Video is Not the Answer

The flipped class has been coming up more and more in discussions and blog posts recently. My guess is that it has something to do with Salman Khan’s lucrative relationship with Bill Gates and the media’s attention on their speaking tours. I feel like a broken record with this post, but it is something that needs to be written again.

The flipped class is not about the videos.

Popular media sees the flipped classroom as video being used in the classroom to teach children. I would like to state again that video can be used in the classroom to help differentiate for all learners. The flipped classroom started this way, but it has evolved into so much more than using videos in the class when implemented effectively.

Video itself will not help kids achieve more in your class. The flipped classroom is about making connections with learners and differentiating your instruction. If videos are a part of that multi-faceted plan, great. If they are not, still great. The flipped class is an ideology, not a methodology.

Personally, I use video because it is a tool that helps me meet remediation needs for learners that have missed class or for learners that just need more time with material. For chemistry, I am in my second year using a flipped class, and the video has taken a huge jump to the backseat as I have more time to work on engaging class activities and labs. Again, video is for remediation and review rather than content delivery.

There has been more positive news coming around about the flipped class being used in great ways across the country. For instance, Troy Cockrum was featured in an NPR article that looked at YouTube being used in the classroom. I’m glad Troy brought it around to the connections made with learners, because that is the true power of the model. Another talks about everything except the videos, again, because they are the least important part of the model. Earlier this month, Aaron Sams wrote a fantastic piece of theimplementation styles of a flipped class. Again, none of these methods rely solely on video or even use video at all. It is an idea, not a method.

The video isn’t important. The relationships, the discussions, and the experiences matter. We know that already. Regardless of what methods or ideas you use in your room, let’s continue to focus on what helps learners learn best.

This is mainly in response to the #edchat discussion on October 11, 2011 and David Wees’ blog post about using Khan Academy as content delivery in his class. Both the chat and David are great and I appreciate the challenges and direction they’ve both contributed to my growth.

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