Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flipping? I Don't Think So!

I have many reservations with the phenomenon called "flipping". In fact, I am giving a talk at the second Hack the Classroom event September 28 at LMU called Flipping the Classroom: Bad Pedagogy in New Clothes. The talk description highlights some of my objections to the practice. 

Many people have embraced the flipped classroom as the next "big" idea in education and educational technology. The idea of "exciting" homework, increased efficiency of class time, seamless integration of technology, and student engagement go hand in hand with "flipping". Let's stop and talk about this. This sounds like more homework, more lecture, and less student choice to me. If we are making the switch in order to advocate for more engaging class time, shouldn't all material be engaging? This talk will be a conversation about how flipping may present some problems and how it may be used effectively. 

A new study from Stanford confirms some of my concerns. Research suggests that students learn best when they can explore and play with an idea before formalized instruction. Think of this as the "explore first" model. This is in contrast to the standard method of reading specific text or assigned videos to prepare students for incoming lessons. 

A new study from the Stanford Graduate School of Education flips upside down the notion that students learn best by first independently reading texts or watching online videos before coming to class to engage in hands-on projects. Studying a particular lesson, the Stanford researchers showed that when the order was reversed, students' performances improved substantially. ( PLOTNIKOFF

Check out the article to review the research and methodology. It confirms the obvious to me, "flipping" is nothing more than a fad with little empirical evidence. Also check out he post, The Flip: End of Love Affair by Shelley Wright for a candid look at "flipping".  

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