What is a flipped classroom? (in 60 seconds)

· Peer Instruction


What is a flipped classroom?

Last week, I plopped down for Sunday brunch in New York City with some non-edu obsessed friends and acquaintances I had not seen in a long time.  About 10 seconds after our formal greetings, the person sitting across from me leaned forward and said, “So…not to be too business like, but what is a flipped classroom?”

Surprised, I tilted my head and narrowed my eyes quizzically, the person sitting two seats over followed up with a smile and explanation: “We follow you on LinkedIn.”

Not wanting to bore my friends with a long dissertation on the flipped class, I tried to explain the basics in an elevator speech. While I am not sure I succeed at brunch, the experience inspired me to challenge myself to define the flipped classroom in 60 seconds or less.The result of that challenge is the below video (with 14 seconds of intro and conclusion).

Important note: I do not provide a comprehensive definition of or address the many issues of definitional clarity with the term flipped classroom (that would take longer than 60 seconds). For more on those important issues, see how Turn to Your Neighbor defines a flipped classroom here and our interactive question series on 7 myths about flipped classrooms here.

In this video, I explain the basic cycle of learning in a flipped classroom using a visual from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at Austin, developed by Josh Walker and Manny Oliverez. Click  here to download a transcript of the video.


Comments RSS
  1. Emmy Vesta-Taylor

    My son is starting in a flipped classroom this year, as a child with PDD-nos and dyseidetic dyslexia this is a WONDERFUL idea! He is such an auditory learner, and watches educational videos at home already. I am so very excited for this! Now if we can just get him writing 😉

  2. Paige

    Just found this blog. How does this work for a Title I school (98% poverty)? Most of my 240 students do not have access to internet at home. I am very interested in trying out a new concept this year 🙂

    • George Phillip

      Hello Paige,
      If the Internet is a big hinderence, ask how many students have access to a DVD player. You can always burn your videos to DVD and have them watch this way. I had to do this with a few of my students a couple of years ago. Also what if the have an iPod or MP3 player you could download the content onto. Or if they have a computer you could the lessons on a thumb drive too. But if they don’t have access to any technology, then they can always read ahead of the class using the same exploritory questions you would have given the students watching a video.

      I myself do not require the students to watch videos outside of class. They can access them in my room if they need to.

      There are lots of ways to Flip your classroom without having to rely on the Internet.

  3. Marie O'Brien

    I have been doing this forever. Just never had a term and definition for the process. My students read case studies and view short videos before class. In class, I present a mini lesson and then the students break into teams for the class. Teams change at each class.

  4. Cally Guerin

    How is a flipped classroom different from a traditional tutorial where students do the reading in advance and then have interactions (discussions) about the topic? Just the fact that some kind of digital technology is involved?

  5. That’s a lovely little video, Julie. Keeping it simple results in a convincing message.

    You do alert us that the video explains the basic flipped class. In this comment, I want to mention a variant that I use in some class sessions: sometimes, it is possible to make the students work on an activity where a concept is uncovered that they haven’t been exposed to before. They become curious about it and you can follow up with a video that they watch *after* the activity, which presents the concept in a more broad or formal way. In other words, a flipped class can follow a reversed timeline, too.

    • Julie Schell

      Love the hack of having a flip class follow a reversed timeline! Thanks for the comment.

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