UNIT 1: What does it mean to Flip the classroom?

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What it means to flip

Flipping the classroom can mean many things. In essence, it means that students do schoolwork at home, and homework at school. How does this work? Well, in a traditional classroom, teachers spend class time lecturing and assigning homework. The homework is meant to reinforce the lecture. Sometimes, the completed homework assignments get reviewed the next day in class. The student gets a grade for his homework, and the class moves on to the next lecture. Rinse, wash, repeat.

In the flipped classroom , the lecture portion is done at home. Via assigned reading, video lecture or audio podcast, students can view, listen and learn about new topics before attending class. Once in class, students then participate in class-activities, or class projects. This allows for more meaningful instruction, as students can ask questions while doing their “homework” during class. This gives the instructor the chance to immediately address student’s knowledge gaps, as well as correct any misconceptions students may have about the lesson at hand.

Some benefits of flipping

In traditional classrooms, students have to wait two days before getting feedback on their homework (they hand it in the next day, and they get their work back the day after that). In the flipped classroom, students get immediate feedback while they work. Learning is much more meaningful, and students are more prone to retain what they learn when they receive instant feedback on their work. Conversely, the absence of prompt useful feedback reduces interest in learning (1).

Flipping the classroom is also helpful for teachers who have limited fact-to-face time with their students. This includes music teachers, computer teachers, art teachers, or any teacher who meets their class fewer than 5 times per week. Since face-to-face time is limited, teachers can spend the class time guiding their students, and helping them develop meaningful understanding. Because the feedback given is specific and timely, students develop higher rates of retention, and are motivated to improve (2).

Benefits include:

1. Visible learning: Provide the teachers with the complete view of the learning process.

2. Formative assessments: Provide teachers means to give timely and effective feedback.

3. Blended learning: Combination of textbooks and online-resources to improve learning experience.


(1.) Walvoord, B. E., & Anderson, V. J. (2010). Effective grading (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

(2.) Wiggins, G. (1997). Feedback—How learning occurs. AAHE Bulletin, November, 7-8.

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