Whenever I train teachers on the Flipped Classroom Model, I’m always asked the same questions. “What do you do if your students do not complete the homework?” or “What do you do if students do not have access to the internet and/or devices at home?” These are valid questions and concerns. Homework completion and online access must be a consideration when teachers decide whether or not the flipped classroom is a viable model.
For those teachers who don’t feel they can successfully flip instruction for homework, I recommend the in-class flip. This is a variation on the traditional approach to the flipped classroom, which pulls both the online transfer of information and the application/practice into the classroom.
Recently on Twitter, I was asked, “Doesn’t the in-class flip defeat the purpose of the flipped classroom?” I don’t think so. The original intention of the flipped classroom was to allow students some control over the time, place, and pace of their learning. If they are able to watch a video at home, they can pause, rewind, or rewatch the video and pace their own learning in a way that isn’t possible when a teacher is lecturing or explaining information in class.
3 reasons the in-class flip is worth trying:
1. Students still control the pace of their learning.
Many teachers still march lock-step through lectures, mini-lessons, and PowerPoint presentations with the entire class. This approach provides students with one opportunity to get the information. The pacing is the same for everyone; even though, students write and process information at different rates. If they fall behind in their notes, they may miss important details or facts. If teachers record their presentations and allowed students to watch them at their own pace in class, then students can still pause, rewind, ask a question, or look up a word to better understand the information being presented. Those videos are also available online anytime for students who want to revisit the information.
2. Teachers are free to circulate and support students as they work.
The in-class flip frees teachers from the trap of talking at the front of the room and allows them the opportunity to move away from a one-size-fits-all lesson. As students watch videos, the teacher can move around the room answering questions and troubleshooting with students who need it. Even the clearest video or lecture will spark questions for some learners, so these one-on-one conversations can help clarify complex concepts. (Click here for more on avoiding the one-size-fits-all classroom.)
3. Students can still apply the information in class with their peers.
I’ve always said the magic of the flipped classroom lies not the information that is flipped or the media used to flip it. Instead, the magic is what happens in the classroom when the time created by shifting the transfer of information online is used to engage students in collaborative application and practice. To effectively create this time in class for student-centered practice, teachers must be thoughtful about the design of their lesson. It’s best to employ a Whole Group Rotation, if you have devices for every student, or a Station Rotation Model, if you have limited access to devices, to set up an in-class flip that both allows time for students to self-pace through the video or online information and work collaboratively with peers to practice applying that information. When teachers are able to balance these two elements of the lesson, they are free to shift from the role of a facilitator or coach supporting students as they work to apply information.
If you want specific strategies, resources, and lesson templates to design a Flipped Classroom (or in-class flip), Whole Group Rotation, or Station Rotation lesson, check out my newest book Blended Learning in Action! It’s available on Corwin & Amazon.