The topic of flipped classrooms is one which I swear has followed me around this year like a black dog. I first heard someone say it in 2008, but no doubt someone has claimed credit for inventing it, which I can’t be remotely bothered to find out. Clarkson once said that Jaguar cars impress the neighbours … but only if the neighbours know nothing about cars. That seems to sum up how I feel about 99% of the representations of flipped classrooms.
The simplistic binary of moving media-based information to before class, thus allowing in class to be “more valuable” or “better used” largely assumes a false binary, or perhaps a lack of experience. The phrase is handed around with other buzzwords yet fails to address that many (of us) have been using media well for years. Our only failure was not to take the opportunity to valorize it in pursuit of power or reputation.
The use of lecture or classroom space to ‘deliver’ is not the fundamental challenge in school or university. We know that students have access to media — and we also know they are not (yet) as digitally savvy as the online edu-rhetoric (in flipped classrooms suggests). Flipped is constantly used as a token or signal for innovation and reform based on numerous unproven claims.
This also deliberately denies more broad discussion about casualisation, increased demands on curriculum and so on — which seem much more important than how you take your tea – one lump or two? Flipped classroom places advocates on a socially constructed pedestal and extends the technologically deterministic reform agenda ignoring the reality that amount of media-education students receive is decreasing in real terms – as is the time we spend trying to teach. The erosion of teaching-labour in the face or climbing demands and expectations is unsustainable. Ultimately it’s only those with a) a full time role and b) a full time work load that allows media creation time and learning about media who can do it. It seems that most of those talking about flipped classrooms are unburdened by things like casual-contracts, poor equipment and lack of media development training. So if you’re not getting cut-though on your flipped classroom agenda, then it’s perhaps that the corporeal world most of us live in has quite different pressures and priorities which we didn’t create and do our best to work within. We’re not media ignorant, laggards or late adopters.
Flipped classrooms will get you noticed it seems, like owning a Jag. Provided those clapping think Jags are cool. I’m not discussing ‘flipped classrooms’ anymore, it’s a dead-pixel.