Some Flipped Thoughts

I spent most of yesterday at a conference dealing with the “flipped” classroom. It’s not an easy concept to explain in one or two sentences but the implementation most of us have heard about is where students are expected to do some basic learning outside of class (often by viewing videos) and then class time is used for more interactive activities.1

Flipped learning is certainly interesting approach to changing the traditional teaching process and all of the teachers I met at the conference are very interested in improving their practice as well as the learning of their students.

Even so, there are still a couple of fundamental things about this concept that bother me.

One is that, even with all the talk of change, the teacher is still in control, both of the curriculum and how it’s presented.  Real change will start with a serious reevaluation of what we expect students to learn during their time in K12 and that process must involve the kids themselves.

The second thought running through my head all Saturday is that the technology is still largely in the hands of the teacher. What about kids creating video, both to express their learning and teach each other? Maybe include projects of their choice, instead of the same assignment done by everyone.2

Anyway, I need to dig into flipped learning more and keep an eye on what teachers do with it. It could be a great way to shake up traditional classroom practice but I don’t believe it rises to the level of revolutionary. So much more needs to change as well.

1 If you’d like to dig deeper into the concept, take a look at the site of the Flipped Learning Network, the organization that presented the conference.

2 I’d love to see the Google 20% concept applied in high school, with the proper guidance, of course.