Is Flipped Ed A Good Fix?

Technology and education – mix them right and you’ll certainly get MOOCs and flipped classroom.  Both are controversial, sparking debates here and there. Ultimately, these new fixes are subject to intense experimentation, with the welfare of its recipient learners in mind.

Flipped classroom, education, or school is defined by Tina Rosenberg as follows: “one where students watch teachers’ lectures at home and do what we’d otherwise call ‘homework’ in class.”

Watch.  Well, students do that ‘watching’ inside classroom lectures, right?  So, why take that watching and listening activity unto recorded videos?

education
education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Student-paced

Indeed, flipped Ed promises learning that is more geared towards student’s pace.  To highlight the difference, see Sumner Murphy’s cited case:

If you’re sitting in a classroom and your teacher gives you a lecture, it’s a one-off deal. If you don’t understand it, you’re going to be left behind, and if you’re a really smart student, you’re going to be bored in class. …By moving lectures to video — and thereby adding the benefits of pause, fast forward and rewind — students can learn at their own pace.”

So, there’s the key: the ‘pause, fast forward and rewind’ option.  Inside classrooms, these three options are hardly a possibility.  Even if it’s actually feasible for students to ask their instructors to slow down, backpedal a bit, the resulting perception from their peers makes this request unheard of.

Student engagement

Flipped education is obviously considered pro-student.  Another student-badge worth bringing out is its positive impact towards students’ engagement.

Paced learning ensures that students absorb the content or lesson.  Furthermore, it leaves them in an independent quest for practical application.  Classroom hours are, therefore, spent more on doing, not just merely sitting.

Early adapters of this flipped classroom are seeing ‘phenomenal outcomes’ – “from the failure rate to disciplinary issues…,” as noted by Murphy of Mobento.

Two cons to consider

Yet, as mentioned above, flipped classroom generally remains to be an experiment. The Forbes’ Jessica Stillman proffered two major drawbacks in her article, “How to Fix Education: Flip It Upside Down?”

  1. 1.  Focus:  Fitting supposedly long and by-phased lectures into shorter, by-minute video lectures does seem to answer and foster today’s learner’s inability to focus in a longer time span.
  1. 2.  Resources:  Video-recording lectures require equipment, as well as, sufficient time from teachers.  Public and poor-performing schools have less of both (eg, budget for equipment or software and quality teachers).

Flipped Ed is, indeed, the next big thing in education.  It is mired with challenges, issues, and advantages – akin to any kind of solution known to the sector, making it a trend worth watching for.

About the Author

Lorenzo Snow is an educational advocate. He likes to write and tell stories. He is a regular contributor at Essay Writer Blog.

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