A few weeks ago, I discussed the tendency to focus too much on the video lecture when examining the “flipped classroom” model of instruction. Flipping the classroom is more than just recording a bunch of lessons that students can watch outside of class. “Flipping” involves changing the classroom so that it is more student-centered and focuses more on facilitating student learning. In a flipped classroom, the role of the instructor changes in significant ways. No longer are we the “sages on the stage” but the “guides on the side” who work to foster student learning.
That post prompted a bunch of emails. One of my colleagues wrote: “This is exactly the issue that has been troubling me. What do I do with the freed-up class time?” This week, I thought I’d share a bunch of ways to use the class time in purposeful ways. Remember, the flipped model allows instructors to incorporate more social learning opportunities in the classroom. This can help students socially construct their understanding of challenging topics by having them actively engage with the content.
1. “Homework” facilitation. This is probably the most straightforward approach for some instructors to get their head around. Instead of students doing homework at home individually, flipped classrooms allow students to collaborate on assignments together and can help educators individualize instruction and troubleshoot problems.
2. Lecture tutorials. Some science instructors may be familiar with the term “lecture tutorials.” Designed as a series of questions that address students’ misconceptions, lecture tutorials actively engage students in the content, which research has shown can positively impact learning. Working in small groups, students work through the scaffolded questions, slowly building understanding through discussing the concepts. A quick Google search comes up with lecture tutorials on almost any science content area.
3. Case studies. Case studies provide students with the opportunity to engage in authentic scenarios related to classroom content. The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) and the Open Educational Resources Commons (OER Commons) each offer hundreds of case studies that can be integrated into flipped classrooms easily.
4. Peer instruction. Popularized by Eric Mazur, a physics professor at Harvard University, peer instruction uses conceptual questions to actively engage students in learning. Utilizing a Think-Pair-Share model, peer instruction fosters student understanding by having them socially interact and discuss challenging questions. The model can be really powerful when paired with student response systems (i.e. clickers). For some more information on peer instruction, check out Turn to Your Neighbor which provides a great primer on the instructional method and a slew of compelling research.
5. Debates. Instructors often complain they don’t have enough classroom time to foster engaged discourse on the real issues in their content areas. The flipped model would be a great approach to pair with classroom debates. After learning relevant content through recorded lessons, students use class time to work together and develop their arguments.
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