Sue did not feel comfortable when her child returned home and said that she needed to watch a video online before going into class the next day to discuss more about it. She was very worried that her daughter would end up watching all sorts of Youtube videos and eventually distracted from her schoolwork. Sue called her teacher who explained to her that in order to free up precious lesson time for more in-depth discussion with the children, they are practicing the ‘Flipped Classroom‘ where children take slightly more ownership of their learning through a more interactive way.
“Flip teaching (or flipped classroom) is a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. This is most commonly being done using teacher-created videos that students view outside of class time. It is also known as backwards classroom, reverse instruction, flipping the classroom, and reverse teaching.”
By Gabriel Suppiah (Score Campus)
We live in the most interesting time as far as formalised education is concerned. The role of a teacher is changing. Intellectual property of teachers is shared through open source learning, or at least this is what we are hoping will happen. There is self-directed learning, which means the freedom of acquiring knowledge is now in the hands of the students. Learn at your own time, own pace, anywhere. And now too, there is the flipped classroom!
As an educator and a father, I have never been more excited about education then I am now. The flipped classroom is going to revolutionise education and the role of the teacher. Great news to teachers is that you now can go home earlier if you choose to and have a regular life. You can teach from almost anywhere and to anyone in any place. How exciting is that?
And just visualise this: the amusement park can now be a classroom. The shaded grass patch under a tree can now be a classroom. The park can be a classroom and so can the zoo. The kids are absolutely going to fall in love with these new learning methods. Flipped classrooms are going to be the way of the future and the world is finally taking a great step towards being a better place to live in, especially for kids. It may sound a little dramatic but it’s true.
Many of us have heard about e-learning being offered in schools and gradually in homes too. Parents are finally embracing e-learning at home and these are all great signs of improvements in our educational system. E-learning is not just for higher education; great steps are being taken for this to be implemented at the primary and secondary school levels too. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Ministry of Education (MOE) have initiatives such as future schools for this very purpose. It is still a very young industry but portals like KhanAcademy.org and ScoreCampus.com are moving fast in their bid to provide quality self-directed education for younger learners.
So How Does It Actually Work?
Traditionally, our teachers spend much time teaching the theoretical part of any subject matter in the classroom and a serious amount of time and effort is put into the planning and delivery of these classes. The truth is that in all this, the true essence of the subject matter is so often lost and it becomes what is popularly known as rote learning. The flipped classroom addresses this very issue. Through the use of technology, the explanations of the various theories and methods are now taught online. This in turn encourages the teachers to facilitate a class in group discussion and project work to understand the concept. And there you have the evolution of the role of a teacher. The teacher becomes a facilitator and manages lively interaction and fruitful group work.
These are really exciting times and teachers will definitely embrace this for many reasons, some being:
- They get to do what they were originally trained to do. The passion will be reignited.
- Working hours can and should be dramatically reduced for the work life balance of the teachers and their families.
- Life and enthusiasm will return to the classrooms.
The flipped classroom can happen anywhere and at anytime depending how adventurous the educators want to be. The time of the global educator is now here. What remains to be seen is how the classrooms are going to be flipped. I’m looking forward to it and yes, Singapore is certainly ready for it!