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Part 4 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series

“Flipping the classroom” is hardly new. But with all the hype surrounding both Khan Academy and MOOCs, it’s hardly surprising that the practice became incredibly popular this year.

Indeed, in his 2011 TED Talk (which has been watched over 2 million times on YouTube), Salman Khan talked about the ways in which his videos are used by teachers to “flip the classroom.” That is, in lieu of teachers lecturing in the classroom, the Khan Academy video lectures are assigned as homework; then students work on exercises in class where the teacher can more easily assist and remediate. “Flipping the classroom” has become a crucial part of the story that Khan repeats in his frequent talks and media appearances.

It’s also become part of the argument that Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller makes about how massive open online classes or MOOCs (which, duh, is another huge ed-tech trend of 2012) will change the offline university experience. When Coursera launched in April, she told me:

“There’s a growing amount of content out there on the Web,” says Koller, “and so the value proposition for the university is no longer simply getting their content out there. Rather, it’s fostering that personal interaction between faculty and students and students and students.” By being able to take advantage of online educational content – particularly lecture content from some of the best professors at the most pretigious universities in the world – students will benefit too. It’ll mean that the university classroom can be “flipped” – with lectures pre-recorded and assigned as homework. Koller, who’s been flipping her classroom since well before Khan Academy popularized the term, says that universities have been reluctant to add “active learning” opportunities at expense of covering “the curriculum” via lecture. And thanks to the increasing wealth of online classes, there’ll be more opportunities for hands-on on-campus experiences.


And in turn, by making that content available – freely and openly on the Web – that will mean a “better education for everyone,” say Ng and Keller.

You can read the rest of this article here

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Audrey Watters


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