The flipped classroom

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Flipped classrooms refers to a situation in which new technology (the internet, videos) is being used to support learning (often outside 'class time') in order to allow the teacher to spend more time interacting with pupils. Thus rather than 'class time' being used for 'teacher input' (didactic/whole class teaching) it is used for discussion, activities and interaction.

Synonymous terms include: flipped teaching; backwards classrooms; reverse instruction.

Alternative views of the 'flipped classroom'

Related ideas include "knowledge building", see for example Bereiter's book Education and Mind in the Knowledge Age (the preface and Chapter 1 are available online), in which the author advocates active student participation in collaboratively building and sharing knowledge resources. One can imagine a "flipped classroom" in which students spend time out of class viewing other student-made videos, and spend time in class making and sharing videos with others. (Currently, most flipped classrooms are instead based on consuming material produced by "experts".) Howard Rheingold interviewed David Preston about related experiments that Dr. Preston is trying in his California classroom.

There has been some questioning of the model of the flipped classroom. See, for example, 8 Observations on flipping the classroom and Flip this. Both these critiques assume that flipping the classroom means videoing the teacher's lecture and getting the students to watch it outside class time - and this reflects the definition provided at the top of this page. However, if we take the key point as being that rather than spending class time as being for 'information transfer' the students familiarise themselves with the basic content outside class, and thus class time can be spent on deepening their understanding. This familiarisation with the basic content could be through watching a video, reading a book, or finding and making notes on information from the web.

There has also been some suggestions of widening the concept of the flipped classroom. Jeff Utecht, for example, suggests that it should be about more than delivering content. He says: "The flipped approach is about empowering students with the skills needed to learn on their own, not empowering teachers with new ways to deliver content." (See Flipped Learning: Going Beyond the Obvious).

Utecht's post was, in turn, based on one by Will Richardson, in which he suggests that flipped learning should really be about:

"moving ownership of learning away from the teacher and more toward the student" (See Personalizing flipped engagement).

Terry Freedman argues that the concept of the flipped classroom as usually understood is unworkable, but that in general terms it's (a) a good idea and (b) for that reason, not new. See Further thoughts on the flipped classroom).

An academic study of flipped classrooms was carried out by Strayer (2007). He concluded that "...classroom flip students were less satisfied with how the structure of the classroom oriented them to the learning tasks in the course. The variety of learning activities in the flipped classroom contributed to an unsettledness among students that traditional classroom students did not experience." He states that "The conclusions of this research have hinted that the classroom flip may be better suited for certain classrooms or courses than others.", and suggests this as an area for further research. One could argue of course that where students have become used to being spoon fed then asking them to take more responsibility for their own learning (which is one of the things that seems to be implicit within flipped classrooms) is going to be 'unsettling' initially.

Nesta's Decoding Learning report notes that:

"Flipped learning requires teachers to build lessons upon material presented online beforehand. But this may underestimate teachers’ roles in preparing learners to use the available information effectively."

See also

Related 'articles'

And videos

Useful Apps

Some people have started to post reviews of apps they believe are especially useful for implementing the flipped classroom idea. Here is a selection of sites which have done so.

Some interesting considerations

  • The idea and implementation of the "flipped classroom" is no longer confined to school. An article entitled Medical School Experiments With Flipped Classroom Model describes how it has been tried in a medical school. Interestingly, not all of the students are enamoured with the idea. One of them said it feels very isolated watching the videos (lectures) on your own. Another "criticism" is that because the classroom sessions are now interactive, as opposed to lectures, it is less feasible to skip them!
  • Changing the style of teaching and learning, in this case through the adoption of a flipped classroom model, can (and probably should) have an impact on how the classroom layout is designed. In Flipped Classroom: Redesign Yields Positive Results, Greg Green discusses the activities that typically take place in a flipped classroom, and how he adapted his classroom to accommodate them.
  • The International Community School in London have been piloting a flipped classroom approach for much of 2012 - see ICS News]. Some initial, seemingly positive, feedback from their staff is available from the site.

" [the flipped classroom] is only a start. The focus should be on teacher practice, then tools and structures. The flipped classroom is one way to help move teachers toward better teaching but does not ensure it."


(This was migrated from the Talk page - no longer correctly attributed in the History therefore)

  • [1]: For Stanford students, online content supplements the classroom experience. Professors are experimenting with a "flipped classroom," shifting classroom time from lectures to interactive activities such as problem-solving, reviewing difficult material and working in teams.
  • [2] What does it reverse or flip into when pushed to the limits of its potential ('chiasmus')? (McLuhan's "tetrad".)

PeterT 07:24, 24 September 2012 (BST)
Our core focus is 0 to 19 education (rather than HE) - though if I were writing on the Schome website I would be challenging the whole age division, front loaded education concept. So need to tie things in to school age education in - which might mean drawing out important lessons/thought/challenges for schools from stuff that appears to be HE focused.
That's why I'm writing about this on the discussion page, not the main page ;) -- Looking for connections from the existing literature on flipped classrooms (which is often but certainly not always HE oriented) to items relevant to this wiki. The big name in school-age flipped classrooms is "Salman Khan", you probably know about his TED talk: (the comments on that page are useful) Arided 12:17, 28 September 2012 (BST)

Personal communication from me about the Free Technology Guild

«Consider what this article ( says about EdX and other Knight related topics. I think our goals are very different from those of education-inspired institutions like EdX. We're not working on an "educational product" but on "productivity education". Instead of "flipping the classroom" (, we're talking about something that people like Salman Khan and his other well-funded colleagues would never dream of. We're not cutting in on the old education market. We're talking about creating a new market for an almost brand new kind of learning - the free as in freedom kind.» (July 23, 2012) Arided

PeterT 07:24, 24 September 2012 (BST)
Interesting article!

Stuff to add

Flipped classrooms by Melissa Romaine Feb-2013

The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture: long blog post by Jackie Gerstein about flipped classrooms (focused on HE but relevant to other contexts).