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What Is a Flipped Classroom? Strategies Every MSEd Student Should Know

Teachers embrace a paradigm shift to spend more time interacting with students in their classrooms.

The flipped classroom is an innovative concept that is part of a teaching and learning revolution. If you’re pursuing a master’s in education, you’ll want to become familiar with the flipped classroom and its cousin, flipped learning. These are exciting teaching strategies you can use whether you’re pursuing an online teaching degree or an education career that involves administration.

What Is a Flipped Classroom?

Traditionally, instructors teach a group of students in the classroom and assign homework to be completed outside of school. As you might guess, the flipped classroom upends that model. Instruction takes place outside of school through video lectures and other technological formats. During valuable class time, teachers work with individual students on the concepts presented in the videos and other shared material in sessions that may include writing, problem-solving, or discussion.

What Is a Flipped Classroom? Strategies Every MSEd Student Should Know

The flipped classroom is predicated on two central beliefs: The time teachers and students have together is best spent interacting, and absorbing material from lectures does not require a teacher to be present. Some studies have shown that this approach leads to better educational outcomes. And many students themselves say it works.

An 11th grader in Santa Ana, California, said, “It was hard to get used to. I was like, ‘Why do I have to watch these videos, this is so dumb.’ But then I stopped complaining, and I learned the material quicker. My grade went from a D to an A.” 1

The concept of the flipped classroom dates to approximately 2007, when Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, two Colorado high school science teachers, decided to address the problem of students skipping school. Convinced that students needed more engagement, they started presenting their lectures online and interacting with the students in class. “The videos are a vehicle to get to a deeper learning,” Bergmann says. He believes the best use of teacher-student face time is in “hands-on activities, inquiry- and project-based learning, and all those things that we have known that research has borne out to be effective and meaningful and important. If you can move that direct instruction to a video or some other modality, then you've freed up that class time to do the important stuff that is really what good education is all about.” 2

What Is Flipped Learning?

Flipped learning takes a deeper dive into engagement. “What is often defined as ‘school work at home and homework at school’ … does not cover the range of active engagement within a flipped classroom using a flipped learning approach,” says the Flipped Learning Network (FLN), an online community of adherents to the flipped philosophy. The FLN has created The Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™ to define what flipped learning is:

  • Flexible environment: “…Educators often physically rearrange their learning spaces to accommodate a lesson or unit, to support either group work or independent study.”
  • Learning Culture: “…The flipped learning model deliberately shifts instruction to a learner-centered approach, where in-class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating rich learning opportunities.”
  • Intentional content: “Flipped learning educators continually think about how they can use the flipped learning model to help students develop conceptual understanding, as well as procedural fluency.”
  • Professional Educator: “Professional educators are reflective in their practice, connect with each other to improve their instruction, accept constructive criticism, and tolerate controlled chaos in their classrooms.”3

Flipped learning and flipped classrooms capitalize on technology and the internet so students can choose how, when, and where they learn. After making videos of their lessons, teachers upload them to class websites or YouTube, where students can access them on computers or other devices after school. Teachers may also copy videos onto DVDs or flash drives for students without internet access or provide time during the school day for video viewing.

Classroom time typically involves doing practice problems in small groups, taking quizzes, explaining concepts to other students, having full class discussions, and writing individually. Teachers move from desk to desk to work with pupils..

The results are promising. After flipping classrooms in 2013 at Niagara Falls High School in New York, teachers reported that 83% of students in the honors Algebra II/Trigonometry class passed the Regents exam, versus 71% the prior year. They said 35% of students achieved mastery, which represented a 150% increase over the previous year’s 21%. In the General Algebra class, 55% of students passed the exam, versus 35% the prior year, and 7% achieved mastery, up from 4%. 4

At Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, the instructor of the 2015 statistics courses compared results from a traditional lecture and a flipped class. Students in the flipped classroom scored a minimum of one letter grade higher on the final exam than the students who learned in the lecture format. Students in the flipped classroom also were more satisfied with the course than the other group of students. 5

Where Can I Learn More?

If flipped classrooms and flipped learning are techniques you’d like to add to your teaching tool kit, you may want to consider graduate programs for teachers. When you pursue a master’s in education online from Walden University, you can immediately incorporate what you’re learning into your own classroom. An MSEd degree offers fresh teaching approaches for 21st-century classrooms and all the knowledge you need to grow your career or to head in a new direction. Make your classroom all your own with a master’s in education.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,