By Debra Kirby
If the flipped classroom concept had existed when I was a student, I might have avoided one of my most vivid and unpleasant childhood experiences — a home visit by my 4th grade teacher after repeated but failed attempts to curb my chattiness in his classroom. Mr. Y was a very nice guy and good teacher and had tried his best by moving my desk to different locations around the classroom, including and lastly right next to his desk at the front of the room, all to no avail. I was happy to talk to him too! Watching Mr. Y get out of his car and head up our walkway was one of those frozen in time memories for me. I can still recall the panicky feeling when I realized he was coming to my house.
Fast forward 20 years or so: I meet Mr. Y, who I haven’t seen since elementary school, on the steps of a local business. Should I run? Nah, he’ll never remember me after all these years. I am wrong – he does. During the catch up conversation he says: “I always knew you’d go far. The reason you talked so much was because you were a bright student and finished your work more quickly than the others and didn’t have anything else to do.”
So how would having a flipped classroom have prevented that home visit? Flipped classrooms allow students to absorb and work though the basics of their lessons on their own time and at their own pace, saving class time for more collaborative work. Studies have also tied flipped classrooms to significant decreases in disciplinary problems.
Fast Forward another couple of decades: Here I am working with a team of dedicated professionals on products that make perfect companions for flipped classrooms, including resources like Kids InfoBits, Gale In Context databases, Gale Interactive: Science, and CLiC (Classroom In Context), all of which provide highly curated content in formats designed to work for all types of learners. And, for those students whose interest is piqued by their assigned work and wish to learn more, these products provide the perfect opportunity to dig deeper.
What benefits do you think flipped classrooms offer students and teachers?