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Speak Up 2014 National Research Project Findings: Flipped Learning continues to trend for third year

Project Tomorrow and The Flipped Learning Network Speak Up 2014 National Data

February 2015

During the fall of 2014, over 521,865 K-12 students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members participated in the 12th annual Speak Up online surveys facilitated by the national education nonprofit organization, Project Tomorrow© in conjunction with the Flipped Learning Network™.

For the third year in a row, specific questions were asked of teachers, librarians, and building and district administrators on flipped learning and the use of videos in the classroom. Educators and administrators weighed in on professional development when learning how to flip a class. Students lent their voices on flipped learning, videos as homework, and how (and how often) they use learning and social media tools.

Results were released at AASA: The School Superintendents Association’s National Conference on Education on February 28, 2015.

Flipped Learning – Trending for three years

For the third consecutive year, 4,326 building and district administrators from 2,600 school districts are seeing a significant increase in teachers flipping their classrooms using videos they have found online or that they are creating themselves. Over the past three years, school leaders at all grade levels have seen increases from 23 to 32 percent of teachers using videos found online, with a slightly larger overall increase in the number of teachers who are creating their own videos moving from 19 to 29 percent.

When school technology leaders were asked about popular approaches to digital learning that have had positive results in their schools, they specifically selected “flipped learning” 48 percent of the time. They also selected “digital content, which includes videos, simulations and animations” 84 percent of the time and two-third selected “digital media tools for student content creation.” Both of these categories are directly related to flipped learning.

Coupled with the number of teachers and administrators who have NEVER heard of flipped learning, we know the growth and sustainability of this particular teaching method will continue to grow. In 2013, the first year questions were asked about flipped learning in this survey, 18 percent of teachers
and 12 percent of administrators had never heard of it; three years later only 12 percent and seven percent, respectively, had never heard of it.

Amongst school administrators, 28 percent identify flipped learning as already having a significant impact on transforming teaching and learning in their districts. The majority of middle (38 percent) and high schools (40 percent) are implementing flipped learning with “positive results,” but elementary schools (17 percent) are increasingly using it in their classrooms too.

Both librarians and teachers were asked about digital content they either recommend to the educators they work with, or in the case of teachers, that they currently use in their classrooms. Librarians indicated that 55 percent have found online videos from places such as YouTube, Khan Academy or NASA (an increase from 44 percent three years ago) for teachers to use in their classroom, with 61 percent of teachers doing likewise (an increase from 47 percent). Likewise, the number of librarians who have created their own videos increased from 13 to 24 percent, and teachers from eight to 12, again over three years.

A call for more professional development

The national research measured an increased number of teachers who are using video for their own professional development. In the past year, 62 percent of educators indicated they had used an online video to learn how to do something themselves and 11 percent indicated they had created their own videos of lectures or lessons for their students to watch. With teachers utilizing video for their own learning or for transferring knowledge to others, this trend continues to support the idea of flipped learning. Educators who were not yet flipping, indicated they were interested in “trying flipped learning” in their classrooms and schools; an increase from 15 percent to 17 percent from last year.

A fifth of teachers at all grade levels are asking for professional development in this area; 21 percent indicated that learning how to “implement a flipped classroom model” is on their “wish list for professional development” in the coming year. A secondary question was asked whether or not they wished to receive training on “how to create videos of lessons and lectures for students to watch,” which was at 18 percent. There were fewer teachers asking for instruction on “finding high quality videos” this year (16 percent). So even if teachers were not fully aware of the term flipped learning used in the survey, they were interested in learning more about the concept.

Also increasing from last year’s survey to this year was the number of administrators who indicated they were “providing specific training” on flipped learning for their teachers, which increased from five to seven percent. School librarians are providing much of the PD with 17 percent stating they helped teachers set up a flipped classroom in the past year.

