Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement | METC Book Review

flippedbookThe Midwest Education Technology Community Conference advisory committee is excited to bring back book reviews of materials that we will offer at the conference this February. Two area educators volunteered to read and review Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. This book, an ISTE publication, has identified its audience as administrators, curriculum coordinators, educators (6-12) and technology coordinators.

Have you read this book? Here’s what our reviewers had to say:

Reviewed by Angela Cartee, Professional Learning Technology Specialist, Special School District
What is the best use of face-to-face time with students? That’s the one question posed by Jonathon Bergmann and Aaron Sams in their newest book Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. Is it inquiry? Problem Solving? Discussions? Problem-based Learning? Guided Practice? Direct Instruction? The answer is,“yes!” There is no one answer because flipped learning is not a set process or a single strategy. It is a transformation that focuses on learning rather than teaching.

The authors offer a deeper understanding of what flipped learning is, the benefits and implementation ideas. This book is a “why to” that answers many pedagogical questions about instruction. It offers a deeper explanation of individualized learning and learner-centric classrooms. If you’re looking for more (and better) ways to integrate technology into the classroom, you’ll find them here.

Transforming classrooms, faculty meetings, or professional development sessions can be difficult; however, this book offers scenarios and suggestions to keep you thinking.

Reviewed by Eve Diehl, Library Media Specialist, Parkway School District
In this book, Jonathon Bergmann and Aaron Sams first remind readers of the basic idea of the “flipped classroom,” in which direct instruction is given primarily through videos that students access outside of the class time, while in-class time is used for activities traditionally considered to be homework. The main focus of the book is to inspire teachers to move beyond these basics to the concept of “flipped learning,” which extends the idea of the flipped classroom. The introductory chapters describe some of the philosophy behind flipped learning and the key components that need to be present in the classroom to meet the model. The authors introduce us to the “One Question” that guides the flipped learning model, “What is the best use of face-to-face time with students?”

The book emphasizes the idea that flipped learning is a grassroots approach to educational reform. It is something meaningful that teachers can do to transform their classrooms, without depending upon a mandate from above. This is illustrated through the subsequent chapters of the book as we hear personal stories from teachers all over the country who are finding success with the flipped learning model. The stories come from a wide variety of content areas, including social studies, English and even physical education. The teachers reflect on the “One Question,” and all teachers in the book conclude that direct instruction is not the best use of face-to-face time; they realize that in-class time is more effective when it is student-centered, not teacher-centered.

One appealing aspect of all the personal stories is that they seem attainable since the teachers implement the flipped learning model through a gradual process. The teachers start off Year 1 at the basic “flipped classroom” level, where they mainly focus on making videos. Then, in subsequent years, they all realize the need to take the model further into flipped learning, which involves different things for different teachers and content areas. Some of the characteristics of flipped learning include allowing students to move through content at their own pace, demonstrating mastery of a topic in creative ways, interacting with and teaching peers and developing stronger relationships with their teachers so individual learning needs are met. This book provides a strong mix of theory and practice that will enable teachers to put the flipped classroom to work right away at whatever level they feel comfortable.

Purchase this book, and others, at METC. Or, order beforehand (at a discounted rate) and pick up your new reads at the conference.

2 thoughts on “Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement | METC Book Review

  1. Here’s another review of Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement from Melanie Moser, Middle School Spanish Teacher, The Principia School:

    Authors Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams are experienced teachers who were running into the same roadblocks that many teachers face, most concerning of which was unpredictable student engagement. They developed flipped learning in their classrooms over several years and saw how it opened a door to higher order thinking where students were at the helm of their own learning. In their book, Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement, Bergmann and Sams show (by way of their own experience and ten other profiled teachers) how the flipped classroom approach is not simply a management tool, but a stepping stone to deeper, more thought-provoking classroom environments. Most interestingly, these classrooms now include more Project Based Learning where student inquiry is the impetus behind learning and an archive of flipped videos support the students’ freedom to move through more complicated projects at their own pace.

    I would recommend this book to teachers who are already intrigued with the idea of flipping their instruction and open to exploring PBL and differentiation, because the authors detail how flipping their classrooms rerouted their (and others’) teaching practice toward more effectively engaging and motivating students to learn.

  2. Review by Christian Hagenlocher, Biology Teacher, Principia Upper School

    Written collaboratively by flipped classroom experts Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Achievement builds upon the authors’ popular book on Flipped Learning called Flip Your Classroom. For teachers not familiar with the Flipped Classroom method, I recommend reading it before Flipped Learning, however the authors review the nuts and bolts before building onto the idea. This book identifies the flipped classroom as only a starting point, with the ultimate goal: a student-centered classroom and authentic learning taking place.

    What Flipped Learning Is

    The current definition of a “flipped classroom” is when students watch teacher-created instructional videos at home, and complete worksheets, equations, and “homework-type” material in class. Bergmann and Sams credit this as a starting point, but encourage teachers to move beyond this, to carefully consider what is the best use of teacher/student time together. This approaches flipped learning, a learner-centric model where students are spending face-to-face time in class working on various inquiry-based activities, through differentiated instruction, promoting individualized learning. To support this, teacher-created videos can be used very effectively to deliver direct instruction at home, allowing class time to be spent doing more engaging activities, group discussions, and individualized differentiated instruction. There is no one “right” path or single method, which makes flipped learning so fun and exciting!

    Case Studies

    This book defines flipped learning, then addresses misconceptions about the flipped classroom (For example, flipped classrooms propagate bad pedagogy: busted!) Each chapter highlights the story of a different teacher, and their experience in shifting the way learning occurs in their own classroom. (Even a P.E. and English class!) The authors articulate clearly the challenges and ways to overcome various obstacles to transitioning to this process in your own classroom. Flipping your classroom is only a beginning point for flipped learning. Both authors have spent a lot of time refining their practice, and offer their own experience and others to help support you in shifting towards student-centered learning. There are numerous examples of methods, tools, teaching strategies, and forums for student feedback invaluable to the process. This combined experience is shared with you, the reader, in order to help you avoid the mistakes made by others. The humorous and well-thought out examples of different teachers on their journey to maximize student learning in a new, innovative, and exciting way is sure to invigorate and ignite the reader’s passion for their subject. It will make you want to try these ideas. I flipped my classroom before I finished this book, and by the time I was done, I can say I am well on my way to flipped learning. Will I ever get there? More than likely this journey will constantly evolve and change, but to see engaged, hard-working students going deeper and really demonstrating proficiency and mastery, and being free to work with them and mentor them in this journey instead of lecturing in class, is worth it.

    Change can be hard to make. But when student learning is the focus, administrators, teachers, and parents can all work together to find a medium that is student-centered, and student driven. After flipping my classroom while reading this book, the feedback I received from students drove the process from the bottom-up. Now, I can say I have begun an exciting journey. By reading this book with your students in mind, you can too.

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