Flipping for All the Wrong Reasons [SLIDE]

A few months back, I got into a passionate conversation with a person who believes that flipping the classroom is our only hope for saving schools.

His arguments rubbed me the wrong way, though, because he believed that kids were inherently motivated by the technology behind flipping the classroom.  “When we deliver content in a digital format, we capture the attention of digitally driven kids,” he said.  “They literally eat this stuff up.  We’re speaking their language when we use YouTube for school purposes.”


I was thinking about our conversation last night and decided to whip up a few slides.  Looking forward to hearing what you think of them:

(view and download both slides on Flickr here and here)


Related Radical Reads:

Technology is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome

More on Technology is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome

Are Kids REALLY Motivated by Technology?


6 thoughts on “Flipping for All the Wrong Reasons [SLIDE]

    1. Bill Ferriter Post author

      Hey Dani,

      Flipping is an instructional strategy that many teachers have been embracing in the past few years where the delivery of core content — the lecture part of a lesson — is done via a video posted on the web that students are asked to watch outside of normal class hours. What that does is free up class time for deeper, more meaningful learning experiences.

      When teachers get flipping right, students return to class after watching the preassigned video and take a quick formative assessment proving that they’ve mastered the content in the video. Teachers then use the data collected from the formative assessment to make instructional plans for the day. Students who demonstrate mastery of the core content immediately spend their class time in enrichment activities or wrestling with questions that drive them. Students still struggling with the core content engage in remediation activities in smaller groups with the classroom teacher.

      Long story short, it’s designed to free up time in school for something more meaningful than delivering content.

      Here are some recent articles debating flipping that you might find interesting:



      Hope they help,

  1. Darcy Mullin (@darcymullin)

    Bill, I love the slides. The really good flippers are doing more than just flipping their instruction, but also assessment practices. The great flippers are challenging all of their preconceived notions about education and are putting students at the centre of learning.

    Happy New Year.


    1. Bill Ferriter Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, Darcy.

      That’s one of the reasons that I wrote the post. The guy I was talking with TOTALLY missed the point about what flipping enables. He was stuck in the “I need to use technology because technology engages kids” rut — and I tend to see that a lot in conversations around Flipping.

      I’m wondering if that’s because for teachers, technology plays the leading role in flipping. You have to use a software program to create your video. You have to get the video uploaded to a video sharing site. You often use programs to monitor which kids have watched the video and different programs to assess what kids have learned after watching the video.

      When you are wrapped in a tech heavy creation process, maybe you start to overvalue the role that technology plays in the teaching/learning transaction?

      Drives me nuts.

      1. Paul C

        I totally agree, Bill. And, I think that flipping has another advantage: engaging parents. When “homework” involves meaningful delivery of new content/skills, parents tend to be more supportive of monitoring it. They hate at-home “busy work”, but if they can watch the video over their child’s shoulder–maybe learning something along the way–and know that the task is done, they get on board much more easily.

        Thanks for saving the baby on this one, and only tossing out the bathwater.

        1. Bill Ferriter Post author

          Paul wrote:

          They hate at-home “busy work”, but if they can watch the video over their child’s shoulder–maybe learning something along the way–and know that the task is done, they get on board much more easily.


          This makes sense to me, Paul. My only worry is the kids who can’t (or don’t) get the video watched at home — whether it’s because they don’t have digital access; have too many demands on their time already at home; or don’t have parents who are in the position to push their students to “do the work.”

          My guess is that those kids are going to be the students who are already the most vulnerable to failing in school. Wouldn’t flipping then become just another strategy that creates gaps between disadvantaged populations and their less disadvantaged peers?

          I haven’t flipped enough to know whether or not this is a legitimate concern — but I know it sits in the back of my mind as a barrier that I would have to work through if I wanted to make flipping a bigger part of my practice.


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