Flipping education 

Teaching is no longer one-directional 

by Mike Ribble, Ed.D. 

For years in education, the process of teaching has been largely one-directional. The idea was to have students sit and absorb as much information from the instructor as possible, and then share that information back for the test. Many technologies have been the same way. We sit and listen to the radio, read the paper, and watch TV. In the past decade, our technology has been changing us and those around us to become participants, to have some say in what we see, read, and hear. Educators realize the power of this possibility in schools. This move from teachers being the “sage on the stage” to becoming the “guide on the side” is showing how education can become something more. The goal is to “flip” the classroom and begin to have students become more active members in their education.  

The “flipped classroom” isn’t new 

The “flipped classroom” model is not necessarily new. It’s more a reimagining of what a classroom might look like. To aid in this reimagining, technology has given teachers the ability to share ideas in many different forms and formats, allowing students to learn as they see fit. Now students are no longer just receivers of information but can become creators as well. Students are freed to collaborate, explore, and make connections. When we, as educators, were taught about student learning styles, the goal was to move students along a continuum so that they can become more independent thinkers.  

Technology can help both educators and students reach their potential 

Now we have both the tools and the educators with the knowledge and the will to address these higher levels of thinking. Technology can help both educators and students to reach their potential. By showing students how to gather and synthesize information, it can help them to begin looking at issues and ideas from a new perspective. The benefit for educators is that it can make education more interesting and “alive” for a new generation of students. It takes time and effort to make these adjustments in a curriculum, but the benefits for everyone will be worth the work.  

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