Have you ever heard students complain that classroom lectures are boring? Or how the homework is ten times harder than the lecture and impossible to do without a teacher’s help? Or that the teacher doesn’t have time to help individual students? Flipped learning aims to eliminate these obstacles to learning by using technology to create a new method of teaching that will motivate students and allow teachers to do their jobs more effectively.
What is Flipped Learning? Flipped learning, blended learning, reverse teaching, Mom-I-can-use-an-iPad-in-school! are all synonymous for the new method of teaching that’s taking over education. Teachers assign online lessons, typically in video form, for students to watch at home. Then, when the class meets the next day, the teacher briefly reviews the lesson and students do work (what would otherwise be known as homework) in the classroom. Instead of a lecture taking up class time, students spend time working with the teacher one-on-one, doing activities with each other, and completing work on their own.
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Where did this idea come from? According to the education platform Knewton, the idea grew legs when two Colorado teachers were recording their PowerPoint lectures and posting the videos online for students who were sick and had to miss class. As the online lectures started becoming popular with students outside their classes, other educators took notice and began to run with the idea.
Why is this trend growing? Every now and then there’s an itch for change, and the there's no doubt that our education system is ready for an overhaul, or at least an update. We are positioned at a unique moment in history, in which new forms of technological education have become possible for the first time, making education readily accessible on the internet and available at the tips of our fingers. Flipped learning uses technology to give teachers more of the one-on-one interaction and hands-on practice they have always known makes for quality learning.
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How can teachers use flipped learning effectively? By using online lessons from high-quality sources, or by recording their own video lessons, teachers can assign lessons for students at home, then help those who need it in class, and let others do work in groups or independently. Letting students learn the basics at home allows them to learn at their own pace; they can watch other relevant content if they’re learning quickly or repeat sections of the online lesson if they need more help. Also, online lessons will typically contain some sort of practice mechanism, so students aren’t passively watching a video.
Is there a catch? There can be misgivings associated with flipped learning, so let’s straighten them out right now:
This isn’t a method that only young teachers can apply. Every teacher, no matter what age, has some degree of familiarity with technology. There are plenty of resources that can help you figure out what degree of flipped learning is best for you and your classroom.
This isn’t a perfected method. But then again, our current method isn’t perfect either. Flipped learning is still in its early stages of development, however, students’ retention rates have significantly improved when switching from traditional learning to flipped learning (check it out here: http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/).
Technology will never make teaching irrelevant. Flipped learning is flipping the method of teaching, not the meaning and importance of it. It’s about finding a way to encourage students who learn quickly and provide more assistance to the students who need detailed instruction, all while keeping the majority of the class engaged.
Flipped learning works because it fosters curiosity in the classroom. At the start, not every student will be 100% on board with this new system, but after realizing that they have to come to class prepared in order to fully understand and experience the lesson with fun in-class activities, they will be more actively engaged in the lessons at home. Plus, most kids nowadays speak and understand the language of technology because it’s what they’ve grown up with. Flipped learning is not only about taking advantage of technology for the classroom’s sake, it’s also about teaching kids how technology can be used effectively for learning and creating projects, instead of shunning it as a distraction.
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We hope this helps to clarify what flipped learning is and why it’s important. In the next blog, we’re going to talk about how MusicProfessor uses the flipped method to give everyone access to music education, and we'll also offer specific tips and resources if you’re looking to flip your classroom.
Find out how you can flip your musical classroom, whether that be a band hall, a small classroom, or the comfort of your own home. Visit www.musicprofessor.com and join us in our journey to give the world access to a top-notch music education.