Does Flipping Your Classroom Increase Homework Time?


The following is excerpted from ASCD and ISTE’s new book, Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. Through September 5, 2012, get 15 percent off this book with promo code Z73IS.

Doesn’t flipping increase homework time, especially if students watch videos for multiple classes?

At least in our case, the amount of time students spend viewing videos is approximately the same amount of time they used to spend doing homework. And in many cases this is reduced because in the traditional model, students who struggled with the content spent a much greater amount of time on the assignments they didn’t understand. Our students who have more than one class with a video assignment don’t report a greater amount of homework than before.

Another common concern that comes up regarding homework has to do with whether or not homework should even be given. We are not going to discuss the philosophical and practical matters of whether homework has a place in education, but we do have some insight if you would like to flip your class in a setting with a no-homework culture or policy. A teacher interested in flipping in a setting such as this would have to design her class so that all the work (viewing videos, class work, assessment) could be done in class during school. This would most likely look like an asynchronous mastery class. Interestingly, some of our more efficient students have realized that they work quickly enough to complete all their work in our classes. These students don’t do anything, including watching videos, outside of class.

Remember, a flipped class does not have to have videos, nor do the videos have to be viewed at home. The goal of flipping a classroom is to remove attention from the teacher and place it on the learner. If videos are to be used, and if they are to be viewed in class, then adequate and equable access to appropriate technology must be in place before embarking on this endeavor. This should not dissuade the potential “flipper,” but it must be addressed before moving in this direction.

It would be unethical to create an educational environment in which some students could participate and others could not. But conscientiously dealing with equity issues before embarking on a flipped class would allow any teacher to adopt the model in any circumstance. As educators we must never dismiss a teaching tool simply because the potential for inequity exists. Just because a flipped classroom would not be appropriate in one setting does not mean it should not be adopted in another setting. We should think creatively, solve the problem at hand, and pursue what is best for our students. Inequity exists only because we let it exist.

Create an equitable learning environment and proceed; if you cannot create an equitable environment, then do not flip.