Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Great "Flipped Classroom" Debate

Flipped Classrooms
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Virtually ever since the term was coined in 2007 by a couple of secondary STEM teachers in Colorado, the “Flipped Classroom” has been a topic of buzz, hype, and contention in the education community, with that debate escalating exponentially in the early/mid 2010s. 

Just take a look at this chart that tracks the number of articles on Google Scholar with the phrase “flipped classroom” in the title since 2007:

From 2011 to 2015, this number jumped from almost nothing to over 500 published articles a year.  A search I made on on reveals 134 separate book titles related to the “Flipped Classroom,” with the majority of those being published in 2014 or later.  However, despite all this buzz -- or perhaps because of it -- not all of the opinions being published about the Flipped Classroom concept are positive ones. 

In fact, some of the more recent headlines are downright nasty:



Could it be that this wunderkind teaching method has totally fallen out of favor as quickly as it rose to fame and glory?

To try and get a “health check” of public opinion regarding the value of the flipped classroom, I did a rather unscientific study of current opinion in the educational blogosphere.  I did some neutral Google searches - for phrases like “does flipped classroom work,” “flipped classroom opinion” and “flipped classroom good or bad,” and catalogued the first 20 opinion-based articles and blog posts I found.

The overall tone of the 20 articles fell into 4 main categories:  For, Neutral, Moderately Against, and Strongly Against. (Though I suppose it is worth pointing out that together the 2 “Against” categories contain over twice as many articles as the “For” category.”)  In the rest of this post, I'll be letting these various articles have a friendly debate regarding the nature of the Flipped Classroom.