Education majors tune in for ‘flipped classroom'

March 5, 2014

Indiana State University professors in the Teachers of Tomorrow Advancing Learning (TOTAL) program have incorporated an innovative teaching method into their course content.

A "flipped classroom" requires students to watch course-related videos outside of class time and apply what they learned to classroom discussion.

According to Beth Whitaker, professor of elementary, early, and special education, math instructors first developed the method after noticing students struggling to retain course content during homework assignments. The instructors began recording their lectures and required students to watch the videos outside of class time. The method proved beneficial because students were able to apply what they learned to classroom discussion or assignments, and they had the videos for reference.

"I've been very pleased," Whitaker said. "It allows more interaction with my students. We're not sitting there in a dark room watching a video; we're talking about the video they watched the night before. We're engaging. They were very receptive to the concept."

Elaine Gizewski and Katie Romoser, both elementary education majors, have used the flipped classroom concept and agree that it has been helpful in advancing their learning experience.

"You're using your time more effectively," said Gizewski, a senior from Osceola. "So these videos that you're watching are more instructional and you're learning a lot more than just usually a lecture...Then you're also getting to bring that back and analyze it and talk about it with everyone else."

TOTAL professors use electronic resources such as YouTube, TeacherTube and TED Talks along with E-reserves resources. The videos vary in length from about 10-15 minutes. One way professors ensure that their students are watching the videos is to assign a quiz when they walk into the classroom.

"It just makes so much sense to do it this way because I think that there are resources out there [that] I can recommend," Kathryn Bauserman, professor of elementary, early, and special education, said. "They get to hear [course content] from other people who are experts in the field."

Not only does flipped classroom help benefit students with broader educational sources and useful retention practices, but it also helps the instructors save time lecturing during class.

"The way the TOTAL semester is designed, [the students] spend over 300 hours during the semester in schools and so the amount of time that they can spend in the ISU classroom learning course content is much more limited than a traditional course," Bauserman said.

"I have the time to actually do [coursework] myself," said Romoser, a senior from New Palestine. "[I can] stop the video, go back [and] revisit some parts of the video again... I'm a slower worker, [so with this method] I'm not feeling pressure from the professor or from other students who are getting the information quicker than I am...that's not a limitation for me."

With its renovation to course content, flipped classroom has students applying what they learn outside of class to course discussion in a constructive way. It has also helped keep professors on their feet with researching videos and preparing classroom discussions.

"I just think it's really exciting to be able to be this efficient in helping share content that's important," Bauserman said. "It's [also] kind of rejuvenated my teaching too, that I spend a lot of time preparing and perfecting [course content]."

Contact: Kathryn Bauserman, associate professor, elementary, early, and special education, Bayh College of Education, Indiana State University, 812-237-2853 or kathryn.bauserman@indstate.edu

Writer: Sadie All, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or sall@sycamores.indstate.edu