Mar 17 2015

CoSN 2015: 10 Reasons Flipped Classrooms Could Change Education

A policy expert and author explains why using technology to leverage new forms of teaching excites both teachers and students.

Today's classrooms are outfitted with the latest technologies, but too often the teaching methods don't take full advantage of the options these tools afford.

Flipping the classroom — inverting the time spent on lecturing and homework — can create new inroads for learning by leveraging the technology used in classrooms and at home, says Kathleen Fulton, an author and president of Fulton Creative Consulting.

To aid those on the fence about implementing a flipped solution, Fulton led a special spotlight presentation Tuesday at CoSN 2015 on the "Top 10 Reasons Why Flipping the Classroom Can Change Education," a condensed version of her 2014 book of the same title.

Fulton also included caveats for several of her reasons that educators should consider before making the leap to flipped learning.

1) Maximizes Class Time

By moving instructional time out of the shared learning space of the classroom, teachers are afforded much more time to help students hone their new skills.

Caveat: Learning what works best with each group of students takes time and reflection.

2) Individualizes Instruction

Asynchronous learning allows students to learn at their own pace.

Caveat: Not all schools are supportive of such a learning structure.

3) Creates Peer Learning Opportunities

Flipping the classroom can address problems inherent in traditional instruction, such as losing students 30 minutes into a lesson. Kids can review online lessons multiple times while at home to ensure they understand the core concepts. This teaching technique also creates opportunities for students to help one another by collaborating on projects.

4) Improves Effectiveness

While there is not a treasure trove of data on the flipped classroom, the existing data show that teachers are reaching skill proficiency more quickly and in larger numbers. Researchers have also noted improvements in student behavior, fewer disciplinary actions and higher graduation rates, Fulton noted.

Caveat: There are as yet no large-scale studies on the teaching method.

5) Excites Teachers

The flipped classroom breaks the traditional isolation associated with teaching. By sharing their flipped-classroom materials, teachers are learning more about their own instructional methods and trying new techniques used by their colleagues.

6) Interests Students

For students, using technology in and out of the classroom isn't just fun, it's expected, says Fulton. Flipped learning allows students to review online lessons as much as they need to at home, at their own pace, and engage in more one-on-one time with teachers to ensure they have nailed core concepts before moving on to the next lesson.

Caveat: Students must be prepared for what's involved in a flipped classroom, meaning having the discipline to watch lectures and videos at home. And teachers must establish a system of accountability to make sure that students watch their video lessons outside of class.

7) Flipping Benefits Parents

By reviewing videos, parents get to know what's going on in their children's class. They also don't have to struggle to do homework with their kids, since that type of activity is done in the classroom.

Caveat: Parent must be prepared for the change and be able to support their kids’ technology use at home.

8) It Uses Resources Effectively

Budgets are tight, but having a bring-your-own-device policy and turning to digital content can stretch school resources.

Caveat: Schools must invest in the IT infrastructure to make flipped classrooms possible.

9) Builds 21st-Century Skills

Flipped-classroom instruction embeds concepts such as independent learning, collaboration and critical thinking.

10) Flipped Classrooms Could Be the Future of Education This teaching method is still in its infancy. Whether it takes hold will be up to educators. So will you be flipping your classroom?

EdTech is providing continuous coverage of CoSN 2015, including video interviews and session reviews. Keep up-to-date on all of our coverage by visiting our CoSN 2015 conference page.


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