Misconceptions and Issues
Be sure to read Aaron Sams and Brian’s article “The Truth About Flipped Learning” where they discuss several misconceptions related to the flipped classroom.
  • Misconception: “You don’t need teachers anymore” -or- “I can cram 50 kids into a computer lab to teach them chemistry so I don’t have to pay for a teacher”
    • It’s not about the videos or technology. It’s about learning.
    • How do we leverage technology to give teachers more time to do what they do best?
      • Technology makes content rewindable and accessible. Teachers can only give a lesson a certain number of times before they need to move on. Use technology to allow students to learn at their pace.
      • Teachers make content relevant, engaging, and individualized. When it comes to building positive relationships, motivating students, and making learning personal a computer screen can never replace a human being.
      • Using technology without the human element needed to check for true understanding misses the point.
  • Misconception: Teachers can sit at their desk during class now and grade papers or update their Fantasy Football teams.
    • Teachers will have to spend a lot of upfront time to have this ready for their students. That does not mean class time is when they can sit at their desk and do other things.
    • The human element is the most important part of the flipped classroom.
    • Now that all the content is available at any time, teachers need to spend their time moving around the room and working one-on-one with their students to guide, check for understanding and motivate students.
    • Depending on the amount of class time it’s not unrealistic to expect teachers to make contact with every student during a block class period or every student over two 50-minute classes.
  • Misconception: This will be chaos - there’s no structure if every kids is going at his or her own pace.
    • I am a firm believer that choices in learning can lead to ownership of it. When students have choices in how, when, and where they learn they will be much more likely to take ownership of their learning. Because many students are used to being told how, when, and where they are supposed to learn, downtime in the classroom often turns into wasted time and apathy.
    • Learning doesn’t always have to take place in organized rows. There will be a lot of kids doing a lot of different things. Activity doesn’t necessarily mean chaos.
    • Once again, this is where the human element comes in. Teachers need to spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year modeling how they expect students to behave, teaching time management skills, and demonstrating how students take ownership of their learning.
    • Classroom management is key.
"This is just bad pedagogy (or “status-quo”) with a technology twist."
    • Bad teaching is bad teaching and putting a kid in front of a computer or having students watch a screencast at home doesn’t magically fix the problem. In fact, it makes the problem more apparent.
    • Some people feel direct instruction has no place in the classroom. I feel the way it’s done currently is not effective but it does have some positives. Some kids do learn this way. More kids would learn if they had a way to do it at a pace that works for them. We at least need to let it be an option for those who want it.
    • Ask yourself, “what is the best way for my kids to learn ___.” Do you have enough class time to do that? Are there ways that you can free up class time so there are more opportunities for the “good stuff”? Do you even need a video, or is there something else you can use?
  • This is a “cookie-cutter” solution. This will look the same regardless of student level, subject, or teacher.
    • This will not look the same for every teacher or every subject.
    • Don’t use technology for technology’s sake. Use it for a purpose. If a screencast isn’t the best option for learning then don’t use it.
    • Focus - what is the best way for my students to learn __.
Issues to Consider:
  • Computer/internet access
    • There is not a silver bullet (one solution that will work for everyone) for this but there are lots of silver BB’s. There’s always a way and those ways are becoming increasingly accessible and cheap! Give kids options and expectations then let them decide.
      • High-speed internet at home - no problems
      • Computer but no internet - save on USB at school, view at home
        • Some teachers have designated a part of their classroom for students to review videos during non-class time (i.e., before, after school, study halls, lunch)
      • Smartphones - download videos onto phones (free)
      • iPods/iPads - set up free iTunes account, students subscribe and get free updates
      • No computer - burn onto DVDs. I’ve even heard of teachers who bought cheap portable DVD players to loan out to kids who didn’t have DVD players at home.