Flipped classrooms could be the solution for your students

January 20, 2015

Want to engage your students? The emerging flipped classroom model uses technology to enhance the educational experience.

Flipped classrooms could be the solution for your students

Traditional learning models are falling by the wayside as technology takes over students' day-to-day lives. Remaining engaged in classroom lectures and demonstrations goes against young peoples' natural instincts, who largely tend to prefer interactive learning opportunities.

The emerging flipped classroom model makes use of students' interest in using technology to enhance their educational experiences. In addition, flipped classrooms add substantially to the amount of time teachers and students work directly with each other to increase students' understanding of the subject.

How flipped classrooms work

The familiar teaching method used in most classrooms today features an instructor standing in front of the class and delivering the material while students take notes. This can be boring to students. Practice and reinforcement of the concepts takes place at home when students are alone, often uninspired, and doing their homework. The practice of recording lectures in college settings has been around for decades, and flipping the classroom takes this familiar concept to a whole new level.

Rather than delivering the information to students during classroom time, instructors record their lectures and demonstrations digitally so that students can watch at home. During class, teachers and students use all of their time together to discuss and apply the skills and concepts.

Benefits for students

Unlike traditional models, students can watch digital lectures at their own pace, pausing and rewinding as needed. Complex concepts can be reviewed again and again until students feel confident in their understanding. Using this method, teachers can also more effectively cater to students with learning disabilities, for example, by adding captions on digital recordings to support hearing impairments.

When students return to the classroom after watching the lecture or demonstration online, instructors can launch into discussions right away. More time leads to more discussion and greater participation from all students in the class. As the class applies concepts to case studies and practice problems, teachers increase their opportunity to note issues in student comprehension. Similarly, students have the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns.

Transitioning to a flipped classroom model does not have to be a dramatic change. Instructors new to the method can start small, flipping a specific unit or even a single lesson. As teachers become more accustomed to preparing the video lessons and students get a feel for the new expectations, lectures will be more effective.

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