At our PTA meeting next month, we will be hearing how our high-school science and math classes will become flipped classrooms next year. Please explain to me what a flipped classroom is so that I will be better prepared for the discussion. -- Need to Know


Among the first teachers to initiate flipped classrooms at the high-school level were Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams of Woodland Park High School in Colorado. They began by posting their live lectures online for students who missed class. Soon, the online videos were used to replace the traditional classroom lecture, and class time was being used to apply what had been learned at home with the teachers serving as guides and tutors. Aaron has a video on YouTube describing why he flipped his classroom.

In flipped classroom learning, videos by the teacher or a third party replace direct classroom instruction through lectures. In flipped classrooms, what was once classwork is now homework, and homework is done in the classroom. The students apply what they learned from the videos at home by solving problems and doing practical work in the classroom.

The advantage of the flipped classroom is the increased amount of contact between students and their teachers. It personalizes education for the students, as the teacher has time to work with individual students who need extra explanation. The flipped classroom should never be thought of as replacing teachers with videos.

Other advantages of flipped classroom instruction include: students taking more responsibility for their learning, absent students being able to keep up with their classmates and students not working at home in isolation.