Flipping Over the Flipped Classroom

BT (Before Twitter), I used Google to find resources and prep for my classes.  BG (Before Google), I loved to go to the library or the bookstore and plop myself down in the middle of the stacks and comb through countless books.  Sticky notes marked  the sections or images I wanted to use and/or Xerox.  Those days are over!  (I have “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and The Machine playing as I write this!)

BT and BG, I went to museums to create scavenger hunts for the upcoming field trip.  BT and BG I planned curriculum units using a big yearly desk calendar.  BT and BG I met and planned with teachers in my school, usually on my team.  We talked on the telephone (the one connected to your home) to make plans on when and where to meet.  Those days are over!

BT and BG, I met with students in class or after school.  Now, I’m available by text, mobile phone, email, Twitter, Skype and our home phone (yes, we still have one). We don’t have to wait until the designated class time to communicate.  If students have questions or concerns, I’m available and easy to reach.  I really like this! Learning doesn’t stop and start up again.

Last week, I went beyond BT and BG.  I’ve entered a new realm of learning and opportunities, BS (Before Skype) I had to invite guest lecturers to come to class. This year, former students have Skyped in to share their learning experiences with my new classes and local colleagues have shared their knowledge, but these have always been with people I personally know.  Those days are over.

Last week during #edchat, I asked  a “virtual” colleague, Jonathan Bergmann if he would like to Skype in with my graduate class.  I had never met Jonathan prior to our Skype session; communication was through Twitter and email.  Jonathan and Aaron Sam  shared their “flipped classrooms” with us.  The experience was amazing.  This is what a flipped classroom looks like in action…

I want to be in this classroom.  I want to teach in this classroom.  I want to learn in this classroom.

BT, BG and BS how would this have ever been possible?  We were on campus in a computer lab in Connecticut talking to Jonathan and Aaron in their classroom in Colorado!  Here’s what some of my graduate students had to say about the whole experience…

  • When I think of Skype I think about the saying the sky’s the limit.  Being able to communicate with people who are in a different city, time zone, or country, allows for technology to be combined with learning, creating a holistic learning environment for all students.  This was demonstrated in class the other night when we were able to Skype in with two experts who created the Flipped Classroom approach.  Being able to have a conversation with them made learning enjoyable but it also allowed for us to get the real facts and stories about this new and innovative teaching approach.
  • It was marvelous to have the opportunity to speak directly with the creators of the Flipped Classroom approach via SKYPE.  This technology made it possible to bring two innovative educators from the mountains of Colorado into our classroom.  Many thanks for giving us this splendid chance to communicate with them – I was so impressed.
  • I really enjoyed speaking with the flip class guys last week.  I love the concept of the “flipped classroom”.  I would be interested to see how it would work in a humanities, social studies or English classroom.  When I got home that night I told my husband about what we did in class.  He brought up a good point.  He wondered if the flipped classroom would work in a struggling school where academic performance was not great.  I wonder if the reason that the guys in Colorado have had so much success is because they come from a good school district where the students genuinely want to learn and do work.  I agreed with my husband that the concept would not work if students just flat out refused to watch the videos in the evening.
  • It was an amazing thing to learn about and even more amazing that we were hearing about from the guys who invented it who just happened to live two time zones away in Colorado. It was kind of an eye opening realization as to how far technology has come and how much it has changed the world.  I mean we were in our class in CT, could see and hold a live conversation with these two “game changers” all the way in CO and were able to find out first hand things like their inspiration for doing this and how this has changed their jobs and lives. Pretty incredible stuff.

The way I taught BT, BG and BS, those days are over!  I’m constantly learning, improving and I absolutely love the fact that my learning curve is always stuck in the curve position!  Thank you @jonbergmann and @chemicalsams for sharing your time, talent and passion with us!  You have moved us forward in our thinking and I can’t wait to start flipping!  This iMovie clip was my first attempt and I have so much to learn!  I will have to figure out how I can get to Colorado this summer for your #flipclass conference!

For those interested, here are some additional resources about the #flipclass: MBFXC EDUC 501; Educational VodcastingYouTube: Learning for Mastery; The Flipped Class Network; Flipping the Classroom; and Terminal Velocity.




  • I thought it was interesting to see one of your students thoughts about how this might work in an underprivileged classroom. I had the same thoughts, but then I also considered, maybe this could actually be very motivating for some kids. It is a possibility that being more active and involved during class would help kids get “invested” in their own learning, so maybe they would take initiative and do the at home piece as well. Granted, this may not work for every kid, but it could reach some kids who have just checked out.

  • I agree with Jenny, this may not be for every child, but for some it could have a lasting effect. Not everyone learns in the same way and this could open to the doors to a lot of kids. Also, the “hands on” activities during class time is a great way to engage the kids and get them excited!

  • I agree with Jenny. I work in a district where there is a large number of students who do not do homework or read at home outside of school. There also seems to be a large number of parents that don’t put emphasis on education at home so their children don’t see how important it really is. I do think, though, that students who are not motivated to do a worksheet for homework may be invested in watching a video to learn more about a topic from school. The other issue would be resources at home. Again, the district I’m in does not have great technology resources in the scho0ls and I know there are several children in my class that do not have computers at home so they would not be able to participate outside of school.

  • Finally, a solution to the dilemma of how we can get the most out of the time we (teachers and students) all spend together. The “flipped classroom” is inclusiveness, accommodation and collaboration all rolled into one. As is often the case, a counter-intuitive idea is often a better one – because we get to look at the world upside-down.

  • Stephanie Casey

    It got me thinking about all of my professional development in my school’s America’s Choice model (which is sort of a modified workshop model). It all of our session we preach that the students need to take ownership of their learning and that the teacher is essential just a guide. I definitely think this is an amazing concept that we as educators will be moving toward in this digital age.

