I am sensing a problem with flipped classrooms…

I am writing my dissertation proposal, trying desperately to build a literature review about the uses of the internet in today’s classroom.  I have struggled from the beginning finding up-to-date sources in printed, easy-to-cite sources such as journals. I am to the point where all I need are some secondary print articles to tie it together, at least the part I’m working on right now, flipped classrooms. Trouble is, the data. I can’t find it.

It is now 6:14 local time, and I have been looking for current data, even in ancdotal form, to support the use of the flipped classroom model since before noon. In six hours of intense internet research, using all of the many tools at my disposal, I found one article. And it was firewalled behind a pay-per-view screen (Thanks, Detroit Free Press). SImilar searches for the past few days have not been any more successful.

But isn’t the flipped classroom the hottest thing going in education today? Aren’t schools all over the country, switching to this model?


And I found zillions of blogs showing how to do it well, how to do it better, and the best ways to flip. I found oodles of teachers who now enjoy teaching because of the flip model, and oodles of accounts from teachers explaining how much their students were learning.

But no one is writing about the results. At least, so few that dredging them up is becoming a chore beyond what it should be. Want 1:1 data? All over the place. Want evidence of learning in online settings, you got it. But the flipped classroom concept, while being easily one of the most talked about and blogged about phenomena in education, one that makes perfect sense to most educators, has an alarmingly emaciated wealth of supporting data.

I believe teachers do not do things in their classrooms long term unless they see success, so I will go on the record saying I believe there is something very positive about this model.

But without some data, without some real evidence of not just the implementation of the model, but sustained success that comes of it, there is cause for concern.

If there is no data to support its success, either the results are being seen as underperforming expectations, or fully committed educators implementing this system may be more rare than thought.

Bloggers love to talk about the flipped classroom because it seems to work. I challenge these pioneers to write some action research or papers to prove it.


5 thoughts on “I am sensing a problem with flipped classrooms…

  1. With the flipped classroom still being relatively “new”, there is a ton of research being done currently. I know of several of my colleagues doing doctoral dissertations or action research for their Masters currently. However, there is some stuff that has been published. You can find several great resources at flipteaching.com (under resources) and flipped-learning.com (under “Learn more” –> “Research”). I have also collected data on my test scores this year, and although I will not be putting it together in a formal report, I did do some basic comparisons of the improvement I saw. All of that information is on my blog here: http://flippingwithkirch.blogspot.com/p/flip-data.html

    I hope that helps!

  2. Hmmmm, collecting and interpreting data on flipped classrooms sounds like something that would make a great dissertation! Now if you only knew someone about to start on a dissertation . . .

    One good place to look would be:
    I’m surprised you haven’t made your way to Ramsey Masallum’s page yet! So many of the flipped websites out there reference him or even link to him.

    Best of luck!

  3. I think another factor to consider when looking for such research is the diversity in flipped classrooms. What is happening in the flipped classroom can be very different from one classroom to the next – Inquiry, Mastery, Critical Q’s, PBL……… All purposeful student centred strategies, but quite different with the challenges they address. I would say flipping is the common tool that creates time for great Pedagogy (nobody who flips wants to give it away for this reason). However, I wouldn’t be surprised if implementation of the ‘in class’ strategies has a greater influence on student learning rather than looking at where the instruction occurs (at home or at school). Research of flipped classrooms is likely to be very summative and actually represent some very different classrooms. Alternatevly research into the ‘in class’ strategies will probably have a priority for many and may offer a more specific insight into shifting instructional practice.

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