In my opinion, the flipped classroom hasn’t really landed and taken root as its supporters would have hoped. It has such strong promise, but it’s so difficult for one teacher, let alone an entire year, or school, to make the leap (or flip). Changing the way lessons are taught and out-of-class work is handled is hard. However, most schools and colleges already have the tools to make it work. And, I think it’s up to technology to steady the wheel for the flipped classroom, and keep this new way of learning moving forwards.
Why the flipped classroom?
I truly believe that the transition to the flipped classroom needs to happen. The ways in which children are currently learning and interacting with information are simply not preparing them for the big wide world of employment. How often do you come away from meetings with colleagues or clients with homework or further reading? We do however, all read agendas, reports, or do a bit of internet research on the subject matter before a meeting so that we can come prepared and get the most out of the short time we have. Entering a “meeting” unprepared is a challenge that school children are facing every day, so they are essentially playing catch up in lessons and using homework to show their talents and understanding instead.
A flipped learning environment allows pupils to show their talents and cement their understanding of a topic face to face, in the lesson. They get to win the debate, succeed in the experiment or demonstrate their skill all in front of their teacher, and importantly, their peers. Life skills – teamwork, motivation of others, even failure, are experienced alongside others. This is how the working world works.
The technology is already there
In our professional lives, technology is a key tool in moving between the responsibilities of the working day, from the meeting room to a desk (whether it be on or off-site). This technology is already in schools – we just need to ensure pupils are learning to use it “like professionals”. We should be teaching them to take advantage of mobile devices and the ability they have to access the network from anywhere, at school or at home.
Teachers and pupils don’t need to take work home, they can work from home and be ready for lessons. Ideally, it’s homework that needs to be flipped, not the classroom itself. Let’s make “homework” more like work.