Flipped learning is one of the newer pedagogical models designed to respond to the changing needs of children in a fast-paced, information-saturated, technology-heavy world.
While it’s not yet the norm in all UK schools and colleges, this concept highlights the continual evolution of teaching and the new focus on making learning a much more personalised and engaging discipline.
The notion of flipped learning can be credited (amongst others) to educational writer Alison King who outlined the importance of using classroom time to construct meaning instead of disseminate information. In simple terms this alternative pedagogy takes the classroom and homework components of teaching and flips them around. Explanatory videos and information are reviewed by students at home in advance of the lesson. Then, the time spent in class is dedicated to discussion, projects and assignments.
Much has been written about the value of this teaching style – with students more engaged with the content and empowered to set their own pace and teachers able to help students apply their newfound knowledge. But how can educators be sure that as well as having the appetite and resource to move to this model, they have right environment too?
Flipped learning shines the light on the needs of the student rather than the teacher. Instead of being passive in the classroom, students have more opportunity to ask questions and explore subjects in more depth, using the teacher as a means to clarify and explain rather than just inform. As such, flipped learning demands something different of space. The advent of 360 degree learning has already helped to set the scene for some of what is required – with the focus more firmly on crating spaces that support collaboration, conversation and technology rather than rows of fixed desks facing the teacher.
There’s already an acceptance that all aspects of our surroundings and experiences impact how we learn and this is particularly the case with flipped learning. For students to derive the full benefits of this pedagogical approach they need to be in an active learning environment that is conducive with engagement, discussion and collaboration. This means spaces that can be easily reconfigured to suit discussion and project work as well as lone study and quiet reflection.
These spaces must also have technology at their heart. Audio-visual solutions are needed to show and share materials, charging points must be readily available for students using their own devices, casting technologies are vital so screens can be shared, WiFi connectivity is needed so that the school resources viewed at home can be referred to in class as well as access to whiteboards, write-able and projectable surfaces to capture team discussions and the development of ideas.
Learning in these flexible, inspiring, tech-integrated and collaborative spaces not only aids attainment but also prepares students for the workplaces they will occupy in the future. This pedagogy will make an increasingly work-ready generation with an established appetite for learning and the experience needed to transition from educational to commercial environments and expectations with ease.
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