Want to learn more? Trade in your teacher for an LCD!

The Flipped Classroom – Can videos teach our children?

flip camera used in flipped classrooms
get it? Its a video camera, called the Flip...genius 🙂

When reading an article by Liz Dwyer about “Why youtube videos will never replace teachers” I learned about a new concept…the flipped classroom. Awesome, a new buzz word to fling around the water cooler to impress my fellow educators.

Apparently some people who got together to coin this new buzzword  excuse to write books and get funding are now promoting flipped classrooms. Wherein information is disseminated at home…


  • Student goes home
  • Fires up Youtube.com or VideoLessonsonDemand.whatever
  • Watches video
  • Goes to school…completes his or her exercises and practice as schoolwork instead of homework with teacher supervision and peer support

Get it…its flipped you see! Brilliant!
Chalk one up for technology!

Don’t you love buzz words…you create a new buzz word, write a book and go on a lecture circuit to sell more books and workshops. BRILLIANT. But I digress.

Dwyer seems to have been responding to a video  about Khan Academy  where the founder discusses the merits of his organization and the concept of video lessons. Video below:

I like Khan Academy! It actually frickin’ RAWKS! Lessons on demand, presented with visuals that you can watch as many times as you need from wherever you need – Perfect.

Despite the Khan Academy promo video being very, uhm, promotional, Sal Khan never states that there is any intention to replace teachers. On the contrary, the video ends by stating that a teacher is no longer a source for scripted lectures (link to facebook/prof article) but is a source of knowledge, experience, mentorship and humanity.

Here is my answer

Bad teachers, or no teachers, CAN definitely be replaced by a video! Read, a well made video designed to teach a concept and not simply inform. Khan Academy videos do just that. But like Sal Khan himself said, the teacher will remain a source of humanity that no system or video can replace. Good teachers know not to lecture and have a variety of strategies to engage students and allow for discovery-based learning to occur. Jerrid Kruse makes this point, a very good point. But he seems to be downplaying the benefit of Khan Academy as a great resource and tool. Videos will not replace a good teacher…but in absence of your rare great Socratic teachers, you need a good resource to help them succeed.

PROS of a flipped classroom
•    Scaling up teaching talent. If Teacher A rocks at teaching Photosynthesis in his own way, why does every other teacher have to re-invent the wheel?
•    Videos at home, are not as static as text books…the narrator can show expressions and enthusiasm for the content, make eye contact with the viewer, stress certain points and use intonation for great impact.
•    Videos can be edited, cleaned and refined. Videos don’t get colds or sore throats, they don’t have a lingering mortgage payment, etc
•    Students get the information and then practice in school where peer and teacher support is available
•    Excellent as a weekend task or for prepping students for a new project so focus in class can be on production rather than absorption

CONS of a flipped classroom
▪    Sandy has 6 classes. Each class has a video to watch. We have now assigned Sandy an extra 60-120 minutes of screen time above and beyond the time she spends on Facebook and Farmville and watching 90210…I mean OC…crap, I mean…oh hell I don’t even know what they are watching today. I no longer have cable
▪    Practice and skill acquisition, reflection and problem solving are all skills learned by doing work at home
▪    Less reading time. In a world of SMS, BBM (not for long) and LOL, any reading, even if from a text book will benefit a student
▪    Not all kids have the ability to watch videos online for whatever reason. No PC, archaic PC, no Internet, poor internet, etc.

Long story short, using videos to instruct students makes sense in many contexts. I use it in tech classes to teach Photoshop. Students can watch and work at their own pace. Pause when they need and fast forward when they already know that skill. They work on tasks while I walk around guiding them. I also use it to prep students for a project or task that we will be working on in class. They can watch a tutorial at home and be ready to work in class.

Some tutorials I make myself because I feel I can do it better than what is out there. I do it once and I have it all semester. It is a tutorial students can turn back to when they get stuck. Sometimes though I will use a pre-made tutorial by someone who is an expert. I encourage you to get into video tutorials whether you are showing it in class for 10 minutes or assigning it as homework.

6 thoughts on “Want to learn more? Trade in your teacher for an LCD!”

