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Flipped Classrooms: A New Era

The flipped classroom has been a buzzword for several years now, but few really know of its core concept.

What is it? The flipped classroom is basically reverse teaching. In today’s learning world, students are taught material in class, and are expected to go home and read textbooks, do worksheets and study anxiously for an in-class test. But in reverse teaching, students first study the topic independently at home, typically using the immutable power of 21st century technology. Students then come into class with the ability to apply their knowledge to practical work and activity.

The Birth of the Flip: Some argue that the concept of flip teaching really began with 19th century’s John Dewey and his “community of enquiry” approach to learning. But frankly, flip teaching belongs to the Y generation. In 2004, Salman Khan began to develop Khan Academy, an online university where Khan posted thousands of interactive videos in thousands of different educational fields. Khan Academy was eventually utilized nationwide by millions of teachers who wanted to give reverse teaching a shot. Many examples of flipped teaching ensued, including notable instances such as Ohio State University, Clintondale High School and Woodland Park High School. All these schools recorded and posted live lectures for students to use at home, and then participated in interactive, group activities within the classroom.

How’s it working? Many are fighting for the flipped classroom. With the flipped classroom, students are almost forced to independently and at their own pace, the studying process becomes much more efficient. Students can come into class prepared with the necessary information, meaning they can come prepared with questions and discussion topics of their own, rather than having answers and argument issues forced down students’ throats by teachers. It’s not bad, necessarily, but the learning environment could easily be more operative if students were given more freedom in their learning methodology. Even more so, precious class time will be spared, if students can teach themselves the material and then ask questions in class, rather than hopelessly struggling to comprehend material in a class period, and coming back the next day to ask tons of silly questions anyway. And the results support flipped teaching as well. With current traditional learning, only 69% of students actually graduate, meaning yearly, a full 1.3 million students are drop outs. Results of research show that before the flip, 50% of freshmen failed English and 44% failed math. After the flip, those numbers decreased to 19% and 13%, respectively. Plus, the extra freedom available with flipped classroom reduced the number of discipline cases per semester from 249 to 736.

There are still many arguments defending the traditional learning system, and they admittedly make sense. People have been learning the same exact way for decades, even centuries. Why change it now? Some say that if we have the ability to advance through flipped classrooms, it’s crucial that we take the opportunity and apply it to our learning environments. What are your opinions on flipped classrooms? Comment below!