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If You Can Be Replaced by a Video, You Should Be

Good Teachers are More Vital Than Ever in the Flipped Classroom

One of the (many) forms of resistance that can come from educators when they first learn about the concept of flipped instruction is the fear that someone is out to replace them with videos. This is absolutely not the case. That being said, if you can be replaced by a video, you should be.

I have to credit and applaud Jon Bergmann, who made that bold statement during a presenting that he and fellow leading flipped classroom advocate Aaron Sams gave to the hundreds of participants at FlipCon14. This was the 7th annual flipped teaching and learning conference, and it was a testament to the growing presence and impact of this teaching technique.

Flipped Classroom Graphic

No matter how brilliant of a lecturer you might be, if you aren’t doing anything more interactive and personalized with your students, then you are not excelling as a teacher. Even the most inspiring, stimulating, thought provoking lecture can be captured on video and played back, and that is a powerful tool in and of itself. But good teaching is so much more than just lecture.

As flipped teaching and learning techniques continue to take hold at schools across the world and across the spectrum of grades and academic subject areas, many teachers are moving from “Flip 1.0” to “Flip 2.0”. They are learning to make the most of the valuable time being made available in the classroom. This is a key deliverable of the flipped classroom – changing how you use face-to-face time with students. This is when teachers can truly shine, and make a real difference.

Some of the most inspiring moments at FlipCon14 were when teachers shared their stories about students who didn’t have a lot of support at home and how they were able to provide the nurturing environment they required in the classroom in order to embrace learning. A well designed flipped classroom can provide the one-on-one opportunities that can bring the best out in students. Another wonderful opportunity flipped learning brings is the possibility of enabling advanced students to move forward into deeper learning or get a jump start on new material.

But none of this is possible if class time is used for rote lecture delivery and little more. The days of using class time for content delivery and then sending students home to struggle with application need to be behind us. Technology, and impassioned educators, have equipped us to toll the death knoll for the age old one-size-fits-all approach to school. Teachers who want to do the best job that they can realize this and they are embracing change and flipping or blending their classrooms. Goodbye “Sage on the Stage”, Hello “Guide on the Side”.

Which bring us back to where we started – if you can be replaced by a video, you should be. If you’re afraid that might apply to you, don’t let it.  You’re better than that and your students deserve more.


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