Flipped classroom models reverse the way in which students have traditionally been taught. Instead of introducing students to new material in the classroom and then having them familiarize themselves with that material through homework, flipped classrooms require students to introduce themselves to new material at home through online videos or reading assignments and then receive guided practice in the classroom. The new model changes the role of the teacher from lecturer to facilitator, as their main tasks are no longer focused on building up their students’ familiarity with a given topic or subject, but rather, guiding them toward ways of applying their new knowledge.

Flipping the Script

There are many methods of implementing a flipped classroom model. Some teachers have found it useful to create their own annotated slide presentations for students. This option allows instructors to have complete control over the topics covered by students at home. Many teachers choose this method to ensure the content meets their own goals. However, the drawback to teacher-created presentations is that they take substantial time to develop and are not very interactive.

In response to the drawbacks of teacher-created at-home lectures, many have chosen to utilize online resources, such as those from Khan Academy, to give students first-exposure learning. Khan Academy operates by providing online tutorials on a large number of different subjects from math and science to history and economics. Teachers have access to their students’ progress and can see where they are having trouble as well as where they feel comfortable. This data can then be utilized in the classroom to focus on problem areas. In addition, Khan Academy has gamified the learning process. Students earn points and skills by completing lessons, which are then mapped out using various visual aids. This helps motivate students by establishing clear goals and milestones. However, even though using online programs like Khan Academy has certain advantages, this method also prevents teachers from having complete control over the curriculum.

Given the benefits of each method, educators often elect to assign a blend of online assignments along with their own tutorials to make sure everything is covered. The ability to track student progress in online programs offers teachers reassurance that homework assignments are actually being completed. In addition, the ability to cover the exact topics they would like to by creating their own presentations ensures thorough coverage of material. Both of these computer-centric methods can be further supplemented with relevant readings from texts in order to promote a comprehensive yet differentiated student experience.

Effectiveness of the Model

The success of a flipped classroom hinges on the students completing their assigned work at home as well as effectively using in-class time to reinforce learning objectives. Since work done at home will be completed at different rates by students at different levels, it is likely that the more advanced students will progress further in the material than others. Teachers can make use of this reality during class through group work that emphasizes peer instruction. Encourage students to work together in groups to answer conceptual questions. They can then present their work to the class, ensuring that every group member speaks for an equal amount of time. This leverages the different skill sets of students in order to ensure that the class as a whole is able to advance through the material as a cohesive whole without leaving any one student behind.

Flipped classroom models are useful in the way they allow for teacher support during more advanced levels of learning. Instead of relying on homework assignments to teach students to apply the knowledge they were exposed to in class, students are exposed to knowledge at home and then asked to interpret it with the teacher there to help them.