From Victorians to Vodcasts

Kenny Nicholl, Director, Canvas by Instructure explains more about the evolving world of the flipped classroom

Although the Victorian classroom seems like a different world, the art of teaching itself has not changed that dramatically since the time of chalkboards and abacuses. Time machines may not have been invented yet, but if you could go back 100 years the teaching process itself would be similar.

Previously, technology has been used to make lessons and teaching more efficient, for example by reducing laborious hours spent marking for overworked teachers. However, we now know that technology can do far more for both teachers and students. It gives us more flexibility in how we approach the teacher-student relationship and even the way lessons are structured.

As technology has become more affordable and widely used, this has become more obvious. There are now several inexpensive ways to explore new approaches and provide students with different ways to learn.

One way that the education rule book is being turned on its head is through the ‘Flipped Classroom’ model.

What is the flipped classroom?

In a flipped classroom, traditional learning techniques are inverted. Teaching takes place outside of the classroom and instead ‘homework’ is completed during class time. Although this may seem counterproductive, the concept can in fact revive the antiquated way that lessons have always been taught and in turn, maximise a teacher’s precious time.

This model of teaching puts emphasis on homework, for example watching the traditional lecture outside of class on a vodcast at home, while class time is spent on questions, debates and exploring the topic further.

This new method leaves more room for valuable one-to-one focus on topics where a students might need further instruction. It can even create great opportunities to nurture student/teacher interaction.

How technology supports a flipped classroom

Technology allows educators to use their time more valuably, extending their reach beyond the classroom. For instance, they can quickly and easily create and distribute content to students who can then review it at their own pace.

Also, by using an education platform, data insights can be used by teachers to effectively track the progress of individual students and see who’s engaging with the materials and how they are each progressing.

The benefits of a flipped classroom

With the flipped classroom method, students can access a more effective and rewarding way of learning, as students are trusted with the freedom to tailor their learning approach to their own lifestyle and preferred methods, while still benefitting from structured guidance in the classroom.

It’s not just talk, research shows that students believe this is an effective approach – 75% of US students surveyed by Speak Up agreed that the flipped classroom was a good model for learning.

The main benefit of innovative educational models like the flipped classroom is the way feedback is placed at the heart of education. Both students and parents are given an improved sense of development as well as their individual strengths and weaknesses, meaning they have a clear idea about what is needed from them in order to move forward.

When it comes to providing students with a rewarding educational experience, teachers and education establishments are under increasing pressure. The ‘Flipped Classroom’ method is just one way to ensure that a teacher’s time is used as effectively as possible and students get a more tailored and fulfilling education.

Technology is helping provide teachers with new and exciting opportunities to engage with their students so they can do what they do best. Despite fears that technology will mean the end for teachers, it instead marks a fresh start.