Flipped Classroom – All You Need to Know

Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson
Updated October 26 2021
Flipped Classroom
Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson
Updated October 26 2021

Look, I get it, as one of my favorite teachers used to say, “The times they are a-changin’.”  Now, it was true when Bob Dylan first sang it as it is true now. But, doesn’t it feel a bit truer now?


As educators, we’ve all seen over the years how technology has become more integral to teaching and learning in the classroom. Some of our schools provide laptops, others tablets, learning management systems…even my son’s daycare has me checking ClassDojo for updates. Nothing is new, except it’s all moving digitally and virtually a lot more quickly.


As we’re grappling with all these different education technologies and how to use them and implement them effectively to deliver better learning outcomes, there’s this parallel ongoing discussion around, “What’s next?” Do we stay fully remote? Perhaps we try this hybrid learning thing. Maybe we blend it and flip it and make a juice out of it.


Over the last couple of years, we’ve moved at breakneck speed to embrace online learning. It was and remains a necessity. In this environment, we have, by proxy, become what many of our students aspire to be, creators. Maybe you used a capture tool to record your screen or sent a video message to encourage your students.


What’s this all have to do with the flipped classroom? To answer that, we first have to understand what a flipped classroom is.


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flipped classroom


What is a Flipped Classroom?

It’s not new. I know, all this talk about edtech and changing times was a bit of a lead-in and we’ll speak to that, but the flipped classroom is a type of blended learning that was first proposed in 1984 in the USSR. Yes, the USSR that some of us still see on our outdated globes.


The flipped classroom is a departure from the didactic method of teaching where the teacher lectures and students listen passively. The concept is to approach how we typically run the class in a totally different way. Instead of students watching the teacher lecture in class and applying their understanding in homework, the flipped classroom, well, flips that.


In the flipped classroom, students watch video lectures or read the class material outside of class to establish a baseline understanding of the course material. Class time is then spent on applying this knowledge by completing coursework that is typically done at home as homework or higher-level discussions, peer group work, debates, and practice.


The teacher’s role shifts dramatically in the flipped class. Rather than the teacher being the center of the class, the students and their work become the center of the class. Teachers can then provide more personalized teaching to actively assist and evaluate individual students’ knowledge as they progress through their projects.



Challenges with the Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is not for every class and every student. Let’s dive into some of the challenges and disadvantages of the flipped classroom.


A Digital Divide

The most commonly discussed issue with the flipped classroom is its reliance on the use of technology. Though the flipped classroom doesn’t technically require on-demand video lectures for students to watch on their own time, for all intents and purposes, the flipped classroom does require on-demand video lectures.  After all, with over 82% of all consumer web traffic coming from online video, we can safely say, “We live in a video world.”


Because of its reliance on computers, video, and the internet, students and families are required to be digitally connected. A Pew Research Center survey found that 34% of children whose schools were closed due to the pandemic experienced technology-related obstacles. 16% of those children could not complete schoolwork due to not having a computer at home and 14% relied on public WiFi. The digital divide is real, and we must be careful about putting undue burdens on at-risk children.


Self-Directed Learning

In many ways, the flipped classroom is an exercise in trust, personal accountability, and skill. In the traditional classroom, the teacher provides information through lectures and presentations. Students watch, listen, and ask questions. The teacher then assigns homework to reinforce this and later issues quizzes and exams to assess understanding.


The success of the flipped classroom model is then fully dependent on students watching their video lectures at home and being prepared to work on their projects in class. In the traditional classroom, a student may fail to complete their homework, but that means they didn’t reinforce the previous lesson rather than miss it completely as they would in the flipped classroom.


Furthermore, self-directed learning is a skill. Not all students possess the ability to teach themselves. Requiring students to complete the entirety of their initial instruction from on-demand videos and expecting them to come to class ready to work may be too high a bar for many students. Those same students that have trouble paying attention to the lecture may have even greater difficulties with watching a video lecture series at home.



