The Flipped Class as a Way TO the Answers

One common criticism of the the Flipped Class is that it really isn’t that big of a change.  A recorded lecture is still just a lecture.  Instead of students sitting in a room and hearing a “boring” lecture we bore them at home.  There really isn’t anything revolutionary about a video lecture.  

If all the flipped classroom is lectures at home and homework in class, then yes–I agree with the pundits:  The Flipped Class is just window dressing on a broken system.  

I believe that the flipped class is NOT the answer to today’s educational problems.  That’s right you heard it from me, one of the pioneers of the flipped class movement.  

However:  I do believe that:

The Flipped Class is a way TO the answers.  

I have seen countless teachers who have STARTED with the traditional flipped class.  After about a year many of them have moved on to something much deeper and more meaningful.  In a recent podcast interview with Troy Cockrum, Troy used the term the 2nd iteration. He said this because he, like many others moved to a deeper pedagogy after he spent a year doing the traditional flip.  

Aaron Sams and I only spent one year flipping our class in a traditional manner. During the 2nd year we moved to the Flipped-Mastery model.  In that model students worked asynchronously through the content and only moved on when they had mastered the content.  Others have gone to Ramsey Mussalum’s Explore-Flip-Apply model which emphasizes inquiry learning.  Still others have moved to Project Based Learning (PBL), Challenge Based Learning (CBL), or any number of deeper learning pedagogies.  

For those teachers who are already using one or more of these deeper teaching pedagogies, you should not flip your class.  But for those teachers who are stuck in the traditional mode of teaching, this is a way to start the transition.  

I think most of the teachers reading educational blogs are amazing teachers who are trying to get the most out of their students.  They are the innovators and the early adopters.  They tend to push the envelope and embrace change quickly.  But there are a lot of teachers out there who are not reading blogs, not on twitter, and frankly stuck in an old system.  

For these teachers, we want to help them move to deeper learning strategies.  If you told them they had to STOP lecturing they wouldn’t know what to do.  What they need is a bridge to the deeper learning pedagogies.  Enter the Flipped Classroom for these teachers.  They first record a lesson and make it available for students ahead of class. (now that wasn’t too hard).  They spend class-time differently by helping out their students on difficult concepts.  They repeat this and over time they realize that there's more to education than lecture and worksheets.  This then, over time, leads them to a deeper learning strategy.  

To illustrate this I want to share with you an email I got from Brian Gervase, a high school Math teacher who for two years did a traditional flipped classroom.  After two years he decided to move to the mastery model (what we call Flipped Classroom 2.0). 

I hope all is well. I took (am still taking!) the plunge into what I

have billed the flipped classroom 2.0 this year and have transformed

into the mastery model.


I have to say THIS is the game changer.


Myself and my students are having a more enjoyable time than ever in

class now. Your spaghetti blog hit it right on the nose…without even

trying the students all fall into their own comfort zone on how they

learn best..some read…some scour videos and some just need to hear

from me personally. It's been magic.


So is the Flipped Class THE answer?  No!

But…it is the way TO the answers.  

What do you think?  I would love to hear how the flipped class has transformed your teaching practice.  How has it helped you to move to Flipped Class 2.0?

Don’t forget that the FlipCon13 is coming up June 17-19 in Stillwater MN. Learn from 42 different educators who have moved to the 2nd iteration.  You can find out more details by clicking here:  

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12 Responses

  1. Pingback : Learning Aloud - Flipped Classroom …. blah, blah, blah

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  3. Craig M.

    For some teachers, making the change from traditional lecture to flipped might seem to be more of a JOURNEY than a WAY to the answers. Nevertheless, moving toward better learning experiences for students and better teaching experiences for us should probably not be thought of as anything short of a journey!

  4. Pingback : Before and After the Flipped Class | Flipped Learning

  5. Shawn Adkins

    I am a Spanish teacher and was wondering if you know of any foreign language teachers who have implemented the flipped classroom? I am just starting and in the planing phase of my first unit, and was looking for someone to ask questions.

    1. There is a whole community of world language flipped class teachers.  Go over to http://flippedclassroom.org and join.  There is a group who’s sole purpose is to talk about world languages and the flipped classroom.  You might also go to http://flippedlearning.org and search for the webinar on world languages.  We had several teachers do a workshop on how the flipped class is being implented in each subject matter (Science, Math, English, and yes World languages).  It is archived and you can watch it.



  6. Kate

    I agree a flipped classroom does nothing really. It is the same thing with just a reversed look. I do not think students will feel as responsible to watch videos at home because they will be boring and they will probably be distracted by other things when they would be more focused in a classroom setting.

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  8. Pingback : Before and After the Flipped Class | smartermag.info

  9. Pingback : Project Based Learning in the 21st Century Classroom | Meredith & Technology

  10. Pingback : Pros and Cons of Flipped Learning | Meredith & Technology

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