Thursday, April 11, 2013

View from the Field: Blended Learning & Flipped Classrooms

As we looked at in our last post, blended learning takes on many different flavors, varying in both what takes place online vs. face-to-face, as well as the overall degree of how much takes place online.

One of the trendiest formats for blended learning is that of a flipped classroom.  In fact, if you've attended a conference recently, be it ITEC or i11i, you probably have seen several different sessions about teachers "flipping their classes".

Though there is some difference in opinion, a flipped classroom will often take and use tools like screencasting to record your presentation of the curriculum.  And then, you make the recording available online.  In essence, you take the "traditional" model of lecture in the class and activity outside of the class and flip it, so that students watch the lecture on their own and come to class to apply it.

A slightly different take on it is to say that what traditionally happens in a classroom is in the lower two levels of Bloom's (remembering and understanding), whereas the higher levels are reserved for projects completed outside the classroom.  Flipping it would have students work on the lower levels on their own, leaving the in-class work for the higher-order thinking skills.

Flipping a classroom has thus far been primarily a voluntary process in Iowa schools.  It typically is a passionate teacher who is looking to do something different and better.  Teachers I have worked with in the state see big changes in both the day-to-day learning of their students as well their attitudes towards learning in general.  Is this all attributed to the blended learning format, or is possibly enthusiasm among the teacher and students with something new that uses online technology?  Good question... one the research is looking to tackle.

Here is an excellent overview to blended learning from a teacher's perspective:

For more on Blended Learning, check out these resources:
Educause's 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms (pdf)
The Flipped Classroom Infographic
The Flipped Classroom Website

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