Monday, 7 May 2012

Framework for Flipping

Flipped classes have been around for some time (2001 is the earliest that I can find references to). The latest trend (craze?) can be attributed to several events including the establishing of the Khan Academy. The question that should be asked, of course, is - will flipping classes improve learning?
Flipteaching has produced a theoretical framework called "Explore-Flip-Apply" for use in the context of inquiry. It is based on the Karplus (1977) learning cycle of:
  • exploration
  • concept introduction
  • concept application
This was taken up by science teachers as a method of teaching (a framework) and a way of organising the curriculum.
Robert Karplus was a theoretical physicist who changed careers to do research on science and mathematics learning. He extended Piaget's ideas to older students, highlighting the importance of hands-on work in concept formation and learning.
Flipteaching's adaptation of this model into the flipped class situation is as follows:

They provide a link to a good comparison of models for conceptual reconstruction by Dennis W Sunal where Karplus' ideas can be seen in the context of contemporary writers of that time.
It is important to point out that Karplus was working in the area of the sciences and mathematics. For these areas, certainly, the model makes absolute sense.
But does the (non interactive) flip presentation substitute Karplus' concept introduction stage? I would think that it can form part of it but not all of it. The point about the explanation of a concept is that it should be dynamic, moving, changing, adapting to the needs of the learner. A static flip presentation cannot do that. But it can certainly form part of that process.
Should there be a check loop after the flip stage to ensure the foundations of the concept introduction stage?

Karplus, R (1977). Science Teaching and the Development of Reasoning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,  14(2), 169-175.

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