Mainstream Media Flips Out over Flipped Classes

Well, it seems the secret’s out…

Right on the heels of a series of decent Twitter conversations I had regarding blended learning, I noticed two articles on the benefits of Flipped Class structures, oddly enough, in mainstream news outlets.

Yesterday The Sacramento Bee published two articles: Flipping Class Gaining Momentum Among Educators which offers some praise for the blended learning model, and Khan Academy is a Flipped Classroom Pioneer.

So, this got me wondering how many other mainstream news outlets have done stories on flipping. The Herald Democrat (out of Texas and Oklahoma), The Columbus Dispatch, The News Messenger (A Gannett paper out of Ohio), all have recently ran pieces.

Then I noticed The Hawaii Tribune Herald picked up an Associated Press piece called “Teachers flip for ‘flipped learning’ class model“…

… which was printed… well… practically everywhere including USA Today, Yahoo!, and The Salon. The story, out of Santa Ana, California, was printed nationwide, from Hawaii to Maine. Here’s the Bing search results for the AP article.

Well, I know that I’ve only been in the game since 2006 when I got my first job, but I can’t say as I’ve ever seen a teaching model EXPLODE on the mainstream media quite like this.

It seems that I’m not the only one noticing the media’s infatuation with the flipped model.


So, the mainstream media is excited.

But see, according to much of the media fanfare, it was “invented” in 2007. That’s 5 years ago, folks. Elementary teachers who’ve embraced this haven’t seen their students graduate from high school yet. So, is this all fluffy frenzy?

Mark Frydenberg wrote a piece for The Huffington Post “The Flipped Classroom: It’s Got To Be Done Right.” From the middle:

With help from the Internet, word grew of the flipped classroom. Teachers tried it. Today, there are social networksblogsnewspaper columnsvideo contests, and websites to flatter flip fans, and flummox the flippant.

It would appear that the internet isn’t the only support that this movement has. Mainstream print media are jumping on the bandwagon, too. It’s starting to sound like the flipped model is the magic bullet that will solve all of education’s problems.

Which, of course, isn’t true.

That isn’t to say flipped model isn’t without its virtues. It has opened up conversation about the use of class time (especially in math) which was perhaps overdue. It has certainly energized some positive media coverage about the education sector which was also overdue. And, it has allowed equally as devoted new media bloggers and podcasters who aren’t sold on the flipped model to present conflicting, non-traditional viewpoints. There are worse problems to have.

Frydenberg offers some excellent advice mentioning that for this model to be effective, the proper amount of prep time is needed, the at-home piece must be short and to the point, and the in-class piece must be focused and well-designed. Which, by the way, is the same advice for any of a dozen other models of instructional delivery.

Eventually, the frenzy will die down and we will know the truth about flipped class. Is it a hip new trend? Is it a vision of the future? Is it the answer we’ve all been waiting for? Is it a way for traditional lecture models to find a niche in the 21st century?

Forgive me, but I am going to withhold judgement at least until 2008’s flipped out first graders become college freshman.

2 thoughts on “Mainstream Media Flips Out over Flipped Classes

  1. Like you, Andrew, I’m still waiting. From what I’ve read, seen, and talked personally to teachers who are flipping, I don’t anticipate a consensus any time soon.

    You are so right about this: “And, it has allowed equally as devoted new media bloggers and podcasters who aren’t sold on the flipped model to present conflicting, non-traditional viewpoints. There are worse problems to have.” Exactly!

    Thanks, Andrew.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s