Flipped Classroom – Past, Present or Future?

“We need to be thoughtful about our use of a flipped classroom.” David Truss, 2011

flickr photo shared by jeff_golden under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

The Flipped Classroom was first developed so students who missed classes could still receive the lesson information.  Since then, teachers have found many ways to use Flipped Classroom techniques to enhance learning.  

Our COETAIL discussions on educational practices of the past, present, and future is some what circular as it is all relative to the teacher using it.  What is ‘past’ for some teachers, may be another teacher’s ‘present‘ or even something they will use in the ‘future‘.  And I don’t think there is any ‘right’ in this equation.  

John Hattie’s research and conclusions suggests that structure of schools and classes, student attributes, deep programs (e.g. PBL, individualized learning etc) or technology do not have a significant impact on student achievement.  Out of the many different variables that he analyszed for effect on student acheivement, he found what really matters is the expertise of the teacher, teachers working together collectively and collaboratively to understand their impact, and teachers who want to understand their impact.


If this research is valid then I believe it doesn’t matter if the instructional technique you choose is from the past, present, or future.  I think it is more important to choose and use techniques that suit the your style, your bunch of kids in your charge, and your school’s resources and context.  But whatever style you choose, do it with passion and confidence and continue to reflect on the choices you make as a teacher.

What role does it play in my classroom?

I’ve experimented a bit with flipped classroom; however, I think my motivation to try it was due to time constraints in a content heavy science unit. I generally use it more in the second half of the school year as we’ve had chances to develop skills and attitudes to working online together. What I did find from having students interact with content at home was that we had more time for collaborative work at school.

In this science unit, students were working in groups to produce science videos about space. The storyboarding, scripting, videoing, and editing could only be done at school so by having some of the content explored at home, it freed up time for the kids to collaborate and for me to take on the role of a coach/mentor for their projects.  Here’s an example of the work completed at home,

I want to continue to use Flipped Classroom in upcoming units, but I want to make a few changes to how I do it.  I want to:

  • make the content more interactive by using tools such as Zaption
  • make the learning students do at home count by holding students accountable for using the new knowledge
  • gather students’ and possibly parents’ feedback about doing this kind of work at home

Back to David Truss’s quote: “We need to be thoughtful about our use of a Flipped Classroom.”

I’d suggest altering David Truss’s quote to:  “We need to be thoughtful about our use of X.”

Where X can be any instructional technique (such as Flipped Classroom, Game-based Learning, Problem-based Learning, inquiry).

No matter what your X is, past, present or future, do it and use it thoughtfully.


One Reply to “Flipped Classroom – Past, Present or Future?”

  1. Thank you. I was having the kind of day where I needed to hear this.
    I think sometimes we worry too much about the outside perception of our teaching and forget to focus on our students and what works for them and us. And, like you said, if that happens to be a past idea, so what. As long as you use it purposefully then that’s okay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *