When it comes to education, there is always stuff you should know. Things you need to know about how classes work, what is expected of you and what you will eventually gain from enrolling. Flipped classrooms are new type of learning environment in which the major concepts are reversed. Flipped learning can actually be a more efficient way of retaining information, especially for students who work better in groups and thrive when being able to interact with others.
There are several aspects that distinguish flipped classrooms from traditional ones:
- Group study is encouraged.
- Video lectures are intended to be watched outside of class. They are the primary method of teaching students the class material.
- The classroom is primarily used for the equivalent of homework.
- In the classroom, the teacher is accessible to the students as needed. They answer questions, explain difficult points, or go over various concepts.
Requirements for Flipped Classrooms
When teachers decide to flip a classroom and attempt a different style of learning, there are several things they must first consider. First and foremost, they need to be able to provide the necessary video materials to the students. In some cases, they may have to videotape the lectures themselves. This is an excellent idea, as long as they remember to include the information as it would be normally presented in class.
Secondly, the teacher must understand the needs of the students. They must be able to accommodate them when the videos may not be available or when they are not be able to watch the videos outside of class. They must also be able to be reached in case questions arise during watching the video. There are important things to know, such as how well the students work on their own. They should also be aware of whether or not there are students that need additional assistance.
Lastly, the classroom setting must be conducive to a group learning atmosphere. Even though the video provides the core material for the classroom, the professor should also provide study guides and suggested topics that help to support the material being studied. While the classroom is mainly reserved for group study, the professor must be available to offer assistance if the students need advice or a review of specific parts of the video lecture.
Questions are encouraged because they lead to in depth discussions concerning the topic being studied. Materials must be presented a way that encourages students to do their research and find the relationship between different concepts. Students are encouraged to bring their own ideas and concepts into the classroom to better understand all aspects of the subjects being taught.
The Importance of Flipped Classrooms
One of the nice things about flipped classrooms is that students get “hands on” experience. The student is required to watch the videos prior to class time. This allows them the entire class period to work directly with the information they received through the video. For students who need to actually “work” with the information they receive, flipped classrooms provide them with an excellent opportunity to do so.
Whether in large groups of pairs, students can assign one another specific parts of the project. They can then work together to integrate all of the individual pieces into a wholesome project. Students can swap roles so that each student has the chance to work directly with each concept. Because flipped classrooms have no strict guidelines, the learning atmosphere can be developed to meet the needs of each specific group of students. As long as the video lectures are offered prior to the in-class learning time, the flipped classroom concept still applies.
How Flipped Classrooms Are Changing Education
Flipped classrooms have been used for several years in certain areas of higher education, most commonly in humanities studies. Its success has made it a viable option for other subjects as well, including core subjects like science and math. Scientific concepts, for example, are often taught in a laboratory setting. In a traditional setting, students must sit through the lecture. They then spend a similar amount of time in the lab performing experiments to reinforce the information presented through the lecture. This can become quite tedious over time, with students losing interest in and focus on the subject at hand.
With a flipped science class, the students are allowed to sit through the lecture while they are at home. This means the only, actual class time is spent working in the laboratory. They are allowed to focus on using the knowledge they gained through watching the lecture, in a hands on, productive manner. By starting out in the laboratory, the information they received in the lecture can be directly used. There is no waiting on the professor or reading. The students come to class prepared to work on whatever project was discussed.
When it comes to science, flipped classrooms offer students an incentive to come to class prepared to work. For students who thrive in a science setting, it can actually heighten the anticipation for class. In this situation, students often dread the lecture portion of class, preferring to be able to go straight to the lab. Being allowed to watch the videos before class enables them to take the appropriate notes and prepare for class. Once they arrive, they are ready to begin work and can focus on the primary objective which is putting the lecture information into action.
Advantages of Flipped Classrooms
One of the main advantages of flipped classrooms is correcting misconceptions. In a traditional classroom setting, the teacher is not able to watch how the student will eventually use the information they receive during class. They are only able to witness how the student takes it in, not how they utilize it. In a flipped classroom, the opposite is true. The student has already been given the information through the use of the video lectures. The professor gets to watch the student put the information into action and obtain the appropriate results.
In a flipped classroom, the teacher can easily identify any misconceptions a student may have about the information that was presented to them within the lecture. Students can explore their ideas while having the benefit of their teacher’s guidance during the entire process. If a student has questions or concerns, the professor is there to help explain difficult points or help to figure out different ways of integrating information.
Disadvantages of a Flipped Classroom
The concept of a flipped classroom is not perfect. Poor class preparation can lead to confusion and failure for both the teacher and the students. Inadequate video lectures can leave the students confused and lacking the information they need to successfully pass the class. The teacher must know the material that needs to be presented and make sure it is included in the video in such a way that the student can retrieve it and actually use it to complete the class.
The same is true for the classroom portion of the course. The appropriate materials must be available for the students to use if they are expected to be able to pass the course with a working knowledge of the information that was presented to them within the lecture.
Flipped classrooms work best in when students are responsible enough to be able to maintain strict study habits. It is primarily used in higher education, but has been used in high schools with some degree of success. It is important to remember that not all students will succeed in a flipped classroom setting. Teachers must know their students and their capacity to self-learn before they initiate a flipped classroom environment.