Why “Flipping Classrooms” works, to a point.

Jargon abounds in education. It’s part of a tradition of differentiating one idea from another as well deciding who’s in and out of any group or culture. “Flipped Classroom” is one such term which is socially constructed to mean inversing the twin-axes of lectures and tutorials. The basic rationale is that all lectures are boring and no one learns anything anyway. In addition,t the advent of low-rent media production, and the ability of people with no history in media can hack out a video or make a ‘how to’ sitting on a bus. Therefore, we can use lecture time more productively and also class tutorials. So, if I have a rudimentary understanding of computers and media, we can produce another market reform, which will improve learning — because of technology and popular culture’s willingness to buy personal devices. This is all very well — if you have a small class size and the learning orientated around a small number of teachers — or just one. It falls over when you have several teachers and several hundred students. Then, the lecture becomes the essential ‘trunk’ which will allow the roots of tutorials to grow. It’s at best an assumption, mostly made though ‘flipped rhetoric’ that the course doesn’t contain meaning, or that technology isn’t being used outside the classroom and lecture in purposeful ways to support students.

Outside of the jargon, and it’s ability to impress people who don’t know what you’re talking about, or conceive alternative explanations, uses of media or skill of the ‘team’ teaching, the idea which has strong arguments in K12 could do with a lot more research in Higher Education — especially in large class sizes.

 

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