Classroom Preparation

Running a flipped classroom can be difficult for teachers to manage. They have to be organized, ensure they are following up on each student’s project, engaging them individually, and providing personalized assistance.


Even more challenging can be the creation and acquisition of content for students to watch at home. Assuming the school district isn’t providing teachers with a library of lectures and prepared videos, the creation of these videos for self-directed learning must be done by the teacher.


It is here where the teacher must embrace the creator in them. They’ll need to invest time and effort to create these video lectures. Additionally, these video lectures will need to be managed and updated over time just like their lesson plan.


Flipped classroom


Benefits of the Flipped Classroom

Discouraged? That makes sense. With all the challenges that come with flipped classrooms, it certainly can give us pause before diving into the deep end. Let’s talk about some of the advantages, too.



Many Forms of Learning

The traditional classroom tends to weigh heavily on the oral, visual, and listening forms of learning. The flipped classroom utilizes those methods and distinctly deploys hands-on application as well as problem-solving.


Students are able to exercise myriad forms of learning to succeed. This can make the flipped classroom work better for students that have more success in retaining knowledge through application rather than requiring note-taking and memorization.



Skills Beyond the Class

Our students need to understand and be able to apply the knowledge they get from our classes to succeed academically. After all, the primary role of a teacher is to deliver instruction that helps students learn.


However, there are many lessons for students to learn in class that go beyond the lesson plan. In the class, students learn to work together, to help one another, to communicate and collaborate, and how to learn. They learn the skills of research and exploring their curiosity. These are the intangible skills a student develops throughout their academic life.


The flipped classroom excels in helping students learn to become accountable and take initiative. It is the student’s responsibility to learn the foundational information of the course. It is their challenge to learn how to apply that knowledge under the stewardship of the teacher.



Extended Reach

We spoke about the digital divide, but it is also true that the internet is the great connector. Students may have challenges in the classroom related to health, family life, or classroom dynamics. They may find themselves needing to travel with their parents or missing long spans of class time far outside of their control.


The flipped classroom provides a unique opportunity for any student with a computer or smartphone and an internet connection to gain the foundational information of the course by watching the recorded lectures. Depending on the tools available, they may also have ample opportunities to engage their teacher through a virtual classroom as well as their peers in project-based learning exercises held in breakout rooms.


The flipped classroom is an excellent model for remote and distance learning where the curriculum is often driven by self-paced learning. Teacher and student interactions are then reserved for more dynamic collaboration and higher-level learning.



Virtual Classroom


Kaltura as a Solution for the Flipped Classroom

I recently had a chance to run a virtual workshop at the ISTE Creative Constructor Lab Virtual 2021. As is often the case with an ISTE event, the participants were active, passionate educators looking to share stories and think of solutions to improve the profession of teaching. It was inspirational and amazing to hear how so many folks have deployed their creativity along with robust sets of educational technology to help students succeed in their classes.


The session I ran Video Helps the Education Stars was a hands-on workshop that encouraged educators to use video creation tools to make their video presence more engaging and impactful. We often look at video as a passive medium. Students press play, students watch passively, video ends. However, video can be super engaging. Video can be live and collaborative or on-demand and interactive.


At Kaltura, we provide education solutions that leverage video in all its glory. By utilizing the Kaltura video cloud or any video tools the right way, teachers can fully engage their students through their on-demand video lectures as well as in the live class. Let’s dive into a few ways the Kaltura Video Cloud can help power your flipped classroom aspirations.



Video Management

Because the flipped classroom often means students are expected to watch video lectures at home, teachers need a robust video portal to manage their class videos. A video portal makes it easy for teachers to know where to upload videos and is even easier for students to find the videos they need to watch.


Videos can be organized in channels that are only available for students in the class to watch while teachers can use the same video in multiple classes. Not only are videos organized by classes, but students can use rich search functions to find videos that cover specific topics.


