Listen to my podcast created for my ECI 512 Emerging Technologies for 21st Century Teaching and Learning graduate class.
Just this past year in my 8th grade Social Studies classroom I have started to “flip” my classroom. For the past year or so, my teammate has been flipping her math classes and has had amazing success so far. She finally convinced me to give it a shot once I began teaching U.S. History.
For those of you who don’t know, flipping classroom, as defined by flipping pioneers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergman, is an instructional strategy where the students watch the lecture at home and completed related assignments, labs, projects, etc. in class. More than anything, flipped classroom is about the meaningful learning activities that replace lectures in the classroom and less about the videos themselves. Throughout much of their research, Sams and Bergman have written over and over that flipped classroom is a combination of direct instruction and constructivism that allows students to receive instruction at home and spend class time practicing and exploring the content to better understand what they learned. The whole idea being that students spend more quality instructional time learning in class with the teacher.
So you are probably wondering how does this fit into emerging technologies, well it doesn’t necessarily, but flipping the classroom does fit very well into the idea of emerging 21st century learning ideals and strategies. I chose to flip my classroom for a number of reasons, but I’ve paired down the list to 4 according to how they relate to 21st century learning.
- Students can work at their own pace – Within a 21st century learning environment, students should be able to dictate their own learning pace. Flipped classroom allows students to do just that. After teachers create the videos, students have watched them, and the class has completed the activities, students can go back and watch the videos for review or clarity.
- Teachers can easily create individualized instruction – In today’s classroom, all instruction should be individualized and customized to the needs to every child. As a teacher, I know how difficult that can be. Flipped classroom doesn’t make that 100% possible, but it does make it much easier as I am freed up to meet with students or small groups during a class period.
- The learning is centered around the student – One ideal that has been around since the beginning of time is that learning should be centered around the student. A 21st century classroom only reinforces that ideal.
- Transparent classroom and increased use of online tools – While technology is the not the focus of a flipped classroom, it does force teachers to create a more transparent classroom and increase their use of online tools with students.
I’m the first to admit that flipping is not for everyone. In fact it took me a couple of years and a classroom switch to see the value of it in my classroom. However, one of the most important practices for teachers in a 21st century learning environment is a teacher’s need for reflection in order to better themselves as a professional. In article written by Mary Beth Hertz on edoptia.org entitled “The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con,” Hertz writes that “as long as educators are constantly reflecting and asking themselves if what they are doing is truly something different or just a different way of doing the same things they’ve always done, there is hope that some of Dewey’s philosophies [of student centered learning] will again permeate our schools.”