School administrators are expecting new teachers to know how to flip their classrooms prior to completing their certification process. Last year, 41 percent of school leaders indicated that pre-service teachers should “know how to set up a flipped learning classroom,” this year that increased to 46 percent. Of the same group, 68 percent indicated that pre-service teachers should come to their new jobs with the “ability to create and use video, podcasts and other media” in their classrooms. Even
when broken down by grade levels (elementary, middle, or high schools), the averages of the responses do not differ by more than a few percentage points; administrators are expecting new hires to come with these skills no matter the grade or subject taught.

Students’ voices on flipped learning

Of the 431,241 students in grades kindergarten through twelfth who took the online survey in the fall of 2014 almost half indicated they regularly used videos as part of their homework—either videos they found online or videos created by their teachers. While the flipped learning model is not necessarily predicated on videos as homework, many commonly use that interpretation. For the Flipped Learning Network’s definition of a flipped classroom and flipped learning, click here. Specifically, when students in grades 6-12 were asked if they participated in a “flipped class where students watch/listen to lectures or lessons at home and then use the class time to do projects or get homework help,” seven percent indicated they did.

Yet, on average, 40 percent of students stated they found videos online (e.g. YouTube and Khan Academy) to help with homework or studying. Interestingly, half of all kindergarteners, first and second graders said they had used a video for additional assistance. When asked if they had watched a video created by their teacher for class, 26 percent of all K-12 students indicated they had, with most being middle or high school students. Again, another indicator of growth for this method of teaching.

The majority of polled students in grades 3-12 agreed with these statements on why using technology was helping them to learn: I am able to learn at my own pace (59 percent); I have more control over my learning (50 percent); and I am learning in a way that better fits my learning style (49 percent).
While students are not known to endorse or encourage homework, 37 percent did agree with this statement: My learning does not stop at the end of the class period or school day; I can go home and continue learning after school.

To get a sense of the acceptance rate of videos by students consider this: the number of students in middle and high school who said they “never” use Facebook is 41 percent, and 30 percent said they never access Instagram, yet only 4.5 percent never go to YouTube. Even more telling is that 44 percent of students said they use YouTube “all the time” with 35 percent selecting the same response for Instagram, yet only 14 percent marked that for Facebook. Video is the means for youth to access social media in their free time so it goes that they are very comfortable using video for their formal and informal learning.

Stumbling blocks to implementing flipped learning

Always a concern for educators and administrators is student access to teacher created or curated videos away from school, but the decrease from the first year is an indicator of ongoing acceptance of this ideology. For instance, half of all teachers (49 percent) are concerned about students not being able to access videos at home, a decrease of four percentage points from year one. Administrators have not changed their level of concern and remained steady at 47 percent from year one to three.
Another concern is ensuring that educators have enough training to properly implement flipped learning. There has been an overall decrease in the number of teachers who indicated they needed instruction “in how to make the videos,” how to “find high quality videos,” and “how to best utilize class time.” Interestingly, teachers decreased their concerns from year one to three on how to make and find videos (by 5 to 8 percentage points), but there was only a percentage point decrease in their need for training on how to best utilize class time once they have flipped their classes. This is clearly an area for school leaders to concentrate on when offering flipped training. Ironically, administrators stated that their employees needed more training in all three areas more than teachers did by an average of 16 percentage points! This disconnect needs to be further explored.

Next steps

Once again the message is clear—school leaders, teachers, librarians and students are increasingly interested in flipped learning to transform the learning experience. Administrators want their teachers to utilize this method of instruction. Educators and pre-service teachers want more professional development. Librarians and other media specialists need support to assist with implementations.
Students continue to use video as their go to method of formal and informal learning, so why fight it?

While the number of teachers and administrators who had never heard of flipped learning declined over the past three years, more teachers seem to be embracing this method without knowing of the research or pedagogy behind it. Research such as this annual survey and subsequent report will help to guide this ongoing conversation. Both Project Tomorrow and the Flipped Learning Network look forward to continuing to research and provide guidance to support educators and administrators who are interested in this highly innovative approach to learning.