Flipped learning: Is it still misunderstood?

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I love flipped learning. I love it so much I co-founded and serve as President of the Illinois Flipped and Blended Learning Network (@ilfabn)in December 2016. This past June my co-founders (Gerry Marchand, Matt Moore) and I organized our inaugural flipped and blended learning conference, #ilfabcon, that served approximately 300 educators from all across the country for two days. I’ve bought in.

I bought in because I understand the massive benefits to flipped and blended learning. In its simplest terms, flipped learning allows students to receive direct instruction away from the classroom so that class time can be used for more in-depth, higher DOK, meaningful activities. It’s not any more complicated than that. It really isn’t.

Here’s the thing: the in-depth, higher DOK, meaningful activities are why I became a teacher; that’s why just about everyone becomes a teacher. I don’t know any teacher who got into the profession by saying, “You know what? I love the sound of my voice so much that I want children and young adults to sit at desks or tables for long periods of time so they can listen to how smart I am.”

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Why is flipped learning such a difficult concept to understand? This past summer I went on quite a few interviews, as I searched for another teaching job. Naturally I championed the fact that I include flipped learning as part of what I do. Through a contact, I was able to get some feedback from one school and one of the knocks against me was that I spoke too much about flipped learning. HUH??

This was a school located in a middle class community with 1:1 Chromebook technology, Student access to videos wasn’t an issue. Why would a school look it as a negative if a teacher wanted to rely less on direct instruction (read: lectures) and focus more on engaging, meaningful work? This doesn’t make sense to me.

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Maybe flipped/blended learning is still misunderstood. Maybe when educators hear “flipped learning” they think “technology only.” Maybe I assume too much about what others know about flipped learning. Maybe we in the flipped learning community have not been as effective as we would like to be to help others understand.

I didn’t get that job and maybe that school would not have been a good fit for any number reasons. It just is frustrating that one of those reasons was because I am interested in enhancing the classroom experience for my students.

Until next time…

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