Flipping about flipping

Go ahead and postpone the conversation about the backlash against the flipped classroom model. Supporters and skeptics alike — and even the researchers behind a seemingly critical new report — say the discussion continues to be positive. Or is it?images-1

Flipping the classroom — the practice of giving students access to lectures before they come to class and using class time for more engaging activities — hasn’t been nearly as divisive as many other ed tech trends, such as massive open online courses or outsourcing digital services. So when USA Today last week reported on an experiment at Harvey Mudd College that had failed to improve student outcomes, it provided a rare contrast.

InsideHigherEd says that “Some students “said they felt the flipped classroom had a heavier workload,” and professors “had to spend considerably more time making and editing … videos and crafting engaging, hands-on sessions for their classes.” A comparison between the flipped classrooms and their traditional counterparts found “no demonstrable difference” in student outcomes. The researchers, the newspaper wrote, “have bad news for advocates of the trend: it might not make any difference.”

“The study could have fit into a growing body of research calling the science behind flipping the classroom into question. Days later, however, the researchers behind the study said their results and words had been misinterpreted.

Yes, the article did point out that the results were preliminary — twice in one sentence, even — but the headline (“ ‘Flipped classrooms’ may not have any impact on learning”) and hook drew too many conclusions about a study that is set to continue for another three years, they said. Continue reading “Flipping about flipping”