During the fall of 2013, over 403,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members participated in the 11th annual Speak Up online surveys facilitated by the national education nonprofit organization, Project Tomorrow© in conjunction with the Flipped Learning Network™. The national data findings from the surveys were released in early 2014. For the second year in a row, specific questions were asked of students, educators and administrators on flipped learning and use of videos in the classroom. Teachers and school administrators were asked to comment on their current or planned implementation of this innovative strategy.
Flipped Learning –A second year look
For the survey, flipped learning was defined as using lecture videos as homework while utilizing class time for more in-depth learning such as “discussions, projects, experiments and to provide personalized coaching to individual students.” While the definition of flipped learning continues to evolve, school and district administrators are already enthusiastic about its potential as a gateway to increased student achievement.
Amongst district administrators, 25 percent identify flipped learning as already having a significant impact on transforming teaching and learning in their district, surpassing other digital learning trends such as educational games and mobile apps (21 percent) and even online professional learning communities for teachers and administrators (19 percent). And even though digital textbooks and online classes have been part of the digital learning environments for a longer period of time, a similar number of district administrators are bullish on flipped learning as a transformative agent in the classroom. In classrooms, teachers are already experimenting with flipped learning. This is especially true in math and science classrooms where 16 percent of those teachers say that they are implemented a flipped learning model using videos that they have created or sourced online.
The national research also indicated that an additional 15 percent of teachers and 40 percent of administrators said they were interested in “trying flipped learning” this year in their classrooms and schools. Acknowledging that they need more training to do this effectively, 16 percent of teachers have “learning how to flip my classroom” on their wish list for professional development this year. This corresponds with what we hear from administrators about the challenges implementing many new digital learning initiatives in the classroom; teachers need new training to implement these approaches successfully in the classroom. School principals’ interest in flipped learning however transcends their concerns about their current teaching staff. When asked to identify the technology experiences they think pre-service teachers should have before getting a teaching credential, 41 percent say that these teacher candidates should learn how to set up a flipped learning class model.
What’s holding teachers and administrators back?
Teachers and site administrators continued to be in agreement that the following hindrances may be keeping them from flipping their classrooms; concerned that students might not have “access at home,” needed instruction on how to “make” or “find high quality videos,” and how to “best utilize” the additional classroom time.
But the overall drop in these concerns from last year are stark indicators of ongoing acceptance of this ideology. For instance, 11 percent of teachers and 18 percent of administrators are less concerned than the previous year about students not being able to access videos at home. Eight percent of both teachers and administrators are less concerned about how to make the videos, and 5 percent of teachers and 3 percent of administrators are less concerned about how to find high quality videos. While teachers remained unchanged in their request for instruction on how best to utilize videos in the classroom, the concern by administrators dropped from 31 percent to 9. Five percent of administrators indicated they had provided training for teachers on flipped learning this past year.
Use of videos in class
When asked about their use of digital content in the classroom, 46 percent of teachers said that they are currently using videos that they find online within their classroom instruction and 16 percent say that they are regularly creating videos of their lessons or lectures to students to watch. Librarians and media specialists are also tapping into video both within their own practice and to support teachers and classroom instruction. Almost 5 of 10 librarians say that they are regularly finding videos and other rich media to support classroom instruction and 37 percent are helping to build teacher capacity by supporting teacher development of such media for classroom use as well. In many ways librarians and media specialists may be in the best position to help teachers acquire the skills to use and create videos within the classroom as 45 percent of librarians say that they are already regularly creating videos and similar rich media as part of their professional practice.
Administrators also continue to support the use of video within instruction and believe that it has an important role within classrooms today and tomorrow. Approximately one-quarter of school principals (24 percent) indicated that their teachers are using videos they found online or creating their own videos as part of their flipped learning model implementation. And thinking ahead to the next generation of classroom teachers, 66 percent of principals said that they want pre-service teachers to learn how to create and use videos and other digital media within their teacher preparation programs.
While using video in a classroom does not equate to flipped learning, it is a strong indicator that educators are open to time shifting their lectures and instruction, using video as supplemental materials, and for test review.
Student voices on flipped learning
Of the over 180,000 middle and high school students who participated in the Speak Up 2013 surveys, almost three-quarters of these students agree that flipped learning would be a good way for them to learn, with 32 percent of those students strongly agreeing with that idea. As the Speak Up data has documented with other new digital learning trends, the student interest in new classroom models often precedes teacher or even administrator interest or exploration. As Project Tomorrow has reported for several years in Speak Up reports, today’s students in many ways serve as a digital advance team for educators. Student interest therefore in flipped learning should be taken very seriously by teachers and administrators. Students’ reflections on how technology is being used in their classrooms is often an indicator about emerging adoptions. Such is the case with the use of online videos by students to support their learning process. Representative of the increasing role of video use within classroom instruction and teacher comfort with that media, middle school and high school students reported a 20% increase from 2012 to 2013 in their use of videos as part of their learning process, both those that are online as well as videos created by their teachers.
Student Use of Video to Support Learning
© Project Tomorrow 2014
The message is clear. Students, teachers and administrators are increasingly interested in tapping into digital tools such as video to transform the learning experience. From the 2013 Speak Up research it is also evident that the flipped learning model is gaining the attention of educators who are interesting in improving student achievement and teacher effectiveness by leveraging digital tools to enable innovation. Focused efforts such as more professional development for teachers and tapping into librarians and media specialists to support teachers’ fledgling implementations of flipped learning are already showing great promise. Both Project Tomorrow and the Flipped Learning Network look forward to continuing to research this emerging trend and provide guidance to support teachers and administrators who are interested in this highly innovative new learning approach.
Reproducible PDF: www.flippedlearning.org/research