In the news: Flipped classrooms

Posted on February 24th, 2014 by

Today Michele, Katrina and I asked you to weigh in on which topics  we might explore in our special session on “Using Technology in the Elementary Classroom”. (Dan Moos will be our guest presenter!) Many of you listed “flipped classrooms” as one of your interests.

I came across this article that raises questions about the value of flipping classes for different disciplines. The focus is the college classroom, but I think that it raises some good points that might help us think about elementary classrooms.

What do you think? When might you use a flipped classroom? When wouldn’t it make sense?



  1. Valerie Walker says:

    Jessica, thanks for kicking off this discussion. Dan will be helping us think about flipped classrooms (and how to do the “flipping”) when he leads our TLC technology session.

    What do others think? Do you agree that it works best with some subjects, but not others?

  2. Jessica Ries says:

    I think that the flipped classrooms are a great idea in theory, but that many people have yet to figure out the correct balance required to make it work. For example, it might help to upload very simple, short videos as a way for students to review what they learned that day. If you went over basic addition strategies, your video for the night could be just a review so that students can think about questions they may have or other ideas they can add. However, if the videos are too long, chances are that your students will get bored or stop watching. The videos are supposed to help with keeping the classroom more activity based, but I feel like in our courses we are learning about how to do that effectively without the use of these videos. It is possible to teach students in a fun and interesting way.

    I would probably want to personalize the videos more than what is generally talked about for a flipped classroom. In Elementary School, having such an impersonal video might turn students away from the idea. Maybe it would be a neat idea to start a video blog with the students and their families. These videos could have the basic information that was learned during the day, in 2-3 minute sections for the different subject you covered, and they would always be available online in case the students needed refreshers or the parents are curious to know what their child has been doing in class. For the families who might not have computers or internet, these videos could be available at conferences or put onto a DVD.

    I agree with the article that there are subjects that don’t align with being a part of a flipped classroom because they generally are more discussion based: history, reading, etc. Math and Science might be easier to flip because of the more fact based ways that they are usually taught. The KAHN Academy does a great job showing how well math and science do as video lectures, but they are at too high of a level for Elementary. One thing that I notice with KAHN videos is that they focus on the think aloud strategy to clearly show viewers what they are doing and why. This is the point of those videos.