Flipping the Classroom
‘Forces set free by technology are beginning to turn the traditional classroom on its head.'(1)
‘Flipping the classroom’ is an educational term that describes the new paradigms of teaching that have been developing due to innovation and proliferation of technology. Delivery of lessons and information is now ubiquitous; anywhere at anytime. Whereas a traditional classroom facilitated the learning of content at school, coupled with reinforcement (in various forms) at home, technology is allowing students to gather their data in their own time. This allows teachers to act more like facilitators, supporting the learning and producing process, and explicitly teaching the key skills of digital literacy; accuracy, originality, using multiple sources, correct referencing and multi-modal product creation.
Think of your experience at school; you came into class, sat down and listened to a teacher talk about a concept. There would be writing on the board that you had to copy down, photocopied sheets that you had to highlight, textbooks that you had to read and, if you were really lucky, a diagram on an overhead projector. The emphasis was on content delivery and learning facts and figures. Information came from a finite number of sources. Every student was gathering information from the same one or two sources, and the encyclopedias were hot property in the library. Students were basically regurgitating(2) content from one text onto their own text.
Now, with the internet and all its data dispensing portals (YouTube, blogs, forums, online articles, journals, etc), students have many more ways to find the information they need to build knowledge and demonstrate understanding. The skills that students need to flourish in the 21st Century are processes, not total recall of information. They need to be able find information and determine if it is accurate and applicable to their task. Then, they need to be able to present their new found insights in an engaging and appropriate way for intended audience.
Flipping the classroom means that students become teachers in many ways. They must research the topic to determine their own perceptions. In order to teach a concept, they have to make sure that they thoroughly understand what they are talking about, and they need to communicate it clearly and coherently. To sum the process, we can revisit a well known proverb:
‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.’
Laptops enable learning to take place just about anywhere with internet connectivity. The impending laptop programme at Coomera Anglican College will allow teachers and students to more readily practise contexts like a flipped classroom, move away from a 19th Century education model and embrace 21st Century ubiquitous learning methods.
(1) Stevenson, Andrew, 2011. Technology brings the classroom back home in role reversal, Sydney Morning Herald,
http://bit.ly/uIbgtH, viewed on 07/11/2011.
(2) Regurgitation – Repeat (information) without analysing or comprehending it.