- Flipped classroom

The Transformational Potential of Flipped Classrooms

The 21st century brought two great innovations for education. In the higher education sector, we could see the massive rise in the number of open online courses from higher education institutions. For K-12 schools, the innovation of the year was flipped classroom.

The latter was widely discussed in the society, in particular in such reputable newspapers as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Still, there is no compelling evidence on how many educators use flipped classroom in their teaching practice and, which is even more important, what effect flipped classroom has on student learning.

In case you did not know, flipped classroom is a form of blended teaching method when students attend school while actively using the advantages of online learning. At home, they watch lectures or lessons online while in the classroom they do their homework. The question is how this new approach influences students’ results. With flipped classroom, they do the same, just in different order. They still learn through listening to their teachers, and most of the online lectures are very simple, even primitive videos.

This question has sense although it misses the main advantage of the flipped classroom approach. In real-time classroom lesson, if a student does not understand something, it is their problem and nothing can be done. Teachers cannot repeat material for one or two people. When learning online, a student can pause a video and view again the part they did not understand. Also, they do not have to go through the material they already know (they simply fast-forward it). Flipped classroom gives students more independence and flexibility in their learning process

Viewing online lectures at home does not differ a lot from doing traditional homework. Meanwhile, there is still one major difference: in traditional education time spent in a classroom is mostly a passive process, when students just take raw content. With flipped learning approach, in the classroom, they discuss issues, do practical work, etc. In this environment, the teacher is always available for asking questions and providing feedback on the work done. In this regard, flipped learning solves one of the major drawbacks of traditional education which is that students do not get feedback from their teachers.

Although very beneficial in many ways, the flipped classroom approach still does not solve many problems of traditional learning, such as lack of motivation among students which may be called low-achieving. Some experts even suggested that this approach may only work at suburban schools, with upper-income students. Low-income students may lack access to internet and computers, that’s why the new approach may have poor chances of success among them.