Turning the Tables on Student Learning… Introducing the Flipped Classroom!


As Dr. Cabrera so eloquently shared in a TEDTalk forum, “we need to get thinking back into every desk” among students of all ages. According to Cabrera, we’ve over-engineered educational courses and programs, and thus overloaded our students with content that we provide to them. We’ve actually taken some of the thinking out of learning.

The instructional strategy technique referred to as “the flipped classroom” is one strategy that can support active student engagement, build self-confident and communication skills, supports self-directed learning, and get students thinking more about thinking and learning!

What is a flipped classroom? It’s a technique that has students prepare for class through pre-readings, video taped information, etc. Class time is then used for active engagement and interaction with the learning material. What caught my attention when I began my search for information on this technique was the analogy used to describe traditional lecturing/teaching to the flipped classroom approach. The descriptive phrases “sage on the stage” vs. “guide on the side” (Knewton, n.d., p. 1) really resonated with me and makes me feel compelled and excited to try this technique.

On the Education Leadership website, Goodwin and Miller (2014) propose a number of great benefits to using this technique:

1. opportunities for real time practice
2. self-paced learning
3. student engagement
4. improved teacher-student interaction
5. more meaningful homework
6. student-directed learning and collaboration

Some of the cons to this technique:
1. students may experience a digital divide – do they have access to technology?
2. resistent to new techniques – work outside of the classroom
3. educators need to prepare in advance, create video instruction tools, more thinking on your feet

The “flipped classroom” approach isn’t necessarily a new thing; just think of the many times over the years where you, as a student, were asked to prepare for class with pre-assigned readings. Yet, its a bit different as the educator becomes a guide and support, rather than sharing all teaching material. I believe its a strategy that teaches students how to learn by providing, as Dr. Cabrera recommends, opportunities to interact with the material and make sense of it with DSRP – teaching them to see the relationships between ideas and objects, look at systems, together and apart; multiple perspectives, and relationship between and among things. I can’t wait to give it a try!

Cabrera, D. (n.d.). How thinking works. How thinking works. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUqRTWCdXt4

Goodwin, B., & Miller, K. (2013, March). Research says/evidence on flipped classrooms is still coming in. Technology-Rich Learning; 70(6):78-80. Retrieved January 25, 2015 http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar13/vol70/num06/Evidence-on-Flipped-Classrooms-Is-Still-Coming-In.aspx

Knewton. (n.d.) Flipped classrooms infographic. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from: http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/


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