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Thu Sep 25, 2014, 01:16 AM

Flipping the Classroom

Growing number of faculty members are using a new teaching technique

At a recent presentation, chemistry professor Emily Niemeyer asked the audience how they got good at doing something they are good at.

Not one person chose answer B – “Listening to Lectures.” Instead, most chose answer C – “Practicing.”

This is the theory behind a new teaching technique that Niemeyer and several others have been introducing at Southwestern. It’s called the “flipped classroom.”

While there are many variations of the flipped classroom, the most common one is one in which what used to be classwork (i.e. lectures) is done before students come to class by means of teacher-created videos. And what used to be homework (assigned problems) is now done in class − either with the professor or among the students themselves.

Read more: http://southwestern.edu/live/news/9907-flipping-the-classroom

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 08:38 AM

1. When this was tried in my kid's classroom, it was an unmitigated disaster.

This is just another one of those ideas that will get loads of attention, because it is different. In real life it does not work very well at all. Listening to classroom lectures on their own time out of school, just adds to the amount of time kids are being forced to spend on homework. Just another way to keep kids busy and locked inside watching a computer screen. What happens to the kids who did not have access to high speed wireless at home? They never get the lecture at home. This sounds like another one of those for-profit school scams.

It is one more step to not having real teachers in the classroom. It is much cheaper to video a lecture once and play it over and over rather than hire real teachers and professors to teach. Some professors would fall for this, because there are some who do not like lecturing. They do not realize that this will be used to eliminate their jobs completely once the video is made.

Really bad idea.

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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 03:14 PM

2. You are most likely correct.

This new style of teaching is being applied in a private, liberal arts university where the students are from reasonably affluent families and are motivated to learn. The university is wired for high speed Internet and about 80% of the students live on campus. They also have access to the Internet through the library and computer centers on campus.

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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 03:22 PM

3. It's not about what you describe and that's why it likely failed.

 

One needs to have a very good teacher in the classroom that then helps the students apply what they watched. That is very hard and can't be done by someone untrained.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 10:14 AM

4. The teacher who tried this was trained in this method. The method does not work.

The point of having labs that go along with the lectures is to practice what is taught in the lectures. Homework is the other part of practice. One needs to have office hours available for students to ask questions. Teaching assistants must be available for students for tutoring sessions where students get to ask questions and get help, as well.

The flipping is just a way to save money by cutting out teaching assistants, eliminate office hour requirements and reduce the number of teachers and professors hired.


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Response to greatlaurel (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 11:39 AM

5. I have no idea the training that that teacher had.

 

You have a pretty small sample size to declare that the method does not work. Are you a teacher? Have you tried it?

I don't use the flipped classroom but I understand it. It takes a LOT of training and a LOT of work. You need a really good classroom teacher to make it work and what is done in the classroom is very different from what is traditionally done.

If all that is being done is that lectures are being taped and then it is just a Q&A during classtime, then it is being done wrong.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 09:38 PM

6. Students won't spend 20 minutes finishing an assignment for homework.

What makes any sane person think the same students will listen to content delivery, read a text, or do anything on their own?

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Response to QED (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 09:51 PM

7. They want to make high enough grades that the parents will shell out another $40,000 so that they

can keep drinking and socializing with their college buddies.

I noted earlier that this was being done in a group of motivated students, not that it should be used in every educational environment. Southwestern does not have any teaching assistants, although there are student tutors for mathematics and in the computer lab.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sun Sep 28, 2014, 11:45 AM

8. Any & every technique works well with motivated students.

I'm sure this works well for good students but EVERYTHING works well for good (motivated) students. Right now I'm taking an education course for my certification that is "flipped" and I don't think anyone is reading ahead. (Lord knows I'm not; 50% of these courses are common sense. The other 50% is making ridiculously convoluted lesson plans that I'll never do again once these classes are over.)

As for the college level, call me cynical but this seems like a great way to free up time for the professors. (Just like with the "Problem Based Learning" fad earlier that allowed them to "teach" 6 or 7 courses a semester, courtesy of only having to meet once or twice a week...)

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