The Flipped Classroom approach to teaching and learning is turning the tables on how modern education works.
It radically reduces the contact time between lecturers and students but keeps classroom results constant. The New Media Consortium’s annual Horizon report (2014) on the use of technology in education indicates that the flipped classroom is one of the two most important developments in educational technology for HE in the time-to-adoption horizon one year or less.
What exactly is flipping then? What does it mean to flip a classroom?
“Flipping . . . takes many forms, including interactive engagement, just-in-time teaching (in which students respond to Web-based questions before class, and the professor uses this feedback to inform his or her teaching), and peer instruction. But the techniques all share the same underlying imperative: Students cannot passively receive material in class . . . Instead they gather the information largely outside of class, by reading, watching recorded lectures, or listening to podcasts. And when they are in class, students do what is typically thought to be homework, solving problems with their professors or peers, and applying what they learn to new contexts,” explains Berrett in the Higher Education chronicle (2012).
At the 2014 HELTASA (Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa) conference Yolanda Heymans from North West University presented the institution’s progress with implementing the flipped classroom approach and the effects look promising. “I believe (our) reflections will be useful for academics endeavoring to use technology in order to flip the classroom in which students can develop key professional skills that are inherent to their discipline,” suggested Heymans.
Could this be the future of education? A system that can reduce five hours of lecture time a week and still provide a range of added benefits may seem too good to be true – but it isn’t.
If you need convincing, watch as North West University Lecturer Corneels Schabort demonstrates the flipped classroom approach taking place in his Biotechnology classes. The time of the “sage on stage” is over, warns Schabort. Make way for “the guide on the side”.