The Flipped Classroom Defined

| September 8, 2011 | 38 Comments
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The Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

By Knewton

[via EdSurge]


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  • Dennis Ashendorf

    The graphic presents positive arguments.  As a math teacher in a world of Wolfram|Alpha, homework isn’t VALID.  This is my argument for the inverted classroom.  The issue remains: is any work outside of the classroom RELIABLE anymore.  Most students perform poorly.

    • Flippedhighschool

      We also had an increase of 10% on our state MME/ACT test in mathematics with our  juniors when we implemented the flip model.  All the other subjects flat lined or declined using a traditional model of instruction. -Clintondale  

    • Bvgamerx

      And then you have the problem in primary where it is mostly the parents completing the homework.  That has been my experience.

  • Kieran Mathieson

    Flipping makes a lot of sense. Clintondale’s results are drool-worthy. Thanks, Tina: you explain the idea well. Hope I can do as well when I grow up.

    I’ve been working on flipping out higher ed. Here are ways to improve on current practice:

    1. Video isn’t always best. Production issues (e. g., hard to edit), usability issues (e. g., hard to search). Text/images can be engaging, too. The medium alone does not determine learning outcomes.

    2. Embed feedback in content. Read a little, do an exercise, read more, do an exercise. Get fast feedback, without waiting until teacher time to correct students misunderstanding. All online, with less need for face-to-face (though F2F is still needed). Allows more flexibility in the way (high?) schools are organized and run. Maybe fewer centralized buildings, fewer buses, more distributed neighborhood learning centers.

    3. Other things – outcome-based learning, deep learning, using patterns…

    Flip is phat. This is just the beginning. Hail flipitude!

    kieran at

  • Joshua Glyn

    A flipped model might be great for middle/high schoolers, but what do we do for the primary grades?

    • Whitewhich73

      Hi Josh,
      I was also wondering this as well – as I read through the flipped classroom model it sounded more like it appealed to the high school students. I was wondering though within the primary school setting as mentioned above the students who were away sick can access classes posted or students can sit with their parents and show them what has happened that day in class. These are just a thought – anyone else out there have other ideas for the Primary school classroom ??

      Sara .W.

      • Sra_drew

        I use it for preteaching to students I know will struggle with a unit.  They are then more apt to raise their hand and be more engage once we start the lesson.  I teach Spanish.

    • Bvgamerx

      I think this would be great for something like math or writing–the students would be prepped ahead of time and it would be a much better use than traditiional homework.  My fear is what about the students who don’t have access to technology?

    • chang

      It is no use to primary grades. OK?

  • Vladimir G. Ivanovic

    This infographic has as much validity as an infomercial

    No evidence has been presented that links the results
    to flipping the classroom model. Drawing conclusions from
    little data that was given is just guesswork or wishful

    The actual improvement in both freshman English and math
    failure rates is small (just 6%). Although there was a large
    (two-thirds) drop in the number of disciplinary cases, it’s
    hard to see what discipline has to do with the classroom model

    Finally, the creator of the infographic has an undisclosed
    financial interest in the results. Nothing, absolutely
    nothing, they present can be taken at face value. What they
    claim may be true, but having a financial conflict of interest
    is a huge hurdle to overcome.

    • Techietexan

      Not really sure what you’re looking at, but I see a reduction in the failure rate of 31% for both math and English. That is significant. As for your complaints about drawing conclusions from the information in this graphic being unsound, it IS, in fact, an infographic, not a peer-reviewed paper. It is designed to give a quick picture of a concept. Finally, Knewton may have a “financial interest in the results”, but they had nothing to do with the experiment in Colorado. You’re trying to stir the pot without a spoon.

    • Casey

      Which is greater:  Vladamir’s cynicism or his self-importance?  Vlad, buddy, an infographic is minimalistic by design.  If you want to see more data, do a little research.  Also, what kind of math are you doing to come up with 6%?  Maybe you’d benefit from a little instructional flip yourself?

  • Clip

    Many years ago (circa 1972), the biology department staff came up with something similar.  I remember sitting at a study corral, listening to a lecture while going over the materials provided for that particular lesson.  You went at your own pace.  Afterwards, you would do a lab.  It didn’t have to be right at that moment but done within the time allotted.  There was always a professor on hand to offer assistance.  I don’t think they do it that way anymore, especially if most of the staff moved on.

    • Fred Whitlatch

      Eastern Illinois University did this for a couple of beginning biology classes in the early 1970’s. Along with the “Life Science Lab” where you listened to and watched the material whenever you chose, did simple experiments, and asked questions of available instructors. there was a weekly quiz section where you took a quiz. I don’t know how many years it lasted, but it is not taught that way now. Miight be interesting to find out how successful it was etc…..that was a flipped classroom before flipped classrooms were invented.

    • Fred Whitlatch

      Eastern Illinois University did this for a couple of beginning biology classes in the early 1970’s. Along with the “Life Science Lab” where you listened to and watched the material whenever you chose, did simple experiments, and asked questions of available instructors. there was a weekly quiz section where you took a quiz. I don’t know how many years it lasted, but it is not taught that way now. Miight be interesting to find out how successful it was etc…..that was a flipped classroom before flipped classrooms were invented.

  • ProveMyConcept

    This is a great 

  • payton

    I think that a flipped classroom is a great idea because it gets students more involved instead of just listening to a teacher talk the whole class 

  • Emma Lenehan

    In my primary classroom we have started on a model like this but not so intense. Following the models found in the reggio schools where student are engaged in thier learning by learning about subjects of thier choice in particuliar areas. They have guidelines to meet that are outcomed based but how they achieve the outcome is up to them. I guess it is using student voice to drive the learning.

