Flipping the classroom has been the rage the past few years. As Sams and Bergmann noted, many instructors assume that this means making videos for students to watch at home…”as though that were the essential ingredient.” They go on to note:
“Flipped learning is not about how to use videos in your lessons. It’s about how to best use your in-class time with students. That insight is causing educators in classrooms from kindergarten to college to reevaluate how they teach.”
Steve Wheeler (a.k.a. @TimBuckTeeth) took this to a new level last week with a post entitled “Flipping the Teacher.” Steve noted that he was not advocating obscene gestures by students, but was rather suggesting flipping roles between faculty and students. It raises a great question for our 30-Day Challenge:
Day 19: How would my course change if I flipped the roles of teacher and student?
As Steve noted:
If we are at all serious about promoting student centred learning, then we should at least reconsider the roles teachers traditionally play at the centre of the process, and begin to discover how we can help the student replace them. This does not mean that teachers relinquish their responsibilities or shirk their obligations. What it does mean is that teachers should seriously consider new forms of pedagogy where students are placed at the centre of the learning process, and have to spend some time ‘teaching’. We learn by teaching. If you have to teach or present something for an audience, you will make damn sure you go away and learn it thoroughly so you don’t make an absolute ass of yourself. This is the same principle we see when we flip the teacher.
Steve gives five suggestions for flipping the teacher:
- Ask students to peer-teach
- Give students problems to solve and present
- Have students create self-directed presentations
- Ask students awkward questions that require them to explain clearly a concept.
- Use seminar approach with different students leading different subjects.
I am sure that there are many other options for flipping instruction. It simply requires some letting go of control, but the rewards can be huge. It opens the door to shifting instruction from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation.
My colleagues Stan Anamuah-Mensah and Jeff Nugent teaching the Mobile Learning Scholars course use a variation of this process, having students every other week present iPad apps they have discovered that assist their learning. So far, the students have covered (and I have learned) a variety of apps for collaboration, productivity, and communication.
So flip out! What have you got to lose? (…and what potential learning can your students gain?)