After three years as a Media Specialist at GRACE, this year I (Laura) am privileged to work as the Technology Coach for 7th-12th grade teachers. In that role, I have worked with many teachers exploring “flipping” a lesson or unit.
What is flipping? In a nutshell, it is taking direct instructional activities (such as a lecture or reading an article) and making them the homework. This frees up class time for higher-level cognitive activities, such as projects, science labs, group discussions, or individualized instruction. The goal is always the best use of class time. In some instances, teachers may decide that the best use of class time is not their lecture, but students working together on solving a problem or creating a video.
Flipping is actually an old strategy in education that has been given new opportunities by technology. English teachers have been flipping for a long time. When your English teacher assigned you to read a portion of Romeo and Juliet for homework and you discussed the selection in class the next day, that was flipping without technology. Technology allows other subjects, such as science or math, to incorporate flipping as well. For example, a math teacher can record a short video about the unit circle, or link to a well-made video online. After students watch the video for homework, then they can spend class time practicing the skills, using their classmates and teacher as a resource. One of the goals of flipping is for students to get more one-on-one time with the teacher.
As with many instructional practices, flipping is not the right solution for every lesson. However, when chosen carefullly, flipping provides opportunities for our students that just cannot fit in the normal 45 minute class time. One of the many reasons I love working with GRACE teachers is they are thoughtful professionals, and I know they are using flipping as a powerful tool for effective teaching.
If you would like to learn more, below are a few good resources. Many of them reference a “flipped classroom,” where flipping is the normal mode of direct instruction. This is probably not how you will encounter flipping at GRACE. At GRACE, it is more likely that flipping will be interwoven with other methods of instruction.