    Creating flexible learning spaces with flexible furniture  such as stable tables, bar stools etc and not having any ownership over any desks and chairs is also a huge advantage too.

  • Issac

    I taught science to middle and high school students for a number of years. (hate to date myself but I have been a teacher since 1983). What is interesting to me is that I have used this concept for years and never called it anything but I don’t want to do lectures because I am BORED and so are the KIDS!!! When I started, we did not have the technological abilities we have today. However, I was a strong advocate of this approach. For my students, it afforded us an opportunity to collaborate, discuss and dig deeper. The students were truly excited about coming to “science” class. Maybe I should have written a paper… LOL

  • Educator-still-in-learning!

    It would be interesting to see how much of the achievement has been attributed to fewer penalties (i.e. failing grades) due to students not completing their homework as in the traditional classroom. That is always a big issue in middle and high schools.  In my experience, most of the D’s and F’s come from students not completing homework.  Of course, academic improvement always comes from greater student engagement, no matter how it is achieved.  Good stuff!

  • Math teacher

    Is there any original content on this page?  What a waste!  For some actual information, go to: or

  • Cpollet


  • Kaga678

    Barbara Walvoord pioneered this model at the college level calling it “moving first exposure.”  She said the first exposure to material should never be in the classroom, conducted by the teacher; teacher expertise should be used to coach students in solving problems based on the information learned.  The exposure to and learning of the material should occur first, and outside the classroom.  It’s a waste of what teachers have to offer to have them spend their time actually presenting material.  Better to function as a coach and someone who is available when problems arise with the application of those concepts/understandings.  Hurrah for switched classrooms!

  • Joanie Gloss

    It appears that the student has to give personal attention and input rather than staring at an instructor. I had my children in a school situation in the early years where they were in a classroom but had to research through tools without classroom instruction. When we moved from New Jersey and this school setting, they had to test for position in the public school here in Clarence, NY (one of the top 10 schools). They scored in most subjects ABOVE the standard expected for their grade level.

  • Ms. Crisostomo

    Question? My true curiosity lives within about how to get students to watch the videos? I use a lot of technology now with blogging, Wiffiti and texting, as well as videos uploaded to my blog and computer activities, however, many don’t take the time to watch… so then what? They return to class did nothing at home and make the activities all that much more complex to run smoothly… how do you handle that?
    I would really like to understand how you tell schools that don’t have the beautiful cameras to record or whatever, how do they create these video lectures? Please tell me that… and I can then move forward to doing more in my own classroom. Thanks.

    • Adrew

      There are two solutions as far as I have seen.  One would be holding them accountable with a simple quiz.  It could be about the video, and you might tell them as you record the video, “This is the question I need answered in class tomorrow.”  Or you might make a note-taking sheet for them to fill out.

      Other schools have done away with homework.  This means they watch the video in class and move on from there.

    • Jon Bergmann

       we did this on a shoestring in a poor school in CO.  We use Camtasia Studio software and a computer.  There are also free screencasting software out there (Screen-Cast-O-Matic)

      For those who don’t watch the videos, they simply watch them on the computer in the back of the room.  Then they are in a “traditional” classroom where they have to watch the video at school and do the HW at home.  No different than other kids who don’t do their homework.

  • Glenn Platt

    Please check your facts on the history of the flipped classroom. In a 2000 article in the Journal of Economic Education called “Inverting the Classroom”, my colleagues and I both coined the term and outlined the model for the inverted classroom (and what would be the “flipped'” classroom for Khan Academy and others)

    Here is a link to the PDF of the article: 

    Or you can read this blog post about it here:

    Professor Glenn Platt
    Miami University

  • Mnobles4

    Where do more than 50% of freshmen fail English?

  • Cbennettalexander

    My daughter (a 6th grader) just informed me that her Algebra teacher is thinking about “flipping the classroom” when the kids asked what that meant, she said look it up, landing us here! Thank you for the understandble information! I think this really could work for the kids!

  • Kpetiti

    I have an online accounting class within out district.  I have not figured out how to post recordings through the online classroom.

  • Jaweekes

    How do you handle students who don’t want to learn, or who have problems learning using this method?
    Not all students can or have the discipline to learn by themselves, and at home there are too many distractions.  This goes for any student, no matter what their age.

    • Guest

      It shouldn’t be a teachers job to force information down students throats.  You have to learn discipline at some point, and it is required for both methods.

      As is it’s not like students whee don’t learn from lecture methods are addressed.

       And if they don’t WANT to learn, they fail, fact of life.

       All the problems you presented will exist for anything other than one on one methods.

  • IronDaniel

    I dont see that learning in a class room vs learning on line changes anything.   The key here is learning not just teaching.  It is like when you ask some one to clean a room.  You show them how to work the vacuum and clean.  Next time when they “clean” the room it is still dirty but they did run the vacuum over the floors.  Just running the vacuum over the floors real quick doesnt ensure that the floors will be clean.  You have to pay attention work the vacuum so that the tool will do its best job to get the task done.
    The key to learning is motivated students who want to learn and teachers that make the subject relevant.  A good teacher knows how to motivate most students(not all) and bring the subject up close and personal to the student.   

  • EDB

    classroom assesment is quite important, however, the teacher effect has been a true conflict in eductation Lectures cannot be avoided but they must not be the only resource. 

  • Wynda

    Can i use your infographic for my thesis? Thanks

  • Edward

    Keep an open mind to the “Flipped Classroom”. It is not an answer to a problem, yet a option to learning. Big difference!

  • chang

    It is my first to come here. Have somethings. Thanks.