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Experience with flipping your classroom

  1. Mar 20, 2015 #1
    An old concept previously used by Socrates and currently by Montessori schools that thinking can lead to knowledge is better than trying to provide knowledge to develop thinking is being reintroduced into our educational system. This educational model has been expedited by the internet by allowing student to be exposed to concepts out of the classroom on videos at their leisure and reserving classroom (face to face time) for the development of those concepts with exercises and problem solving. Has anyone had experience with this model? Did you see significant improvement in learning? Do you think that this collaborative environment might in some cases prevent the fullest development of individual creativity?
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  3. Mar 21, 2015 #2


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  4. Mar 21, 2015 #3

    Stephen Tashi

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    It's very difficult to interpret that sentence.

    The example you gave resembles the system of education where students attend lectures and then attend sessions where they discuss the lectures with a teaching assistant - except that the lecture is a video.
  5. Mar 21, 2015 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    I turned my intro Physics I and II sequence into a flipped classroom since last semester, and a few of my department colleagues have as well (one person did this 2 years ago). Just to be clear, 'flipped classroom' means that the students have spent time prior to class learning the material and (are supposed to) come to class ready to discuss the topic and solve problems. To persuade the students to do this, some of my colleagues have short quizzes/tests at the beginning of class, I have homework assignments due.

    Some students love it, some students hate it. I'm not sure I see any meaningful improvement in learning outcomes as compared to the 'traditional' approach, but I don't see any degradation, either. I'll probably continue to use the flipped classroom model for at least a few more years so I can fully explore the possibilities.
  6. Mar 21, 2015 #5


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    Have you noticed a difference between the students who love it and the ones who hate it? I imagine the ones who like the flipped classroom are the ones who already know how to learn some of the material on their own — they can read the textbook or watch a video and actually get something out of it.

    What did you do, if anything, to get students to buy in to the approach?
  7. Mar 23, 2015 #6
    Apparently this style of teaching was introduced in a high school environment. It reserves more face time to helping students work through the concepts instead using this time for lectures which may involve little teacher student interaction, The teacher is also expected to accept questions and clarifications about the video via the internet. In the Socratic method the group discussion/collaboration is suppose to develop the understanding of the material with the teacher as a moderator. It would seem that the students have much more supervised time to learn and apply the concepts. I would expect that this would require some adjustment of one teaching technique which would be interesting to learn from flippers. Classroom flipping in the high school situation has shown to significantly increase the number who attain a passing grade and reduce the number of discipline cases.
  8. Mar 23, 2015 #7

    Andy Resnick

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    No obvious pattern between the 'like' and 'dislike'- I don't have enough information yet. Students do express reasoning similar to what you stated- the people who like it cite the flexible approach to learning, while those that dislike it typically say something like "you aren't teaching me anything". As far as getting student buy-in, I assign homework sets that are due prior to class.
  9. Mar 23, 2015 #8


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    I once went as far as uploading to the class my actual notes, the ones I used to give the lecture. I told them their HW consisted on playing around with the concepts so that we could review them in class. The students , being prepared, squeezed the hell out of me, but I had one of the highest attendance rates of all the T.A's .I told them if they reviewed the material after class, that would mean three exposures to the material in a short period of time, which goes pretty far towards learning the material. Still, some students seemed to like it more than others. Maybe some prefer a more controlled approach and others are more independent.
  10. Mar 23, 2015 #9
    Speaking from my experience as a student here.
    It's a double-edged sword in my opinion, some concepts can really use some teacher-input.
    In my case it was during a course on analytical mechanics focused on a differential geometry approach.
    The problem came in when introducing the "hard-core" mathematical rigor used further in the course.
    The issues I had at times were only resolved after the lecture (2 hours twice a week).
    This is essentially what one expects except I do not cope with "half" understanding a concept, I would obsess over it for days (a tad strong but I can't think of another way to say it), often leading to only a partial treatment of the assigned reading.

    During the course this somewhat increased my workload progressively.

    The moral of this experience is that the notes should be complete with a lot (really a lot) of references to books, reviews etc.
    These references should be tailored to the notes distributed or when using a textbook you could write a little text (like a FAQ collection growing over time) pointing students to appropriate resources for some recurring questions.
  11. Mar 26, 2015 #10
    The problem with this lies in the fact that different students will spend different amounts of time learning "in their own time", also different students will have a different level of assimilation of ideas, so the result will be a classroom of students at different stages of the learning material. I'm assuming back in Socrates' day students had far fewer distractions than they do now and had a better work ethic. Just my opinion, hope it's relevant and helps.
  12. Mar 26, 2015 #11
    I don't think so.

    “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

    ― Socrates
  13. Mar 26, 2015 #12


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    My kids both went to Montessori schools when young and my daughter went to St. Johns College (the "Great Books" college) where there are discussions instead of lectures and although I don't know that those things would work well for all kids I can certainly say they worked wonderfully well for mine.
  14. Apr 25, 2015 #13
  15. Apr 26, 2015 #14
    Not a teacher but a college student. My calculus teacher preformed the lectures in this manner. EVenezuela gave us an incentive to learn Mathematica. He was extremely hard (tteaches grad scschool/but works at the community college to give back to society). It was a really amazing experience and my background in calculus s alot better than other more naturally gifted students.
  16. Jul 1, 2015 #15
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