By: Carol Emmens
Lecture hall seats are often empty now as college and universities increase or initiate “flipped learning” or “inverted” classrooms. In a flipped classroom what is normally done in class e.g. lectures and what is normally done as homework are switched or flipped. In a flipped classroom, students read materials or listen to audio and view video podcasts before coming to class.
Using capture systems and video conferencing, lectures and PowerPoint presentations are stored remotely in a “cloud” and made available online, generally through the Internet. Homework such as problem solving and essay writing is done in class with both professors and peers guiding the students.
Now scores of classrooms resemble corporate huddle rooms or medical and scientific labs. Class time is reserved for hands on learning, discussions in small groups and collaboration instead of note taking. Flipped classrooms provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and to apply what they learned in the online lecture. It also provides students with more time to use scientific equipment in class and to utilize healthcare simulation labs which prepare them for real life health problems and emergencies.
There are two aspects to the “flipped classroom:” online learning and classrooms with the audiovisual equipment to allow content sharing and analysis. Professors usually create their own video lectures. Although it takes time and skill to do a video, it is becoming easier as manufacturers bring new equipment for video capture and dissemination to the market. The equipment is becoming easier to use and numerous, affordable storage solutions are readily available. In addition to their own videos, videos by publishers, and professional use apps; course materials are often posted to YouTube or managements systems like Blackboard.
Retrofitting classrooms for the digital world is likewise becoming easier. There are products that make it possible to connect devices with different signals and connectors, multiple control options, and interactive flat screen devices and whiteboards.
Video podcasts or video courses are audiovisual files distributed via the Internet. They are not the sole source of instruction and differ from MOOCs or massive open online courses. MOOC’s such as those offered by MIT are often open to anyone not just enrolled students.
Because clouds based storage makes it easy to store and share information, many universities are members of consortiums such as Unizen which includes the University of Michigan, Indiana University, Colorado State University, Penn State, the University of Florida and others. They share lectures, lesson plans and research and make course materials and information available from the best minds in education, organizations and corporations. The authorships are noted.
The Open Cloud Consortium (OCC), which is one of many worldwide, operates a cloud to support scientific, medical and health care research; it members include the University of California (Berkeley), Florida International University, Johns Hopkins, NASA, international universities and organization such as AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology). OCC, in turn, has joined Matter, a workspace in Chicago with all types of rooms and AV/IT resources. Matter is a partner with the American Medical Association, and shares the same goal: to bring entrepreneurs and physicians together to “collaborate and test new technologies, services and products.” Research universities are among those that benefit the most from flipped classrooms.
Technology, used effectively, is not a mindless way to teach but a way to open minds and to create paths to success. When flipped classrooms are introduced, both professors and students are often skeptical but not for long. They often flip their opinions on flipped classrooms once they have experienced the positive results: grades and attendance go up, retention increases, team skills improve and applications of the course materials are discussed, analyzed and demonstrated.
Zeo Systems expertly trained technicians can assist you in determining the equipment you need to adjust today’s classroom to today’s technology. Flat panel displays, video and projection systems, microphone and voice systems, or complete control systems; No matter if we are integrating new technology to an existing system or building a new one from scratch, you can count on Zeo Systems to help you capture or record lectures and to design the audiovisual systems needed for your institution to successfully implement flipped classrooms.