What Is a Flipped Classroom?
The flipped classroom is a pedagogical approach that aims to increase student engagement by having students complete class work at home and participate in hands-on activities in the classroom. It pushes students to attain a higher level of cognitive function, influencing them to grapple with, apply, and elaborate on course concepts.
A common, identifiable way to introduce a flipped learning model is by reversing Bloom’s Taxonomy. This framework has been used by K–12 educators for decades, consisting of six categories in this order: create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand, remember. Bloom’s Taxonomy has often been used to define and distinguish levels of cognition, but the flipped classroom approaches this framework the opposite way.
Reversing Bloom’s Taxonomy,1 students begin a lesson prior to a class session, reviewing and understanding new material and recalling previous concepts. Then, they apply and analyze those concepts with activities in an active class session. Finally, after class, students are given an opportunity to evaluate their understanding of the concepts and extend and apply that knowledge in new ways. This way, students start learning a lesson to a generalized degree on their own and then continue digesting that lesson by engaging in higher cognitive levels of learning with fellow peers and a teacher present.
Benefits of the Flipped Classroom
Students can benefit greatly from a flipped classroom environment, because it makes course concepts more digestible, enables active learning, and helps students build skillsets needed for future careers.
- Promotes student-led learning. The flipped classroom approach allows students to learn at their own pace, giving students the opportunity to take their time learning a lesson or jump ahead on extra activities. Then, if a student has a question or is confused by a subject, they can go over it in class with a teacher or peer. If a student misses a lesson, they can easily catch up, because they already have access to past lecture materials. Teachers can also provide materials in multiple media forms. For example, if a student has a reading or visual disability, teachers can create a video or audio version of their lecture to support that student’s learning needs. Overall, a reverse classroom environment empowers students to have more involvement in how they learn concepts and provides them with opportunities to engage in a way that fits best with their learning style.
- Enables an active learning environment. In an active learning environment, students learn by doing, rather than by consuming material presented to them in a more passive manner. During class, students engage in hands-on activities, labs, and in-class projects. Introducing technology into these activities also helps students develop technological skills in areas such as AI, machine learning, and simulation modeling and fosters development of specialized mindsets, such as design thinking and computational modeling. In this activity-focused teaching strategy, students think critically, engage creatively, and learn effectively.
- Prepares students for the future. With a flipped classroom that engages active learning and blended teaching strategies, students can develop higher levels of cognitive skills that can prepare them for careers in the industries of tomorrow. By transitioning out of a traditional classroom method, students develop specialized mindsets that they can apply outside the classroom and eventually in their future careers, such as teamwork, collaboration, tolerance, creativity, communication, and innovation. Employers are also already adapting to industries for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, so preparing students during their education with active learning approaches is crucial for their evolution into a tech-centered future.
How to Create a Flipped Classroom Environment
Though the pedagogy is called a “flipped classroom,” teachers don’t have to flip an entire classroom all at once. There are several approaches to introducing the flipped classroom model. Educators can flip just one lesson, implement a single day in the week (“flipped Fridays”), or start with one unit before flipping them all. Whichever approach you select, a flipped classroom curriculum includes materials and activities developed for both outside and inside the classroom.
In order to prepare for success, teachers and educators need training and lesson plans that are designed for active learning that they can integrate into their curriculum and extend with at-home learning content.
The Intel® Skills for Innovation framework contains several programs to help educators adopt a flipped classroom pedagogy, thus enabling student participation in a setting that fosters creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving.
The Intel® SFI Starter Pack contains ready-to-use, tech-infused lesson plans and other guidance that educators can use to integrate active learning and skill building into their curriculum across different subjects and grade levels.
Technology to Support the Flipped Classroom
While a flipped classroom is possible without technology, a flipped environment can run much more smoothly with technology, allowing more engagement and collaboration among students. Flipped classroom technology like PCs and educational IoT devices invite students to interact with their teacher and peers at a higher level, deepening their understanding by applying and analyzing their subject material.
When students have access to their own PCs, they can learn from anywhere. This is a key factor of the flipped classroom pedagogy that ensures students have access to other resources and materials to expand their knowledge. Unlike a book or a lesson packet that contains static, not-always-engaging content, PCs create opportunities for teachers to be creative with their lesson plans and students to expand and apply their new knowledge outside the classroom. With a PC in every student’s home, teachers can use video lectures, encourage note taking, and motivate students to research concepts. PCs also open opportunities for in-class activities, projects, and labs where students can interact more with their lessons, thus creating a collaborative, active learning environment.
Students will need the best-fitting devices for their academic success, and choosing the right device per age level is critical; the way a fourth grader learns and understands concepts is different from a how a seventh or tenth grader learns. Depending on how old a student is, they may require more device performance to run the applications that are necessary for class. The more applications that run at once, the more processor performance is needed. When looking for the right device for a flipped classroom and active learning environment, there are several things to consider including device functionality, manageability, deployment, and cost. Intel has a diverse portfolio of processors that can run as many or as few apps as needed, depending on what students need to excel in school.
An interactive flat panel display (IFPD) the newest interactive whiteboard, is a flat display monitor with integrated computing and collaboration technology that helps increase student-teacher engagement. IFPDs use touchscreen technology, integrated annotation tools, video, cloud connectivity, and remote/online capabilities. It’s an ideal tool for collaboration that allows students to stay immersed with technology while enhancing discussion-based learning. IFPDs create a wider range of freedom for teachers when designing in-class activities, ensure that learning is accessible to nearly all students, in-class or remote, and provide access to quality technology for teachers and students.
For hybrid and remote learning environments, collaboration is critical for students and teachers. Videoconferencing applications—such as the Intel Unite® solution—enable collaboration, content sharing, and small group “breakout” sessions that allow students to thoroughly participate and engage in their class activities. Intel Unite® open architecture supports a variety of other applications and camera controls, including lighting and digital whiteboarding.
Rethinking the Traditional Classroom
With traditional classroom settings shifting to hybrid learning environments, the flipped classroom pedagogy enables students to stay engaged, raises their cognitive functions, and prepares them to become the next generation of innovators.