Current Thinking About Flipped

There’s a lot of new terms people are trying to define kicking around the twittersphere about “Flipped” rooms and “Hybrid” classes. “Blended” Whatever.

Here’s where I am with all that right now.

It’s all the same thing, really- a series of methods to extend the learning beyond the classroom. Like homework.

And that’s the catch, really. All the academic work indicates that homework at the elementary level has a negative effect on students. That at the middle school level homework is, at best, a break-even activity. It’s not until high school that we’re looking at real benefit.

While it might be nice to think about assigning a video to watch in the evening is a better thing for a young student, once we consider that the video is really just homework, it’s hard to get as excited. Even at the high school level, it’s just another thing to assign. Maybe better. Maybe worse. Is watching a video for homework inherently more interesting than reading an article? Hardly.

Excuse the “This isn’t that big a deal” tone here for a minute: I’m building.

What I do see as a genuine improvement here is for talented educators to make videos so good that students choose to watch them out of pure curiosity and engagement. What if educators built content so good- so engaging and compelling that students were eager to watch the next episode? What about production value? Graphics? What about having the content that teachers distribute not look like second-rate rehashed, re-photocopied, dubbed from VHS, straight-out-of-1996, monospaced-font junk?

What if we approached the making of our content like serious producers- and did just worry about the content itself, but also the quality of the package we hand to students?