What is the Flipped Classroom?


The flipped classroom refers to a model of learning that rearranges how time is spent both in and out of class to shift the ownership of learning from the educators to the students. After class, students manage the content they use, the pace and style of learning, and the ways in which they demonstrate their knowledge, and the teacher becomes the guide, adapting instructional approaches to suit their learning needs and supporting their personal learning journeys. Rather than the teacher using class time to lecture to students and dispense information, that work is done by each student after class, and could take the form of watching video lectures, listening to podcasts, perusing enhanced e-book content, collaborating with their peers in online communities, and more. Students can access this wide variety of resources any time they need them. In the flipped classroom model, valuable class time is devoted to more active, project-based learning where students work together to solve local or global challenges — or other real-world applications — to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. Teachers can also devote more time interacting with each individual. The goal is for students to learn more authentically by doing, with the teacher guiding the way; the lecture is no longer the expected driver of concept mastery. The flipped classroom model is part of a larger pedagogical movement that overlaps with blended learning, inquiry-based learning, and other instructional approaches and tools that are meant to be flexible, active, and more engaging for students. It has the potential to better enable educators to design unique and quality learning opportunities, curriculum, and assessments that are more personal and relevant to students’ lives.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I think this is actually a technologically supported methodology instead of a new technology and that may be the result of convergence between different technologies and the improvement of teaching methods- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013
  • I agree with Uriel - while there is significant hype (and some degree of actual activity) around flipped teaching, this isn't a technology but rather an educational approach. - David.Lowe David.Lowe Aug 28, 2013
  • I would agree. Perhaps you need to more properly "frame" what you mean by new technologies in the published report. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 28, 2013
  • I agree that "flipping your classroom" is a methodology; it is supported by a wide variety of technologies, some of which are in common use, and some could be considered "on the horizon". It is certainly about shifting time, so that class-time can be spent on more important activities or "higher order experiences" that can best be facilitated face-to-face. I'm not sure it's always about shifting "ownership", but it can be.

    I know the Horizon report is typically organized by technology, but if it's ordered by "technology themes" that represent a common shift in learning and or teaching, then this would be one of the important themes in my view. Technologies that fit in the "Flipped Classroom" theme could include:

    * Screen-casting (recording) [a la Khan Academy] - This is not really a future tech, as it's been around for many years; however, I've seen some very cool improved ways of doing this. For example, Techsmith's "Coach's Eye" let's you easily create an voice and ink annoted video from a video. I used this in my Physics of Sound class to show a compression wave - and freeze the video to talk about it. Think "football commentator talking about a reply", freezing the action and marking it up.

    * Webinar recording [often with embedded video of the speaker] - This is also not future tech

    * Asynchronous threaded discussions - These have been around for as long as LMS's have existed, and they defintely shift the conversation in time. So if you're talking about "flipping the classroom conversation", then it should be included.

    * Social Annotation [e.g. Classroom Salon, www.classroomsalon.org] - This is best as an "outside of class" activity where you read, reflect, annotate - and then share what you've been thinking with others - right inside the text. Classroom Salon basically makes a textbook social, and much more valuable by showing you where all the annotations overlap. This gives you insight as to what everyone in your "salon" thinks is important. I would place Social Annotation in the 3-4 year timeframe, perhaps sooner.

    * Flipping Lab Science through Remote Labs and Online Simulations - Whether you give students access to real equipment that is located far away (remote labs) or access to simulations that represent a science setup (virtual labs), these both can be used to, in effect, "flip" lab science. I'm not sure how common this is yet, but I see a lot more of this coming in 1-2 years. In the US, it will be driven more by the Next Generation Science Standards, so perhaps 3-4 years from now.

    I'd be interested in hearing other examples of what is, or could be, used to time shift learning so that precious "face time" is used more effectively.

    - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013

  • - Keith.Williams Keith.Williams Sep 2, 2013 Having taught STEM in a distance teaching institution that has focused on creating a student centred learning experience supported by domestically available media I support the points above describing flip classroom as a methodology enabled by a suite of rapidly changing technologies. At Open University our approach has been to use text and other media to create a learning dialogue with students. Improved technologies enhance our capabilities in a system that operates without classroom based teaching. Uriel mentions convergence and I guess we're heading towards convergence but from the opposite pole to classroom based teachers.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Many teachers are using content based games as part of the equation when flipping learning. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 28, 2013
  • I'm particularly excited about "flipping lab science" through remote or virtual labs, and by "social annotation" that facilitates out-of-class metacognition and makes it visible to a cohort of learners. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • Quality videos from key international experts can be incorporated in everyday teaching improving the quality of the learning process. - Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013
  • The cool thing about integrating flipped learning into STEM+ content is that students are able to practice the application of content alongside their teacher and peers during the school day. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 28, 2013
  • Remote labs give students access to scientific instrumentation that their school will likely never have. This not only "levels the field" for poorly funded schools, but it seems to encourage students to do REAL science: In a typical "lab science" class activity, students "follow the recipe" and try to get "the right answer". What Northwestern U has seen with iLabs is that students are doing more exploring, as evidenced by the number of times they repeat the experiment. Iteration, it turns out, rarely happens otherwise - and the experience becomes more than just "doing a recipe". - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013
  • Teachers using high quality kit-based science curricula (e.g. FOSS) often complain that there isn't enough time for all of it. The potential benefit of "flipping" some of it is that time spent explaining "how to", or guiding students to think about their experiments ahead of time, can now be spent on having discussions about the results and the implications. The big "so what" of a hands-on activity is often lost because it comes at the end, and time often runs out. By Flipping some of the activity, the most important discussion (at the end) doesn't get lost. - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013
  • The 'flipped classroom' allows us to have more field experiences without missing core subjects such as math. We're experimenting by traveling to different sites in Shanghai, and having students do flipped lessons online. Flipped classes lead to a blended learning experience. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Sep 2, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


Please share information about related projects via our NMC Horizon Report project submission form.