Flipped Classroom

Erik Masur talks Flip

Think of something that you’re really good at. Now think of how you got good at it. Was it through trial and error? Attending lectures? Practicing?

Erik Masur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, posed this question during an EDUCAUSE Live! Webinar – Flip the Classroom and Catalyze the Learning. Having asked this question many times, all over the world, he was not surprised to find that not one of the 175 participants chose attending lectures as the way they became really great at something.

This question provided the basis for a discussion on the in-vogue pedagogical technique of ‘Flipping the Classroom’. Flipping the Classroom is the process of reversing the traditional lecture in the classroom and practice for homework. A Flipped Classroom presents content before class, either through readings or videos, and then uses class time for authentic activities, formative assessment and discussion.

There have been a lot discussions about Flipped Classrooms since the media began highlighting innovations such as Khan Academy but Masur’s presentation for EDUCAUSE was enlightening for those new to the concept and experienced practitioners. He presents his model for the Flipped Classroom including his process for in-class discussions –

  1. Question
  2. Think – complete silence while students actually think about the question
  3. First Answer – students commit to their individual answer, often with clickers
  4. Peer Discussion – students try to convince their peers that their answer is correct
  5. Second Answer – after discussion, further though and ‘a-ha’ moments
  6. Explanation – by faculty

He also addresses some of the burning concerns – how to cover everything you need to cover, how to address technical concerns, how to ensure students are doing the pre-work.

Check out Masur’s resources below and don’t forget that CATL also hosted a Flipping the Classroom Workshop in April 2012 and you can view that archive too.

Joanne DolanJoanne Dolan
Instructional Design Coordinator, CATL

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