The Flipped Classroom Model – Digital Learning

As reported in this site, digital learning is transforming education in the 21st century and it’s happening across the world.  The globalisation of the learning experience has got to bring benefits especially to students who suffered from lack of access to both teachers and teaching materials.  When you’ve seen a class sit and watch a world class professor deliver a lecture from a classroom on the other side of the planet, you can’t help but feel that education is entering a whole new exciting phase.

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There are of course still problems and challenges to overcome, many worry that the latest drive towards huge online courses will ultimately be controlled by the pursuit of profit and fees.  Currently tens of thousands of courses and lectures are being made available free of charge by the world’s top colleges and universities.  Will this remain the case is unsure, already we’re starting to see some restrictions being put in place.

Several colleges have started putting up restrictions on who can access some online content.  Just like the big media firms who initially allowed their content to be screened world wide but now put filters and blocks.  Most of these were based on location meaning that you’d need some sort of IP changing software like this, in order to change your digital location.  Hopefully this is a temporary measure and not where the industry is heading.

The other big challenge is of course for teachers, using digital learning methods means that traditional teaching methods are not always suitable.    For example one method that is being used in many US classrooms if the ‘Flipped Classroom Model’.  This model is a method of teaching that allows people to complete notes when they’re out of class or at home.   This helps to free up classroom time for discussion and application of the subject matter.

In practice, the teacher or lecturer would record small 10 minute screencasts of their lesson which the students could watch at home.  These are primarily summaries of the lectures which the students can then take notes from in their own time.  These videos can be viewed after the lesson as a revisions aid but are more commonly watched before hand.

The idea is that the students get an idea behind the lesson beforehand and then come to class ready to apply the content.  The teacher can then design their lesson on application and reinforcing the concepts or ideas without the standard lecture format.  Obviously this also gives a teacher more free time in the classroom and hopefully more interesting lessons.

There are in fact many examples of these subject and concept videos already produced and available online.  If you check out most of the big US and European Universities and digital learning groups you’ll find many that can be used.  Again there are some restrictions at some of the sites but these are normally only location based blocks which as mentioned above can be bypassed by using a fake ip address – check here.