Video management portals, like the Kaltura Media Space, not only provide a central space to manage and access all videos within a class and school but also provide enrichment tools to extend the reach of videos. Teachers can automatically caption their videos with machine captioning and edit their captions to get them just right. Tools like captioning make it easy to find videos in search as well as help make sure that no student is left out.


Video Creation

Having one central place to keep all your class video content is great, but where is this video content coming from? Certainly, there’s a lot of great content on YouTube and other 3rd party sites, but sometimes that isn’t enough.


As such, teachers have become video creators. Whether they’re using screen capture tools to record their screens while they speak over it or are showing their animation skills with Bitmoji, video creation has become a core skill of the classroom.


Kaltura Personal Capture makes it easy to create engaging on-demand video lectures. Teachers don’t need any special setup. They just click a red button and start speaking. After you’ve finished recording, the video is automatically added to your video portal.


Captured lectures offer a dynamic player where students can choose to view the teacher’s webcam, the shared content, or various combinations of both (side by side or picture in picture). This gives students more control over their viewing experience. Additionally, if you were sharing a presentation during the capture, the video is automatically chaptered per slide and the slide text is indexed and searchable!



Interactive Video

Video is traditionally passive. This can be a challenge for students to remain focused on the material. It is also more difficult for teachers to know whether a student actually watched a video when reviewing video analytics.


One of the ways to tackle these challenges is making video interactive. This lean-forward approach to video provides more engaging experiences that keep students attentive to your content.


Creating an interactive video sounds like a daunting task, but it really isn’t. It can be as simple as adding hotspots – buttons for students to click out to for external resources. It can also get more advanced without being too much of a task.


Interactive video paths are the modern incarnation of choose-your-own-adventure stories. I’ve seen folks create incredible journeys with this video tool, but you can also create basic scenarios using simple video capture tools. I created this example using Kaltura Capture in under 2hrs to give you an idea of what you can do.


Another way to ensure students are watching their video lectures is to add video quizzes within the video. It’s always important to measure student understanding. This helps inform you what needs to be reinforced or approached again when offering personalized instruction in the flipped classroom. It’s very common to add quizzes as separate tools after the video but displaying quiz questions within the video at predefined pause points helps ensure that students are watching your video lectures all the way through.



Virtual Classrooms and More

Video comes in many different forms. We’ve talked a lot about video on demand – creating video lectures using capture tools and making them interactive with video quizzes and video paths. These tools lend themselves to the flipped classroom, where students are expected to watch video lectures outside of class, then work on projects in class.


The flipped classroom is not only a model for the traditional brick-and-mortar school. Virtual schools often employ elements of the flipped classroom. A highly engaging, virtual classroom can make a huge difference to the success of the class.


Teachers can meet the class to kick off the lesson, then break up the class into breakout groups where students can work on their specific projects. The teacher can then jump from room to room to offer personalized instruction to each student or student group.


The virtual class, as well as the breakout rooms, can be recorded, and those recordings are automatically added to the class video channel. The teacher can even share the videos via video messages to encourage students to rewatch as well as suggest other key video lectures for them to review.




Technology and methods may change over time, but the goal remains the same. As educators, we are always looking for ways to help our students succeed. The flipped classroom is not the model for all classrooms, but it is certainly a great approach for some students and some teachers. If you’re interested in trying this model out more, then you can even experiment with one flipped lesson plan and see how it goes. Like anything, it will be a series of iterations and practice.


Regardless of your plans to move to a flipped classroom or not, it’s important to embrace video as a tool for the classroom. Students relate to video. They understand video. Whether they’re learning how to build something on YouTube or having fun with the latest trends on TikTok, video plays a central role in their lives. And, video will continue to play a role in their professional development as more companies rely on video in all facets of their operations from learning and development to marketing and customer enablement.


So, embrace your video creator spirit. It will come in handy whether you’re on your way to start recording your video lectures for your first go at the flipped classroom or just throwing together a quick video message for your students. It’ll land well.

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