The Flipped Classroom – How much time is really saved? Reply

One big argument for using the flipped classroom approach to teaching is the time that is saved in the classroom by posting screencasts of lectures online. The time saved in the classroom can be used to create a more collaborative dynamic, creative, discovery-based classroom.  For years I have been trying to figure out how to save significant time in the classroom so I can explore topics in more depth with my students. The flipped classroom was my solution. So the question is how much time is really saved? To be honest, time is not always saved when posting screencasts. If a screencast is posted that summarizes what has been discovered in a discovery lesson, then it is not clear how much  time has been saved. Surely the screencast will help students who need the reinforcement of the concepts that have been uncovered in class. It may help their understanding so that they ask less questions in class and they might ask for less extra help from the teacher and  it might help them to better grasp future concepts. It might even help the teacher to spend less time in class reviewing concepts.  All of this can save class time but it is not clear how much time is saved.

When a screencast is posted of a simple lecture then significant class time can be saved depending on the amount of content covered. The amount of time saved was driven home to me the other day when I forgot to post a link online to the latest screencast that was to be viewed for homework. The screencast was to cover a simple introduction to polynomials. It was a rather long one at 11 minutes. When I realized my mistake I figured that I had no choice but to lecture the class on  the material in order not to lose a day of work. Amazingly what took 11 minutes to cover in the screencast took 25 minutes to cover in class! Creating a screencast is very efficient when you don’t have students asking questions and you are not making the mistakes and digressions that can often happen in class. So forgetting to post the link online cost me not just 11 minutes in class time but 25 minutes ! That is half of our class period. That time could have been better spent reinforcing concepts or conducting discovery-based lesson on graphing polynomial functions.

The bottom line is that by posting lectures online instead of delivering them in class can save significant class time. This savings can translate into having more time to create a dynamic, collaborative learning environment.

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