The Flipped Classroom…Yay or Nay

There has been much discussion regarding student centered learning and the benefits that can result when a student takes an active role, rather than a passive one, in their learning careers.

I teach intraoral dental assisting to college students, and at times it can be very difficult to introduce student centered learning into my day to day routine.  As you can imagine, when an opportunity for student centered learning comes my way, I am all over it like “white on rice”.

Occasionally I flip the classroom. The idea of flipping the classroom is to reverse the traditional model of the classroom and to use class time to focus on student understanding rather than lecturing.

Lectures, slide shows, demonstrations and links to resources are posted on Learning Management systems, or cloud applications.  The student receives the information at home, and come to class armed with the information.  This leaves class time free for collaborative work, questions and discussions.

There are many advantages to this type of active learning, such as:

  1. Collaboration is promoted in the classroom
    1. students teach and learn from each other
  2. Students have more control over their schedules
    1. resources are available 24/7.  Students learn at their own pace
  3. Video lectures and resources are more accessible
    1. If students miss classes it is easier for them to catch up
    2. If teachers are sick, they can still provide information to students
  4. Parents have access to the material as well for younger students
  5. Efficiency
    1. If done properly, a flipped classroom can result in more free time for students
    2. Less written homework and assignments to be done at home.

Flipped classrooms have great benefits as mentioned above, but there are disadvantages to even the best ideas, such as:

  1. Students must have access to devices and the internet.  This isn’t possible for all students
  2. Trust
    1. Instructors must trust that students are watching videos and looking at the resources.  There is no way to guarantee this
  3. Extra workload on instructors
    1. uploading videos, creating activities for the classroom etc.
  4. Flipped classrooms do not “teach to the test”
    1. this can be a challenge, specifically for programs that require the writing of a National Exam
  5. Excessive time spent in front of a screen
    1. it has been pointed out that this has the potential to cause serious problems to the students ability to learn

I have to say that my limited experience with flipping the classroom has been positive, both from the students perspective and from my perspective as an educator, and I will continue to implement this type of learning when the opportunity presents itself


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