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A Look at an Inverted Classroom

27 Feb

Have you tried flipping or inverting your classroom lately? Don’t worry it doesn’t require a crane or movers to accomplish.  In fact, an inverted classroom is a philosophy of teaching rather than an actual teaching strategy.  In the classroom setting, learning takes place in two phases, transmission and assimilation.   The transmission phase in a traditional classroom takes place through lectures and readings (Talbert, 2011). While the assimilation phase is conducted outside of the class via homework, collaborative projects, lab work, etc.

Is this the most sensible approach to learning? Many are asking if the professor’s time in class would be more valuable to students in guiding them as they solve difficult authentic problems, helping them apply the skills they have learned, and fostering focused questions and discussion rather than presenting them with the traditional lecture format.

An inverted classroom refers to an inversion of content.  What students normally do outside of class is done in the classroom and vice versa.  Outside of class, students prepare by reviewing materials that would have been provided via lecture or other instructional formats.  To prepare for class, students go online to access teacher prepared mini lectures (video recordings are popular), access content via websites, and/or read supplemental material. When students arrive for class they are equipped with their new knowledge, and are ready to apply what they’ve learned.   The classroom is now a place of learning and not teaching, which has been moved outside of the classroom.  

An inverted classroom accommodates various learning styles, providing students access to video recorded lectures where they can rewind, pause, and view at their own pace. Groups that can benefit greatly from this style are struggling students who need to review concepts repeatedly and student athletes who miss class routinely but would have access to recorded lectures. While many courses would benefit from being inverted, those that are heavy in theory would typically not be suitable to an inverted class environment.

The inverted classroom places the instructor in the presence of students when they are engaged in the greatest cognitive complexity and deepest learning.  With an inverted classroom, students can learn at their own pace instead of the instructor’s lecture pace.  Now class time is spent on mastery of concepts through application.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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