Some students in WRIT 510 at Winthrop are researching Flipped Classrooms. We research the topic out of interest, for future use, or for the annotated bibliography. Whether an article is published in 2014 or in 2012, new tools, perspectives, and information continually become available for all teachers and professors. Educause Learning Institute’s “7 Things You Should Know About … Flipped Classrooms” presents in seven steps how flipped classrooms grow, succeed, the free tools to use, and students’ positive and negative perspectives.
Educause opens its 2012 article with an excellent example. The student, Kyle, attends a class learning about food gardens. He watches flipped classroom lectures with quizzes from which he receives immediate feedback (Educause 1). In class, he collaborates with a team of students to “repurpose an area the size of an urban backyard into a visually appealing garden that is also a functional food source” (1). While the students cannot always meet to discuss problems that could occur in fruits, they use Google Docs to collaborate (Educause 1). On one hand, Kyle and his group display what Scott Warnock discusses in chapter 13 of Teaching Writing Online about collaboration online. While the group works together during f2f time, they also work together through discussion with an online tool.
Educause explains how flipped classrooms work at the university level. Professors embrace flipped classroom because their class time focuses on hands on learning and students’ questions and discussions (Educause 1-2). For example, a Penn State professor uses flipped classroom lectures for up to 1,300 students and class time for discussion. If there is hands on learning, the professor receives help from student assistants (2). Although he teaches large classes, the Penn State professor attempts to make his class feel smaller by allowing class time for discussion and activities. He recognizes students learn by doing.
Free Tool from a Harvard Professor? What!
While the article features many great components, the primary reason I chose the article is to share this tool. According to Educause, a physics professor has created a site called Learning Catalytics granting teachers “free interactive software enabling students to discuss, apply, and get feedback from what they hear in lecture” (2). While exploring the website, you can take a tour. On the site’s pricing page, you will see an instructor’s account is free.
If, like me, you’re wondering how to incorporate quizzes into a flipped classroom lesson making it more interactive, also check out Quizlet. Many professors and teachers use this as a way to give students instant feedback. Both Quizlet and Learning Catalytics provide options for professors in learning to make flipped classrooms participatory for students.
What Students Say …
According to Educause, some students like flipped classrooms because they participate more in f2f class. Students may also watch parts of the lecture again, and have time to “reflect” on what the professor is saying (Educause 2). Educause also presents a point that I had not considered. ESL students benefit from flipped classroom lectures because they can listen to the lecture more than once. Educause also states that a flipped classroom lesson is more beneficial when it includes captions “for those with hearing impairments” (2). While I wrote last week about how flipped classrooms could benefit students with disabilities, there are so many aspects about which we do not consider. What about students with hearing impairments? Just as a classroom teacher is responsible for differentiating instruction in f2f classes, he or she needs to do the same in a hybrid or flipped classroom.
At the university level, students sometimes perceive flipped classrooms as negative. According to Educause, some students wonder what they’re paying for if their professors’ lectures are available to everyone on the web (2). I think one way to counter this argument is to remember many universities have CMS on which professors upload their flipped classrooms. That way students do not feel cheapened by professors sharing their flipped classrooms with everyone on the Internet.
Educause Learning Institute. “7 Things You Should Know About … Flipped Classrooms.” Educause. 2012. Web. 13 July 2014.