Turning classrooms on their head

August 16, 2015 11:00 am
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The growing presence of technology in education allows schools to develop new and innovative approaches to student learning. One of the new methods is called “flipped learning.” Liam Casey explores this method of learning in this article.

How it works

Flipped learning requires students to view online videos of their lesson at home and complete assigned work in class. The videos provide the student with complete control over the pace of their lesson with the option to pause, rewind and rewatch sections as they see fit. This also limits the amount of distractions that frequently lengthen lessons unnecessarily, a situation that occurs often in class. As a result, the teacher has more time available to interact with students and tend to each student’s needs.

As described above, flipped learning is a complete departure from the typical classroom structure currently in place. Regardless, it is already receiving high praise from teachers who have implemented the system.

How it compares

The high student test scores also reflect the success of the system. Donna Feledichuk, a professor at the University of Alberta, observed the scores first-hand when she attempted to test the effectiveness of this approach using her economics classes. Feledichuk taught two classes with the same content and teaching team. The only difference between the classes was the use of traditional teaching methods in one and flipped learning methods in the other. The results were astounding, with an overall grade increase of about 11.4 per cent in the flipped learning class. Attendance also rose from 65 to almost 90 per cent with the introduction of this new approach.

In spite of the extensive benefits that comes from such a program, “flipped learning” is often criticized for not providing low-income students with an equal opportunity to education. Programs associated with “flipped learning”, such as “Bring your own device,” require students to bring in their own electronics in order to access necessary materials, thus placing those without technology at a disadvantage.

Nonetheless, teachers who have utilized this approach continue to sing its praise. We doubt its rise in popularity will be slowing down anytime soon.

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This post was written by Melissa Yu