classroom? Its a set up for a class in which students prepare outside of class by watching videos, listen to podcasts of lectures, and do reading ahead of time. During class, the time is spent in group discussion, collaborative work, or online polls, assessing what you know about the topic you prepared for outside of class. Its sort of like the lecture is outside of class, and the homework is during class. Flipped!
Often times, teachers use flipped lessons for topics that are really difficult to grasp – in order for students to become acquainted with the information ahead of time, and ask questions and practice in lecture. I think this is why the flipped classroom worked so well with my Psyc 210 class – because it was really difficult information, and we could ask questions about things we weren’t sure about in lecture as well as get hands-on practice with the material.
My flipped class went surprisingly well. I found myself preparing by reading, watching videos, and listening to lectures online much more than I prepared outside of class for my other classes. In class, I knew what was going on, I felt good about group work, and did pretty well with poll questions my professor asked us. It was a success because we have access to laptops and technology that allowed us to prepare efficiently.
So what about in elementary, middle, or high schools? Is the flipped classroom setting ideal? Is it even possible?
First, you have to make sure all students can have access to the material they need in order to prepare for class. This can be difficult in settings with lower SES or parents who can’t take the children to the library or those who don’t have computers at home. Therefore, teachers can use magazine articles or some other source just to expose students to the information. If the school is one in which all students have tablets or laptops, then a flipped classroom would work really well.
One good thing about flipped classrooms that utilize technology and videos or podcasts is that students can watch the videos as many times as they want. Students can pause the videos, replay them, and try to get as much out of the lectures as possible.
Another benefit of flipped classroom teaching is that it increases student participation and interaction. In settings such as a typical lecture class, students may or may not read the textbook, go to class and write down notes from a powerpoint presentation, and not really engage with the information. Therefore, I have found I am a huge advocate for flipped classrooms.
So how likely that this set up could be used in elementary schools? Not so much. High schools, for sure. As well as college. But for now, I think the traditional classroom setup is best for elementary and even some middle schoolers, and leave the flipped classrooms for high schoolers and college students.
What’s your opinion on flipped classrooms? What are some activities that could be used in elementary flipped classrooms?