Can the flipped classroom work for college students? How practical is it? How effective would it be?Here is a random sampling of the perspectives of some college students in Northern California.
As Mary sees it, changing the typical teacher-classroom setting can make a big difference in the way students absorb the material. In the traditional method, teacher lectures and students are expected to learn the material without actually engaging in it. People like Salman Khan have realized that real learning takes place when students are engaged, rather than sitting at a desk listening to a teacher speak for over an hour. “I feel as though lecture is something I can listen to at home and while I am in class I can ask the teacher any question on the material or ask my peers for their feedback on the lecture. This type of education will work better for our generation as we have come a long way in technology.”To Julio, flipping classrooms is a great idea because “in some classes lectures literally go on forever. Students just sit there passively, often bored and frustrated. I'm a huge statistics nerd and the fact is that it will make learning in a solo environment much easier. If this plan gets to become like Facebook in the next few years, it will open up education for the better.”
Joelle is convinced that flipping classrooms will not work. First, many people will not listen to the lectures at home and so when they get to class, they will be even more lost. “Class time is a time to absorb all the information possible so that at home you can try to work out the problems or write your essays in peace and quiet. It is challenging because you are now on your own to use the information you absorbed in the class. I also do not think it will work even for those who actually do listen and read the lectures at home. If there isn't a teacher to answer their questions right away, the rest of the section might not make any sense. Traditionally, in class the teacher teaches you the fundamentals and builds a solid base for the more challenging questions. Without this, it can get very confusing for the students.”
James believes that flipping the classroom will benefit students, particularly in math and science. When students listen to lectures in classes, they are expected to know everything by the time they finish taking notes. Then they are expected to do homework and solve problems by themselves. Students often feel overwhelmed with challenging problems and have no one to ask for help. They begin to fall behind. Listening to video lectures at home without distractions, they know what to ask in class. That way they can solve problems and master the material.
Julie’s view is that flipping the classroom will be of use to those who have mastered online learning and research and are self-motivated and relatively wealthy. “However, for people with learning disabilities like myself, there are disadvantages. People with limited resources cannot afford expensive technology like smart phones and iPads. I am afflicted with ADHD, anxiety and depression. I suffer memory lapses and I find learning new things very difficult. While flipping classrooms might work with classes in which I have a natural interest, like Liberal Arts, it would not work for me in Applied Sciences. I prefer learning in a classroom where there is live interaction with my teacher as well as other students. So, while flipping the classroom can be an advantage for some, many of us need the physical presence of a living and breathing instructor.”
Yvonne finds the idea of flipping classrooms at a college level attractive. It will show which students are actually doing the required work (watching lectures at home). Listening to lectures at home actually forces students to take the time to pay attention and go over the material. It gives students the ability to come up with questions to ask the teacher later. When they get to class they can right away ask what they need help with. It also makes the job of the teacher easier.