Why we flipped chemistry class

Flipped Classrooms Are Here to Stay write two teachers who flipped chemistry classes at their Colorado high school. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams recorded lectures and told students to watch the videos as homework.

Our students were on a block schedule, meaning they had 95 minutes of class time every other day. Every other night our students watched one of our videos—either online, from a flash drive, or on DVD—as homework and took notes on what they learned. We conducted laboratory experiments during class just like we had always done, but instead of rushing through the lecture and setup to get to the actual hands-on work, we were able to use the entire period to conduct in-depth scientific experiments.

“Flipped” students earn higher scores on tests, they write.  Teachers can give more attention to struggling students in class. At home, “students can watch the instructional videos as many times as they need to, pausing and rewinding to take notes or read Powerpoint slides at their own pace.”

 As flipped teachers, we spend our class time answering questions, monitoring experiments, probing deeper into the content, and guiding the learning of each student individually.

Sorry, that story is subscribers’ only on Ed Week Teacher. Here’s another version that’s open to all.  Bergmann and Sams are the authors of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day.

I wonder: Would flipping work as well in other kinds of classes? If students won’t read the textbook, will they watch an instructional video?

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Comments

  1. Would flipping work as well in other kinds of classes? If students won’t read the textbook, will they watch an instructional video?

    No, and of course not. Thanks for asking!

    I think flipped classes are fine for exactly the students that no one in educational policy is worried about: high ability, high motivation.

    • superdestroyer says:

      But shouldn’t public schools put more time and effort into students who want to learn, who will do the homework, and who want to achieve.

      Why take away a good learning experience from the best students in order to expend more resources on students who do not want to learn?

  2. Having taken courses by video, I disagree. The ability to replay parts of lectures is a lot more useful than I thought it would be. Also, the ability to pause the video, google up a topic and read a wikipedia article before continuing is really nice. I think I learned better by video than I would have by in-person lectures.

    People who deliver lectures like to think that they’ve said everything useful there is to say on the topic, which is silly: every student has different things they wonder about and the ability to check out the side issues during a lecture is a real improvement.

    • “every student has different things they wonder about and the ability to check out the side issues during a lecture is a real improvement”

      Many students may have zero interest in the subject. They will not be stopping the lecture to find out more, and they might not even be starting the lecture.

      In person lectures, discovery activities, individual work, group work, flipped-classes, the internet, the library, etc. will all work fairly well for students that are interested and/or desire to do well in the class.

      I think Joanne’s post was more about will flipping work for students who may not even take the time to watch the lecture at home, just like they wouldn’t take the time to do homework or read the textbook.

      How about we flip all classes so that students can sit at home all night watching lectures…FUN! FUN!

    • Michael E. Lopez says:

      People who deliver lectures like to think that they’ve said everything useful there is to say on the topic, which is silly:

      I have no idea what would possess you to say something like this.

      Surely someone who thought that would be silly. But just as surely, very few people actually think that.

  3. I have tried this with an introductory math class for students seeking secondary education certification (in non-math, non-science majors). The class covers counting methods, elementary probability and statistics, geometry (measuring), financial math, and logic. This is six chapters of a general survey of math book. The students _HATE_ the idea that I make them read a section of the text in advance, answer 3 or 4 questions about the reading and _attempt_ some of the questions from the section (these are graded on completeness). I then have them come to class and discuss the questions and go over more and more examples. Then they can do homework from the section (graded on correctness this time).

    The reviews from this class say such things as “The teacher expects us to do all the work” and “He doesn’t teach us anything!”. Now these are college students, and they are most emphatically NOT math people. I’ve tried several variations on this idea, and I think I’m about to un-flip this class next semester.

    • i wonder, though, if because they have already had 12 years of “un-flipped” education they are just resentful or unwilling to try it differently. maybe if they had always done it that way, or had done it that way for a few years before they would be better at/more willing to do it.

      still, as a middle school teacher i do wonder if i would get 100% of my students doing what is required at home. or even 70%.

    • superdestroyer says:

      They why would you want these college students to graduate and start teaching. Why not just fail them now and save all of the problems in the future.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Caveating for the Hawthorne Effect, correlation/causation, confirmation bias,and the usual overhyping of ed–or any–reform;

    At any time during the class, some of the kids are ahead of the lecture. They read the assignment. Some are with it, some are behind. If something is explained for the second time, even more kids are ahead of it, getting hothing. Some kids aren’t even up to a second go-through and get little or nothing.
    IOW, at any time in class, some of the time is wasted regarding some of the kids, a different chort each minute.
    If–emphasizing “if”–they do the lecture portion at home at their speed, rewinding if necessary, they’ll probably be with it, presuming they’re prepared for the lecture in the first place, which is to say they have the basics up to that point.
    Then class time can be used for other things which could net out ahead.
    So, maybe this is a good idea.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    “chort” s/b “cohort”