This guest post is by flipped learning pioneer, Jon Bergmann.  Jon_Bergmann_Headshot

The “Bottom-up” approach to flipped learning

Along with delivering the K-12 keynote at BbWorld 2015, Aaron Sams and I also had the opportunity to moderate a flipped learning panel of K-12 teachers, and hosted a flipped classroom workshop. One trend I noticed at this conference and elsewhere is that many K-12 educators involved with flipped learning seem to be encountering flipped learning in a grassroots way (i.e. individual classrooms, as opposed to the broader school or district environments).

Now, this “bottom-up” approach is by no means new or uncommon. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that is the main way teachers are attracted to the flipped classroom, driven out of necessity on an individual basis, as opposed to being introduced to the concept through formal professional development.

One reason for this may be attributed to continued misconceptions about flipped learning, and its common misuse as an interchangeable term with flipped classroom. This is something that I, along with the governing board and key leaders of the Flipped Learning Network (FLN) attempted to dispel when we announced the formal definition of flipped learning last year.

We define flipped learning as “a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.” This definition intentionally draws a distinction between a flipped classroom and flipped learning.

Why this distinction? As we have stated elsewhere, a flipped classroom can, but does not necessarily lead to flipped learning, unless teachers incorporate the Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™.

The Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™:

  • Flexible Environment
  • Learning Culture
  • Intentional Content
  • Professional Educator

Hopefully, at this point you are saying “But Jon, I need more details! How can I implement these pillars in my classroom, school or district?” If so, you should join my upcoming session on Flipped Learning for Administrators as a part of the Fall 2015 K-12 Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS), where I will talk more about the four pillars and how administrators and academic leaders can help drive the transformation of their learning culture from the top-down to more effectively engage your teachers and students. Register today.


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