In 2007, two science teachers--Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams--experimented with an innovative way to teach. Instead of lecturing in school, they made videos that allowed their students to view the lectures at home. This new method of teaching, often referred to as a "flipped classroom," has spread rapidly in the past few years in K-12 settings because some educators believe it enhances learning in many ways. Rivero (2013) reports that most educators who experiment with this method are pleased with the results, which include improvement in test scores and student attitudes.
Although research is limited on the extent to which flipped classrooms improve academic achievement, and concerns about this style of teaching have been raised, a recent survey of 453 teachers who tried this approach indicated that most of them found it to be helpful, especially for students with special needs and those in advanced placement classes; 99% of these teachers said they would use it again the following year (Goodwin & Miller, 2013). Some schools, such as Clintondale High School in Michigan, are achieving remarkable results after flipping their classroom. At Clintondale, the failure rate of 9th-grade math students plummeted from 44% to 13% (Goodwin & Miller, 2013).
An Efficient Way to Teach
When implemented effectively, flipping the classroom allows more chances for students to work at an appropriate pace, and teachers have more opportunities to help students with difficult content. When teachers lecture in class, they often provide instruction too slowly for some students and too fast for others. However, when students have access to the lecture on a video they view at home, they can view difficult content over and over and spend little or no time on content they easily understand.
When lecturing, teachers usually have little information on which content is easy or hard for students, because they typically get this feedback after observing errors in students' homework. Flipping the classroom allows students to do much of their "homework" in school, thereby allowing the teacher to offer more guidance to those students who have difficulty and provide more challenging work for those who find it easy. Additionally, when teachers choose to make their own videos, they can customize content to ensure the appropriate rigor, and students appreciate having a familiar person presenting the lesson (Fulton, 2012).
Teachers can also share the videos they make with other teachers, thus allowing colleagues to learn from each other which teaching styles...