To flip or not to flip…is that the question?
By Anne on July 10th, 2012
You can flip a number of things. Pages, coins, lids, and recently in education we’ve been talking about flipping classrooms. Technology has recently brought new life to this idea and what it means, on a very basic level, is providing lectures on video as homework and doing hands-on assignments during class in the presence of your teacher – flip! Last week I read a really interesting piece written by Arthur Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology, which Valerie Strauss was kind enough to share on her Washington Post Answer Sheet blog. Camins asks us to consider the power of the brilliant lecture and if it will be lost if we get too swept away by flipping the classroom. He references great lectures from his education and I completely agree that there is power in that experience and it doesn’t matter the topic. In high school I still remember Ms. Sherv explaining DNA replication so well with an office metaphor that the whole class was entranced and aced the test later. In college, Frank Clemente was notorious for having a packed lecture hall because of his use of personal narrative to explain the fundamentals of socioeconomics. In fact, I just referenced him the other day – years later. And as Camins references, there was a very social aspect to these lectures that would be missed at home. Akin to “were you there for that one? It was awesome.” But I also remember the classes where I wished there was more help that I could reference at home. Frustratingly flipping the pages back and forth to find where the secret to the answer may lie. So what is best when it comes to flipping the classroom?
As with most approaches to education, I think it is all a question of balance and teachers know best. Using technology to free up classroom time to allow for more impactful learning is brilliant! But let’s not lose sight of those moments in class that stay with us forever. The ones that sent you home and enthusiastically had you answering, “What did you learn at school today,” at the dinner table.
OOMers, what do you think? Is the flipped classroom an all or nothing proposition? Is it an integrated portion of instruction in our future classrooms? Is it the future? Or a passing fad? Tell us!
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