  • The thought of the “flipped” classroom is really great. I think is could work in a lot of classrooms, especially the science class. If the teacher has a lot of labs, it takes time to set materials up, lecture on what to do, and clean up. Eliminating the lecture part during class, it offers up more time on the hands on time in the classroom.
    In poverish districts, a teacher could offer a “club” after school once or twice a week to have the students watch the videos and be on point in the class the next day.

  • I thought I was such a techy guru…
    So, I only got through the first paragraph and had flashbacks of previous semesters and years of my undergrad. I have been trying to get involved with the Twitter phase, getting more savvy with google searching. Although, technology has been around for so many years, it has been advancing over the years. With my last 2 courses in education, I have learned more about technology and how it works and what to use it for and knowing who my resources are that I feel like I am ready to grow more. And

  • This was an amazing experience! I always heard people talk about skyping but until I actually got the chance to do it in a classroom setting, and see how much of an impact it had I do not think I fully understood the potential it had. It was great to be able to ask questions about how they developed this idea and how they implemented it. It gave learning a new meaning. Now that I have seen it done I know how effective it is and how powerful it can be.

  • What a great experience to have Skyped with the Flipped Classroom guys! This is quite an innovative way to engage students in curriculum. Its fantastic to be able to spend the entire class time engaging students with hands-on, minds-on inquiry. There are a couple of different points to ponder with the Flipped Classroom.

    I know that some educators are critical of the flipped classroom approach because it involves lecturing. But…how I understand it to be teacher modeling in conjunction w/lecture. Best teaching practices include a variety of approaches/strategies. This means a balance of lecture, modeling, and kinesthetic. When we teach with this balance we are meeting the needs of all our learners. I get the sense that these two educators developed this idea so that they could meet the needs of their learners.

    A hot button issue is homework. Homework is powerful when it has meaning for the students. This typically means that it is directly related to the learning occurring in the classroom. In particular learning that will be occurring shortly after completing the homework assignment. In other words, it needs a purpose. The Flipped Classroom definitely meets this criteria of powerful and purposeful homework.

    The prior two points flow nicely into this one: motivation. It is concerning when educators begin to group kids with general statements. “That’ll work with your kids, but what about…” When we get into this mindset we are doing a great disservice. It is our responsibility to create engaging lessons, units, scenarios, that will make our students WANT to do it no matter how ‘boring’ the content. Regardless of race and/or economic status.

    I see the idea of the Flipped Classroom having so many possibilities! Its a great way to communicate with families precisely what you are teaching in your classroom. It empowers students to take control of their learning! They can control if/how/when to re-teach &/or enrich their learning experiences.

    Sorry! I probably should have just written my own post…Have so much to say. Great convo!

  • For those asking about how this would work in an underprivlidged school where students do not do homework. The flipped class is working even there. We spent two days in an inner city school in Macon GA and many of their classes have adopted versions of the flipped class.

    Also, if you delve deeper, you will see we are actually doing what is the next step in the Flipped Class: The Flipped-Mastery Class where each student works at their own pace through the content. So a school where students didn’t do homework could still work through the content and once they demonstrate mastery they can move on. Some of our students get most of their learning done in class. If I truly had a class where students were that disengaged, I would design a class where they could get the material learned in class.

    In this case I would also argue that the flipped class would be best for this population because it enables the teacher to have much better one on one time with students. And it is my firm belief that the way to really help an unengauged student is to develop a good relationship with him/her and see what it is which has caused them to become unengaged. And once you “know” your students you really can help them overcome their learning hurdles.

  • Sorry for the second post: If folks are interested in learning more about the Flipped-Classroom Model.

    1. Go to http://vodcasting.ning.com and sign up for the Flipped Class Network.

    2. Come to our Flipped Conference June 16-18. Be taught by 10 of the best flippers in the world. http://vodcasting.ning.com/events/mastery-learning-the-flipped

    3. Attend the Flipped Conference June 16-18 via Webinar: We don’t have the details of this worked out but will be posting info on this in the near future on the Flipped Network.

    4. Aaron and I will be speaking around the country this spring and summer. We post these dates and locations, you got it, on the Flipped Class Network. http://vodcasting.ning.com/events

  • This was an amazing experience!! Like Lauren D, I had never experienced SKYPE before and to be able to SKYPE with the people we were talking about in class was AMAZING!!!
    I found it very interesting to hear that this type of classroom is useful in more than just a science or math based classroom. I am interested in second language learners and I can absolutely see why this would work in that type of classroom. I firmly believe that I learned more while actually spending time in the foreign country immersed in the language than I did in the classroom in high school and college. So, if with the flipped classroom, you are using class time to actually speak and use the language, it would seem like students would actually learn a lot more. I would be interested to hear more about this with an language teacher.

  • It’s great to see this idea being discussed in so many places these days. I’ve added this post to my collection of resources on the flipped class: Mastery Learning and the Flipped Class: A Resource Guide.

  • As part of the class that day I, too, was blown away by how special the experience turned out to be. Skyping with Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sam about their Flipped Classroom approach was one of my favorite classes so far this year. It felt great to feel as if our class was part of a larger educational movement and was a valuable testament to the benefits of modern technology, from Skype to Twitter to the video and internet technology used for the flipped approach. I could not believe how we were able to connect with Jonathan & Aaron on such short notice and how willing they were to Skype from so far away with a class from CT. It was evident that they are very passionate about what they do and that they genuinely enjoy their jobs. I look forward to finding out more about how the Flipped Classroom Approach is working for other schools who try it. I am glad to see teachers trying to find new, improved ways to strengthen their classroom instruction and make their students’ education even more successful and lasting. Truly valuable experience, truly inspiring.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s