Turn your classroom upside down!

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If you attended the Food for thought last week on Naked Teaching you may also be interested in a related teaching strategy called the Inverted Classroom.  In a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Teach-Naked-Effort-Strips/47398/) Jose Bowen urged his colleagues to “teach naked,” a phrase he coined to describe class time that is technology-free and focused on discussion. While Brown does argue that that such classes are actually more engaging to students he does not offer a solid strategy for how one can go about teaching naked.  This is where the inverted classroom comes in!

The inverted classroom is not about physical inversion (no one has to stand on their heads!), but rather it is a reference to an inversion of content.  In the inverted classroom students are expected to review materials that would normally be presented in class, including the lecture, outside of class time.  This frees class time up to focus on discussion, collaborative work, and engagement with the other activities that are traditionally done outside of class.  Typically instructors using this model of teaching will record a short lecture for students to view in place of the traditional lecture.  Students are expected to view this lecture as well as review any supplemental materials before coming to class.

Students have reported an acceptance of the inverted classroom model as well as increased engagement with collaborative activities in the classroom.  Both of these are positive outcomes to the inverted classroom model!

If you are interested in further reading you may find Using the Inverted Classroom to Teach Software Engineering by Gannod el al. (2008, http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1368088.1368198) to be an interesting overview of the process of inverting a classroom.  The paper offers a detailed look at inversion in a CS classroom as well as an overview of student perceptions.

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Gannod, G. C., Burge, J. E., and Helmick, M. T. 2008. Using the inverted classroom to teach software engineering. In Proceedings of the 30th international Conference on Software Engineering (Leipzig, Germany, May 10 – 18, 2008). ICSE ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 777-786. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1368088.1368198

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