EdTech Terms Explained: Flipped Classroom

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EdTech Terms Explained: Flipped Classroom

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

EdTech Terms Explained: Flipped Classroom

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

EdTech Terms Explained: Flipped Classroom

In the world of education technology or edtech, new terms and buzzwords are emerging all the time. One such term is the flipped classroom. This model of teaching has gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. In a flipped classroom, the traditional roles of the teacher and student are reversed, with students taking more control over their own learning. In this article, we will explore the concept of a flipped classroom in detail, including its definition, origins, benefits, challenges, and implementation strategies.

Understanding the Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is a teaching model that has gained popularity in recent years. It is a method of teaching where students watch teacher-prepared video lectures or other self-study materials outside of class time, which frees up class time for interactive and collaborative activities. This model turns the traditional classroom structure on its head, where the teacher delivers lectures while students take notes and complete assignments at home as homework. Instead, students actively engage with the new learning material during class, while the teacher is on hand for support and guidance.

Definition of a Flipped Classroom

A "flipped classroom" is a method of teaching where students primarily learn content outside of class, through watching video lectures or completing other types of self-study materials, and then use class time to work on problem sets, projects, or interact with peers and receive feedback from the instructor. Essentially, the traditional classroom structure of receiving a lecture in person is turned "upside down."

This approach allows students to learn at their own pace and gives them the opportunity to review material as many times as they need to. It also frees up class time for more interactive and collaborative activities, which can help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Additionally, it can help students who struggle with traditional classroom settings and benefit from more personalized attention from their teachers.

Origins of the Flipped Classroom Model

The flipped classroom model was pioneered by two Colorado teachers, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, in 2007. They were looking for a way to make learning more accessible to students who missed classes due to extracurricular activities or illness. They began to record their lectures and post them online, and discovered the power of the reverse class structure for engaging students in their learning process. Today, the flipped classroom model is being used in various forms by teachers around the world.

The flipped classroom model has been found to be effective in a variety of settings, including K-12 classrooms, universities, and corporate training programs. It has also been used successfully in a range of subject areas, from math and science to language arts and social studies.

Key Components of a Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom model contains several key elements:

  • The teacher creates and pre-records video lectures or other self-study materials for homework.

  • Students watch these materials before coming to class.

  • Class time is devoted to interactive activities that require application of the knowledge learned from the videos, such as problem-solving, group discussions, or experimentation.

  • The teacher provides feedback to students on their work.

By incorporating these key elements, the flipped classroom model can help students become more engaged in their learning process and develop a deeper understanding of the material. It also allows teachers to use class time more efficiently and effectively, as they can focus on helping students apply what they have learned and provide personalized feedback and support.

Benefits of Implementing a Flipped Classroom

Enhanced Student Engagement

Perhaps the most significant benefit of the flipped classroom is that it affords students greater control over their own learning. They can work through the content at their own pace, pause and rewind videos as needed, and access the materials whenever and wherever they like. This type of learning experience is more personalized and tailored to the student's needs and preferences, leading to greater engagement with the material.

Improved Learning Outcomes

A study by the Flipped Learning Global Initiative found that flipped classrooms have the potential to improve student learning outcomes. In particular, students in flipped classrooms had higher grades, greater mastery of content, and more positive attitudes towards their learning compared to those in traditional classrooms.

Increased Flexibility for Teachers and Students

The flipped classroom model offers greater flexibility for teachers and students alike. Teachers can use the class time for more interactive and engaging activities, rather than spending it on lectures. Students can watch the videos whenever they like, fitting their studies around other commitments, and can re-watch difficult parts of the lecture to deepen their understanding.

Fostering a Collaborative Learning Environment

Since the flipped classroom model emphasizes student engagement and interaction, it naturally fosters a collaborative learning environment. Students work together on projects and problem sets during class, which allows them to share ideas and learn from each other's successes and mistakes. Additionally, the teacher can provide more one-on-one support and guidance to each student, which can help struggling students to succeed.

Challenges and Criticisms of the Flipped Classroom

Access to Technology and Resources

One of the biggest challenges of implementing a flipped classroom is ensuring that all students have access to the necessary technology and resources. Some students may not have access to computers or reliable internet at home, which can impede their ability to watch video lectures.

Student and Teacher Adaptation

The flipped classroom model requires both students and teachers to adapt to a new way of learning and teaching. This can be challenging for students who are used to a more traditional classroom structure, which can lead to confusion and frustration. Similarly, teachers may find it difficult to transition from a lecture-based teaching style to a more interactive and engaging style.

Time Investment for Teachers

The flipped classroom model requires a significant time investment from teachers, as they must create and record video lectures, design interactive activities for class time, and provide feedback on student work. This can be a steep learning curve for teachers who are used to a more traditional teaching style.

Potential for Inequity in Learning Experiences

Lastly, the flipped classroom model may exacerbate inequalities in education, as students from disadvantaged backgrounds may not have access to the same resources and support as their more privileged peers. This can lead to disparities in learning outcomes and may create additional challenges for teachers to address and overcome.

Strategies for Implementing a Flipped Classroom

Choosing the Right Content for Flipping

The first step in implementing a flipped classroom is to choose the right content to flip. Content that can be effectively delivered through video lectures or other self-study materials is ideal, such as conceptual overviews or factual introductions. Conversely, complex topics requiring in-depth analysis or debate may not be suitable for the flipped classroom model.

Creating Engaging and Effective Video Lectures

The quality of video lectures is critical for a successful flipped classroom experience. Good video lectures should be engaging, concise, and cover the key concepts of the topic. Additionally, teachers should aim to incorporate multimedia elements such as images, diagrams, and animations to enhance the learning experience.

Designing Interactive In-Class Activities

The success of the flipped classroom model relies on effective in-class activities that foster collaboration and interactive learning. Teachers should aim to design activities that provide opportunities for problem-solving, group work, and peer-to-peer feedback. These activities should be engaging and challenging, but also clearly aligned with the learning objectives for the topic.

Assessing Student Progress and Providing Feedback

Finally, it is important for teachers to assess student progress and provide feedback on their work. There are many ways to do this, such as through self-assessment, peer feedback, or formative assessments. Teachers may also use summative assessments such as quizzes or exams to measure student learning outcomes. Overall, the key to effective assessment is to ensure that it is aligned with the learning objectives and provides students with opportunities to evaluate their own learning.


The flipped classroom is an innovative teaching model that has the potential to transform education. By allowing students to take more control over their own learning and providing opportunities for collaboration and interaction, the flipped classroom model can enhance student engagement, improve learning outcomes, and provide greater flexibility for teachers and students. While there are challenges and criticisms associated with this model, with careful planning and implementation, the flipped classroom can be an effective and rewarding teaching approach.