The flipped classroom

Thứ năm - 31/07/2014 15:31
  1. Introduction
The flipped classroom approach involves the reversed procedure of traditional lecture and homework. Instead of doing further exercises at home after the lecture to understand it better, students will watch segments of the lectures through videos at home, and then practice, discuss, participate in projects and do other exercises in class with the lecturer’s guide and supervision. This idea is based on some concepts such as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting (EDUCAUSE, 2012).
(Infographic by Pappas, 2012)
There are several factors that can explain the creation and adoption of the idea, one of which is the roles of Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, two teachers at Woodland Park High School in Colorado. The two pioneers in flipping classrooms discovered software to record their PowerPoint presentations and started to record their live lectures for students who missed them to watch online later. Their videos and the approach became popular among other teachers who use class time for collaboration and other exercises to master the contents.
The flipped classroom indicates the role changes of both teachers and students. With this model, teachers give up their front-of-class position to work as instructional designers and coaches, facilitating students’ experiments, discussions, or projects, etc. Meanwhile, students change f-rom passive knowledge consumers into active learners who have more control of learning pace while watching videos and more interactive time with peers both in-class and online (Pappas 2012, EDUCAUSE, 2012).
  1. Benefits and Challenges
The flipped classroom brings the benefit of more one-on-one time with teachers, which is important to students in need of extra help. Students also enjoy the ability to pause, rewind, or stop the videos to learn at their own pace while good students will not waste their time review the contents in class. Moreover, this model encourages mastery learning by ensuring students will not move forward unless they show that they have understood the concepts well.
However, it is criticized for requiring students to spend more time looking at a computer screen, especially when they take several flipped classes at the same time. Besides, they will have to do more homework, which does not necessarily mean better results. This is not to mention the digital divide in which wealthier families have more advantages of technology than those of lower socio-economic backgrounds. Students f-rom poor families may be alienated due to the lack of computers or mobile devices with Internet connection.
  1. Tools for Flipping your Class
According to Jon Bergmann (2014), one of the pioneers in flipping classrooms, to employ the idea effectively, teachers should keep their lecture videos short – one video for each specific objective, and one to one and half minute for each grade level. For example, a video of 4-6 minutes long would be good for a 4th grader, 10-15 minutes for a 10 graders, and so on. Secondly, teachers should make sure every student with or without access to the Internet can watch the videos outside the class. Those without the Internet should be able to download the materials needed onto their devices or have DVDs to watch on TV.
Another piece of advice is to avoid lecturing the ones who haven’t watched the videos before entering class. If teachers do this, other students would feel they have wasted their time doing homework. Finally, teachers should teach students how to watch their videos effectively: how to interact cognitively with them, how to ask questions, take notes, etc.
The following tools may be very useful to you in adopting the idea:
Pre-cre-ated contents
1. YouTube, YouTube Edu @, and TeacherTube @
Thesesites contain all kinds of educational videos so it may take some time to find the right one for each class.
2. TED Talks and TED-Ed @
There are5-17 minute talks by experts in many fields. “TED-Ed takes some of the best TED talks and teacher lessons and animates them specifically for classroom use. Videos are typically 3-5 minutes long. Teachers can also add questions to cre-ate flipped lessons” (Spencer, 2014).
3. iTunes and iTunesU
iTunes can be downloaded and installed in any computer, and Apple’s products like iPhone, iPad, iPod… You can find lots of good educational videos here.
Self-cre-ated contents
1. Screencast-o-matic @
This is a good tool for you to record everything on your computer screen into a video format to share on the Internet. Using the camera, microphone and PowerPoint in your computer with this tool, you will have a video cre-ated by yourself for students to watch before class.
2. @
Cre-ate an account here and you can record your lectures including yourself and slides and share them on the site.
3. ESL Video @
This tool allows you to upload videos and cre-ate quiz about it. Good for listening exercises.
  1. Conclusion
The idea of the flipped classroom implies a significant change of roles for both instructors and students. This model encourages instructors to step further away f-rom their center-of-class position in order to employ a more collaborative and cooperative approach for class activities. Besides, students have to be more active and take more responsibility for learning. “What the flip does particularly well is to bring about a distinctive shift in priorities – f-rom merely covering the material to working toward mastery of it” (EDUCAUSE, 2012). This also indicates a challenge in the context of Vietnamese education whe-re students’ self-study with technology is not something familiar. However, the idea is really worth trying for its potential for better learning habits and teaching practice.

  1. Bergmann, J. (2014). Five Mistakes to Avoid When Flipping Your Class. Retrieved f-rom
  2. EDUCAUSE (2012). 7 Things You Should Know about the Flipped Classroom. Retrieved f-rom
  3. Pappas, P. (2012). The Flipped Classroom: Quick Start. Retrieved f-rom
Spencer, D. (2013). Flipped Learning Resources. Retrieved f-rom

Tác giả bài viết: Pham Tien Hung, HaNoi University

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