allow them the flexibility to explore
things they find interesting.
A growing subculture of flipped
learning teachers are using extra time
in class for their students to explore
their passions. This has become
an adaptation of the “genius hour.”
( geniushour.com) Teachers devote
10–20% of their class time to letting
kids explore what they are interested
in. Students are still held accountable
for what they learn, but the content
they are learning during this time is
up to them.
The level of freedom you give them
can vary. For example, if you are using the genius hour approach (goo.
gl/uaSi5) in a sixth grade social studies class, you may require your students to focus on some historical or
cultural question but leave the door
open for them to work on something
interesting to them, such as making a
documentary film, learning to prepare
foods from a different culture, or exploring the art of another country.
Since flipped learning puts an
emphasis on maximizing class time,
many have decided to take learning
further by exploring project-based
learning (PBL). As John Larmer describes in his article “Debunking Five
Myths about Project-Based Learning,” one of the main concerns that
prevents teachers from adopting PBL
is the fear that content will have to be
sacrificed ( goo.gl/h6IF3). Many teachers who combine flipped learning
with PBL find that using video as an
instructional resource lets them maintain the delivery of content while creating time to engage students in PBL.
Some teachers have even abandoned
the content delivery as a pre-teaching
tool and use video within the context
of the project to intervene with instruction as students need it.
The illustration on page 20 shows
some of the paths that different teachers have taken as they move to deeper
student engagement. We are not
saying that you have to use flipped
learning to use PBL, peer instruction, or any of the other models in
the graphic, but many educators have
used Flipped Class 101 as a gateway to
these learning strategies, which can in
turn take learning deeper and further.
We can’t cover all the ways teachers
are using flipped learning in this short
article, but many more examples are
in our upcoming book, Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement,
which ISTE is launching in June.
We continue to see teachers start
with Flipped Class 101 and then move
to more active and engaging models of
education. Flipped learning is proving
to be a gateway for teachers to move
to deeper strategies and transform
their classrooms into dynamic, interactive learning environments where
the educator’s role is to guide students
as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.
After 24 years as a science teach-
er, Jon Bergmann is now dedi-
cated to writing, speaking, and
promoting flipped learning. A
recipient of the Presidential
Award for Excellence in Math
and Science, Bergmann helps
educators develop ideas and materials for their
An educator since 2000, Aaron
Sams is director of digital learn-
ing and admissions at the Re-
formed Presbyterian Theological
Seminary in Pittsburgh, Penn-
sylvania. He too received the
Presidential Award for Excel-
lence in Math. Sams advocates for student-centered
learning environments, conducts workshops, and
delivers keynotes to promote their implementation.
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Through the shifting of lower cognitive tasks from the group to the
individual, flipped learning gives educators the opportunity to explore
possible ways to engage students and allow them the flexibility to
explore things they find interesting.