Flipped Learning

Our class operates on the flipped (or blended) classroom model of teaching.   You may have had other teachers that have used this model of teaching.  I have created this page to answer questions you might have about what flipped learning is all about.

What does it mean when a teacher has a "flipped or blended classroom?"

A flipped classroom is one in which students are assigned a 10-20 minute video lesson or podcast to watch outside of class.  This work is completed prior to the next class period.  Students may be asked to take notes in an interactive notebook, solve practice problems, and/or respond to a prompt on the class blog page.  Here is a link to a short video that gives a brief explanation of a flipped classroom à VIDEO LINK

What does this look like in our classroom?

In different subject areas, a flipped classroom looks a little different.  In a chemistry, physics or math class, students may come to class and work problem sets, play games that reinforce the content, or construct models that help them understand course content more clearly. 

What this looks like in our classroom is: 

  • posing questions about natural phenomenon and designing lab experiments to answer our questions
  • completing pre-lab and post-lab activities 
  • participating in case studies related to the unit we are studying
  • participating in POGIL based activities (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning)
  • working with models of biological processes, whether we are constructing them or examining them
  • using research-based resources to reinforce our learning, such as materials from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
  • solving problem sets related to evolutionary changes, population growth, water potential, etc.
  • solving problem sets using common statistical analysis methods found in the biology
  • viewing research-based videos that provide a high-level of educational value and that support our current unit of study
  • practicing AP style free response questions, grid-ins, and multiple choice questions as a part of our exam preparations
  • creating graphic organizers in our interactive notebooks to cement learning

But the video isn't you, so you're not really teaching us, right?

First of all, the video podcasts that have been chosen for you to view are of outstanding quality, and are directly correlated to the learning objectives of our curriculum.  

The flipped or blended classroom does not mean that you will not ever receive direct instruction from me; in fact, it is quite the opposite.  Because you will be getting the content delivered outside of class in a smaller amount of time,  I will have in-class time to elaborate on the concepts learned, to clarify any muddy points you might still have, to provide enrichment, and to assess what students have learned before moving on to more challenging work.  Teaching using this method allows me more time in class to interact with you so that I can more easily assess what you do and do not understand about the topics we are learning about at that time.  This method also means that you will have more time for collaborative learning as a part of a team.

I feel fairly confident this is not just another passing fad in education, nor is it something that I am just now jumping on the bandwagon.  For over three years, I have been researching, planning, and talking to many other educators in an effort to make this move to a more student-centered classroom.   The primary obstacle has been that I felt had to make all my own video podcast to do this, otherwise it would be like cheating.   I have determined, with the help of many excellent teachers, that taking advantages of the quality resources that are already available to our students is smart – not cheating.  In today’s world students should be gathering information from multiple resources, not just one “expert” in the field.   It is my goal to slowly add more of my own video podcasts as the year progresses, and over the next few years to build up my own library of video podcast that will serve as another tool for student learning.   

So what's the benefit of flipped learning?

Here are a few of the many benefits of learning in this way:

  • Lectures are 10-20 minutes at most, as opposed to 45-60 minutes
  • You can watch the lessons on your own time
  • You can rewind the lectures and watch them as many times as you need, particular sections you find difficult
  • Your in-class time is spent working in learning teams to make sure all students understand the topic
  • Your teacher has much more time to work with you directly
  • You have a greater opportunity for more one-on-one interaction with your teacher
  • You will develop a better sense of working with others in teams
  • Your questions about concepts you don't understand are more likely to be answered 
  • You have in-class time to complete work you might have otherwise had to do at home

If you still have questions about this method of teaching and learning, please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to engage in conversation with you.