Innovation in education: Flipping the classroom

I collected some very exciting innovations and wonder whether they can be useful in education

2012-07-31 11.19.29Flipping the classroom

A year ago I discovered a video on YouTube from Jelmer Evers, who uses web 2.0 tools and explained the concept of a flipped classroom. Evers teaches history and creates digital lessons using the combination of Prezi, Camtasia and YouTube. His students are very excited by the concept. Some students even learn by iPod while running or traveling by train.

In a flipped classroom, the teacher makes screencasts and other digital materials. The students watch and listen these at home. During the lessons there is more time for exercise and questions, because the theory is already learned.

When I read articles about the flipped classroom, it’s almost always mentioned with Salman Khan in one breath. Khan has recorded 2200 educational videos. He got started by tutoring his cousins in math. Eventually they told him that they preferred his YouTube lessons to him in person. The benefits of videos make sense: you can stop and review things when you want, do things at your own pace, when it’s convenient.

The biggest challenges for teachers will be to be able to design these digital sources and to thrust the concept of students learning by them selves. In my own situation, I work with adults, who work during daytime and have busy schedules. The choose to take a course and for 75% of them it is more of a hobby. I wonder if the flipped classroom can be used in my situation. Of course, the concept can be interesting if every student participates.


The flipped classroom offers very interesting perspectives, but you have to realize…

  • the concept only works when all students are participating
  • the teacher has to have the right skills to develop digital lessons
  • the teacher has to assess whether the student understand the theory
  • digital courses aren’t enough. Interference of the teacher is needed (in form of a forum, chat, etc)
  • students need to possess a computer connected to the internet. In some cases they need to have the right software (eg Powerpoint, etc).
  • the time activity has to be guarded. If every teacher will implement the flipped classroom, the students will have to spend too much time at home processing the course materials. Flipped homework is still homework (Nielsen, 2012).
  • taking for granted that all students are able to view the video lecture on their own computers, the conditions under which they might view the video may not be the best for learning any concepts (Milman, 2012). Milman refers to possible distraction.

The benefits:

  • More time available for a teacher-student moments
  • The students can learn at their own pace
  • No need to catch up after being ill
  • Availability of excellent diagnostic tools



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