Mar 24 2014

CoSN 2014: Flipped Learning Interest on the Rise

New Speak Up data reveals enthusiasm for leveraging digital tools and upending traditional instructional methods.

It’s been seven years since Colorado science teachers Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams asked themselves this fundamental question: What is the best use of my face-to-face class time?

Instead of continuing to do what teachers have been doing for centuries — that is, delivering direct instruction via lecture — Bergmann and Sams began prerecording their lectures for students to view at home and dedicated their classroom time instead to discussion, collaboration and other interactive learning activities. Their alternative pedagogical model, which came to be known as “the flipped classroom,” has since gained an ardent following — and created some confusion as to what, exactly, it means.

As Dr. Kari M. Arfstrom, executive director of the Flipped Learning Network, pointed out during a session at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., last week, “the flipped classroom and flipped learning are not synonymous” (see sidebar below). “Flipped learning is an ideology, not a methodology. But it leads to a methodology. It’s a bridge.”

The Stats on Flipped Learning

In an effort to better understand how flipped learning is perceived and used, FLN once again collaborated with Project Tomorrow to include specific questions about flipped learning and the use of videos in the classroom in Project Tomorrow’s 11th annual Speak Up survey. (For the survey, Project Tomorrow and FLN defined flipped learning as “using lecture videos as homework while utilizing class time for more in-depth learning such as discussions, projects and experiments and to provide personalized coaching to individual students.”)

Conducted last fall, the 2013 Speak Up survey shows a notable year-over-year spike in interest and implementation of flipped classrooms and a decline in concerns about students’ online access. Among other findings — announced during the CoSN 2014 conference and detailed in the newly released white paper, Speak Up 2013 National Research Project Findings: A Second Year Review of Flipped Learning — are these revelations:

  • 25 percent of administrators identified flipped learning as already having a “significant impact” on transforming teaching and learning in their district

  • One out of six math and science teachers are implementing a flipped learning model using videos that they have created or sourced online

  • 16 percent of teachers are regularly creating videos of their lessons or lectures for students to watch

  • 45 percent of librarians and media specialists are regularly creating videos and similar rich media as part of their professional practice

  • 37 percent of librarians are helping to build teacher capacity by supporting teachers’ skills in using and creating video and rich media for classroom use

  • Almost one-fifth of current teachers have “learning how to flip my classroom” on their wish list for professional development this year

  • 41 percent of administrators say pre-service teachers should learn how to set up a flipped learning class model before getting a teaching credential

  • 66 percent of principals say pre-service teachers should learn how to create and use videos and other digital media within their teacher preparation programs

  • 75 percent of middle and high school students agree that flipped learning would be a good way for them to learn; 32 percent of them “strongly agree” with that idea

For a more in-depth look at how the 2013 Speak Up survey’s 403,000-plus student, parent, teacher, administrator and community member respondents feel about flipped learning, download the white paper.

For more coverage from CoSN's annual conference, check out our CoSN 2014 conference hub.

Flipped Learning Defined

The Flipped Learning Network’s mission is to provide educators with the knowledge, skills and resources to successfully implement flipped learning.

In an effort to “counter common misconceptions and bring clarity” to discussions about flipped learning, the Arlington, Va.-based organization issued on March 12 a formal definition of the instructional approach, as well as a description of the “four pillars of F-L-I-P” and 11 indicators that educators must incorporate into their practice in order to create a true flipped learning experience for students.

According to FLN leaders, flipped learning is “a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

Flipping a class occurs when teachers “have students read text outside of class, watch supplemental videos or solve additional problems,” FLN continues. But to really engage in flipped learning, teachers must:

  • create a Flexible environment
  • establish a Learning culture
  • provide Intentional content
  • become Professional educators

For more information, read the FLN's handout.


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