  1. 1. The videos should be the direct instruction the current teacher would have provided previously to flipping. 2. Supplement these videos with other experts who have done it well. 3. The entire class inside of school is now available for the expert teacher to differentiate. Teachers assess students and provide instruction based on the individual student instead of the entire class as a whole. 4. We have all kinds of work arounds available for students who do not have access. Is your inability to be creative to get kids access that limited? 5. Reflection and problem solving can now be done in conjunction with the expert teacher if needed and fellow students working through the same content. 6. Who said a flipped class has to solely provide videos. Why is it an all or nothing concept for everything in this world? Also, the videos done by the teacher can include information related to readings by highlighting concepts in them, etc. Who said that flipped classroom wouldn’t require reading?

    The flipped classroom was started by teachers. It really began to take off when two science teachers in Colorado started doing this full time with huge gains in learning. One of those two teachers, Jon Bergmann, recently took a new technology integration position in Kenilworth, Illinois. I share this because this isn’t about packaging new textbook company stuff. It is about a strategy to reach students more effectively, improve the conditions for learning in the home, and provide more student-centered pedagogy in the classroom. The best part of the flipped classroom is the ability to take advantage of the best conditions in all of those environments. Effective flipping is not possible without good teachers. Providing the best instructional videos comes from the flipping teacher directly along with the ability to provide connections in learning during a differentiated classroom.

    I think my response is somewhat more irritated by the fact that I continue to read posts by people who take educational concepts that are making huge gains in classes and then rip them apart through their form of a logical argument? Take a closer look at the history of the concept and how others are doing this. For example, writing teachers are taking advantage of this instruction with a much more personal response. When they are grading the students papers, they do it under a document camera or on the computer and they record their grading through a screencast. Record themselves marking the paper, talking through everything that they traditionally did. Instead of having to now conference with every student, many students can take that video and run with it. Students who are not getting enough from the video, the teacher can now take more time with them individually. Teachers are finding their time is much more valuable as a result.

    I suggest you check out everything we are talking about on EdReach.us regarding the Flipped classroom. Example: http://edreach.us/2011/03/15/khan-academy-great-idea-with-one-glaring-hole/

    The flipped classroom is not about replacing teachers with video. The flipped classroom is about teachers providing more intimate one-to-one direct instruction with an amazing, pause, play, stop button! Allow teachers to have more possibilities for providing hands-on one-to-one instruction in the classrooms as well.

    Here is the general search for all our posts regarding Khan: http://edreach.us/?s=khan.

    Once again, I apologize for coming across negatively as I do have the best intentions for positive discussions. The problem is that an article like yours is very logical but misses the boat and that can then provide misinformation for too many others to just ban the idea of a flipped classroom. I do not want to see that happen. I want people to understand what a true flipped classroom means. Providing videos at home is only a fraction of what it truly means!

    1. Hi Scott thanks for stopping by. Anyone who takes the time to write a comment Omar and I appreciate. Anyone who takes the time to write . . . well an essay we really appreciate. We are sure you’re a busy person and that this comment must have taken some time to compose. We also appreciate your awesome resources that you shared about the flipped classroom. Both Omar and I have checked them out and they are quite informative.

      That being said, Omar has responded to your comment by repurposing it here http://bit.ly/rQOeSk.

      My name is Patrick and I write for IT Babble as well and I think you may have missed Omar’s point with the article. In fact, I wonder if you read the whole thing or not which may have been the problem. Here’s why I think you missed his point; in the beginning of your third paragraph I think my response is somewhat more irritated by the fact that I continue to read posts by people who take educational concepts that are making huge gains in classes and then rip them apart through their form of a logical argument? Omar is not ripping apart the flipped classroom concept. In fact he mentions that he thinks the resources on the Khan Academy are awesome! So I don’t see this as ripping the flipped classroom. Do you? Why would he promote such a resource if he is trying to “rip it apart?”

      While Omar and myself may not have as strong of a grasp about the flipped classroom, Omar makes that clear in the first sentence stating that he’s learned about a new concept. Thank you for providing other resources about it and the podcast with Daniel Rezac about flipped classrooms for the newbies was particularly good, but you’re irritated because he doesn’t know it all in one post or a few days? I think that may be a bit unreasonable.

      Omar goes on to point more than a few pros and cons for the flipped classroom but if he was trying to discourage people from using it why even put the pros on there at all? It doesn’t make too much sense.

      I don’t think Omar missed the boat with his post; I think we are both new and curious about what it can do which is why the article was posted. We’ve both used it from time to time but haven’t really fully explored it and all of its implications. Don’t misinterpret Omar’s sarcasm and wit for a negative message. That’s not it at all.

      I encourage you to take another look at Omar’s piece and respond to his response post (you can find it here: http://bit.ly/s8e9vL).

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