Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where I'm at with Flipped Teaching

I first learned of Flipped Teaching in April 2011. When I first heard of it I was excited by the possibilities, but also grounded by the question, "What if the students don't watch the videos? Then what?" I kept the idea in my head as I finished the school year. At the end of the year, I discussed the concept with one of my classes and most students were apprehensive about the idea of flipping math classes. Due to this apprehension, I put off implementing it until I could learn more.

As I went through the next semester and taught more of the new math curriculum, I found that I was having more and more trouble finding time to explore and investigate the content with the students, complete examples for the students that need it and still provide time for the students to practice. The student practice was almost always pushed to the last few minutes of class or completely at home. This led to a lot of students never really engaging in the content on their own, which in my opinion, is when the actual learning takes place. Students need to struggle with the content in order to learn.

Due to this increasing struggle to find time, I decided that I couldn't wait any longer; I had to try to implement a flipped classroom. I began fipping some math lessons in the second semester of this school year. My method of flipping is as follows:

  • we still explore and investigate the content in class
  • the regular lecture style examples are presented in video format for students to watch at home
  • the next day in class we do a quick recap of the content and then students are able to engage in practice in the classroom surrounded by peers and the teacher!

Now when students hit a roadblock in their work, they are able to talk to each other or me to get through it, rather than being alone at home and simply giving up. In terms of timing, we are not spending two days per lesson; instead, we work on practice for the first half of class and explore/investigate for the second half of each lesson. Then students go home and watch the videos and return the next day ready to do practice. Here is a link to one of my class wikis that I use to host the post the videos on:

Here's an example video:

Overall, I am very satisifed with my experience with flipped teaching so far. All students are now actually working on assignments in class and are able to get the assistance they need. This is a huge improvement over the past where many students wouldn't complete any questions and home, which meant they were never actually doing any thinking on their own. Of course, there have been questions, issues and concerns that have arisen from this flipped method too. Examples of these are:

  • student and parent concerns over trying something new
  • some students not watching the videos
  • does this actually fit the inquiry based math curriculum?
  • the extra time it takes me outside of class to make the videos
  • student outcomes seem to be improved, but the students this semester are also older and any have already taken another 20-level math course
  • how would I implement this in other subject areas?
  • can the flip be implemented within class time?
  • how do I best use flipped teaching to differentiate instruction?

That is where I am at today. I am using my basic flipped model for most of my classes and I am happy with the results. Some students have expressed how much they like the videos and other students have expressed their disdain for them.

Over the next few weeks in ETAD 802, I plan to research and explore current articles and research on flipped teaching and other forms of blended learning. I will be posting a new blog post every few days.

If you have used flipped teaching, have suggestions for good articles or have questions or concerns regarding flipped teaching, please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you and learn with you!


  1. I do think this is a very important topic, and as you know too well, it is something we are doing more and more of in our own program. You've begun with something I've struggled with -- by off-loading the content to off hours, we are expanding the experience. We use our time more productively as a group when we're together, but we also place additional demands on the learners (and the teacher to produce the videos). The flipped part happens when we gather and explore. The other part expands more than it flips. You know it is an approach I've used, so I'm not criticizing. I just have questions about how we go about flipping our classrooms, when we are reluctant to give up any of the stuff we used to do during classtime. It's a puzzle!

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    You have brought up a good point regarding flipped teaching. Can we use flipped teaching to just cover the exact same content as before? Should we use flipped teaching to just cover the exact same content as before? I think the obvious answer is no. If we are going to flip the lessons and expect students to spend time outside of class viewing the content, then we need to really determine what is necessary. Are we delivering content that is not necessary? Are we trying to deliver content that we can now more meaningfully explore with our newly made available in-class time? That is what we should focus on; those big ideas that we can now explore rather than just lecture on!