Flipping the classroom has transformed our teaching practice. We no longer stand in front of our students and talk at them for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. This radical change has allowed us to take on a different role with our students. Both of us taught for many years using a lecture format. We were both good teachers. In fact, Jonathan received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching as a lecturer, and Aaron received the same award under the flipped model. As we look back, however, we realize we could never go back to teaching in the traditional manner.
The flipped classroom has changed not just our own classrooms. Teachers from around the world have adopted the model and are using it to teach classes in all curriculum areas to elementary, middle, and high school students as well as adults. We have seen how flipping your classroom can change kids' lives. In this chapter, we want to highlight why you should consider flipping your classroom.
I can't think of a reason to willingly go back to the traditional lecture method. I have to teach so many different courses this year that I have not been able to use the video/mastery method in my forensics course. I hate teaching it, because I now hate lecturing.
âBrett Wilie (First Baptist Academy, Dallas, Texas)
Flipping speaks the language of today's students
Today's students grew up with Internet access, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and a host of other digital resources. They can typically be found doing their math homework while texting their friends, IMing on Facebook, and listening to music all at the same time. Many of these students report that when they come to school, they have to turn off and dumb down because their schools ban cell phones, iPods, and any other digital devices. The sad thing is that most students are carrying in their pockets a more powerful computing device than the vast majority of computers in our underfunded schoolsâand we don't allow them to use it.
When we present the flipped classroom to educators, we usually get anÂ ooh-ahhÂ reaction from our audiences, which are primarily made up of adults who did not grow up with the always-on digital world. When we began flipping, we were surprised at our students' lack of amazement. After about two weeks of watching the videos, they had settled into learning, and the "wow" factor was gone. These students understand digital learning. To them, all we are doing is speaking their language. Don't get us wrongâwe are not saying they don't appreciate learning this way. But instruction via video is not a big deal for today's students.
One concern we have heard from adults is that we're increasing screen time in front of a computer, which aggravates the disconnect many adults feel with today's youth. To that we say that we are infiltrating the video/digital culture instead of fighting it. Isn't it about time we embraced digital learning and used it to help our students learn, instead of telling them they can't learn with today's tools? It seems preposterous to us that schools have not embraced this change.
When you walk into our classrooms, you will see students engaged in a variety of activities using different digital devices. Students are working on our (obsolete) class computers, they are using their iPods, they are working together, they are experimenting, and they are interacting with their teacher. We encourage our students to bring in their own electronic equipment because, frankly, it is better than our school's antiquated technology.