Flipped Classroom – How this model can enhance the educational procedure “Flip your classroom”
Student learning needs are changing. Educational systems and curricula should adapt accordingly to these new needs in order to contribute successfully to teaching methods. The time spent in classroom seems insufficient, thus creating usually a negative impact οn the lesson quality and mainly, on the active participation of students. Therefore, new educational techniques and blended learning methods are increasingly being adopted. These techniques combine conventional teaching with distant learning procedures through different means, technologies and educational material, in order to obtain better learning outcomes.
The “Flipped Classroom” Model
The Flipped Classroomis an educational approach, “which aims to take the lesson (usually, the monologue of the teacher) out of the classroom (mainly, through video projection), so that the teaching time in class could be spent in interactive activities with a specific learning content to promote the active engagement of students”.
According to this approach, learning takes place at home through videoconferences or other educational material while homework takes place in classroom where teachers and students discuss and answer questions. New technologies are used in teaching inside and outside the classroom together with distance learning between educators and students, and between students themselves, transforming education into a kind of mixed education. The social environment and the interaction with it (Vigotsky) affect the way each student understands the surrounding world. The main elements of the learning cycle are experience and action (Kolb), which are promoted by the flipped classroom because students assume a pathetic role when they return home and classroom activities are transformed into occasions of action and educational experience.
Baker is considered to be the initial proposer and founder of the Flipped Classroom Model. However, this model was promoted to all levels of education –even to the first ones- thanks to the contribution of professors Bergmann and Sams, who, in 2008, were recording and uploading videos of their courses in the Internet for their absent students. This practice became so popular that they were obliged to review their educational approach in class (Berrett, 2012, FLΝ, 2014 (https://fliplearning.com/).
The main features of the “Flipped Classroom”
The Flipped Classroom is based on four pillars - key features. In fact, the word "FLIP" is the acronym of the following words related to these features (Bishop & Verleger, 2013):
[F]lexible Environment: The teacher acquires a guiding role, adapts the lesson and its location according to the students’ needs and learning styles and designs activities for both individual and group work. In this particular learning environment, the teacher encourages, supports and monitors the activities and develops a role of counselor and/or animator.
[L]earning Culture: In flipped classroom, students are considered as active learners and teachers as facilitators, always available to the students’ requests. Students discover knowledge through interaction; they process and apply it in depth. They recognise their needs, set goals and assess the degree of achievement of their learning goals, thereby enhancing their autonomy.
[I]ntentional Content: As content we define what is given for home study, before the lesson, but also the activities that take place during the course. The material given to students is predefined, strictly selected to serve the teacher's strategies, to include the cognitive objectives of the course and to address all learning styles.
[P]rofessional Educator:Teachers, in order to apply this approach, need to have several skills. They should be able to handle the new technologies very well in order to create the same material, select videos from repositories of educational material and share it. They should be able to use the appropriate time in classroom to promote the critical thinking of students through cooperation and social interaction. Although their presence is less noticeable than that of the traditional class, their role remains very important.
Preparation and application steps
According to Estes et. al. (2014), the model of flipped classroom consists of three preparation and application steps:
1stStep – Pre-class: Students receive the educational material to study –usually, through a specific platform. They can see it as many times as they like, focus on any information they wish, from any place and at their own pace (Strayer, 2007). In this way, a unique graduation is created in terms of the interaction between students and educational material, that doesn’t take place during the traditional teaching procedure in the classroom (Hertz, 2012).
2ndStep – In-class: Active and participative teaching techniques are used in class. Students study the material “before class” to be prepared and therefore, the teaching time is dedicated to problem-solving activities and group projects with the teacher’s help and guidance. In flipped classrooms, students are asked to combine the information they received outside the classroom and interact with their peers in order to prove that they have become active users of information according to their personal experiences, the occasions offered for critical thinking and the interaction through group activities (Bergmann et al., 2012).
3rdStep – Post-class: Students are asked to assess the knowledge acquired after the first two steps. After the activities in the flipped classroom, students check the level of their knowledge and according to their performance, they identify their eventual weaknesses, which they can improve consulting the digital material once more, but with a different look this time. Moreover, they have the opportunity to expand their knowledge, depending on the time available and their mood.
Benefits from the Flipped Classroom Model
With the Flipped Classroom Model, the active participation of students in the learning procedure is enhanced. Their performance and learning outcomes are improved as well as their attitude towards school. Management of teaching time is also improved together with opportunities for the development of critical thinking. The use of ICT (such as watching a digital educational material at home) is an important factor that motivates learning engagement and creates a positive predisposition towards learning activities that follow in classroom. Students manage their study time better and improve their interaction with their peers and teachers.
Moreover, through this particular model, the active participation of teachers during the every-day educational practice is also enhanced and their communication with their students is improved. They also have more time to monitor their students’ progress. During the individual feedback with the first material which students view at home, teachers can ask questions that they might hesitate to ask in class. Weak students have the opportunity to get supplementary support by the teacher, who can spend more time with them, and also by their peers, who can communicate, collaborate and help each other. Students with high performance can excel through these classroom activities and develop leading skills by collaborating with their weaker peers.
Within this educational practice, the absence of a teacher or student can be covered easily and the educational procedure can continue outside the classroom.
…some points to consider…
The main concerns are the equal access opportunities to technology for all students; the replacement of the interactive teacher-student communication by video presentation; the increasing time spent by students for study at home, as well as the time required by teachers for the creation of digital material. Moreover, several issues can arise concerning the quality and reliability of the digital content being created ...
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Vassilis Economou