David Scott and Jason Publack ~ Grade 9 Humanities
Over the last few years there has been increasing talk within educational circles around the potential of the flipped classroom to enhance learning. Historically, and this is confirmed by a great deal of research, classrooms have been places where students spend a great deal of their time listening to teachers talk. Whether teachers are lecturing or explaining a particular concept, this has meant students have relatively limited class time to apply the concepts or ideas they learn from the lecture and must therefore do this at home for homework. This has meant that during the most difficult part of the learning process when they might need aid and support, they are left to their own resources when they are having difficulties or need extra help.
Responding to this limitation as to how many classrooms are currently organized, within a flipped classroom this process is inverted. Through a video posted on-line (e.g., on YouTube or Vimeo) students watch a lecture or the teaching of a concept at home and take notes. They then use class time to apply the concept or idea or work with the knowledge they gained within an environment where they can receive support from the teacher and their peers. Within this technology-enabled model, in theory at least, classrooms become a place where students spend more of their time working rather than watching teachers talk.
Due to the phenomenal success of the Khan Academy, which has posted thousands of mini-tutorials on-line (watch a video of Sai Khan here), the flipped classroom is gaining increasing traction in schools. Given this, the model seems to be most common in Math and Science and has yet to gain a solid footing, at least to my knowledge, in the Humanities.
Because of this, over the course of the year Jason Publack and I who teach Humanities 9 have been using this model on an ongoing basis with our students. Over the next five blog posts we would like to share our findings from a year long research project we have conducted where we asked our students to identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, along with ways we could improve how we implemented the flipped classroom in our teaching.
In order to give you a sense of what this process looked like for our students, here is a link to our assignment. Below are a series of videos by Jason Publack we posted on how to write a business letter in order to support this assignment.