While advocated as a new idea, it is really not. It is very common for a teacher to ask learners to study a lesson at home from a text book or a lesson sheet, then discuss it at the next classroom meeting[1].
The important contribution of the flipped classroom is how to best use the classroom time with the students, how to make the teaching process more efficient[2]. Its assertion is that teaching a new idea can be effectively replaced with video-playback: a teacher performing a lecture of a video recorded lesson, then the student can play it at will from home.

Tricot (pages 101-102) pointed that it looks like this way of teaching from the middle ages to renaissance, and antiquity (Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Rome): a lecture was performed on a topic (lectio), then the teacher commented the text and the students debated it (disputatio), finally the teacher provided a definitive interpretation of the text (determinatio). This way of teaching was disputed in the renaissance[3].

Research on the flipped classroom are still lacking, essentially to prove it makes learning more efficient[4]. Some researchers tried to elaborate that a video lesson can effectively replace a direct teaching lesson. It was proven that video courses are effective for learning ideas but not for teaching where video captures a dynamic system or gesture, where they are more effective. Moreover, the student must fully control the flow and it is more effective when used after the teaching![5] At the end, video does not provide better learning, but a different way of learning[6].

The main argument in favor of a flipped classroom is that a lecture can be effectively replaced by a video course. This assertion supposes there is no interaction at all in a lecture: the teacher does not have gestures on projected/exposed media, the teacher does pay attention to the student's reactions, the students does not ask questions, etc.[7] However research has proven teacher gestures consolidate the teaching processes. In the other direction, learners' gestures provide important feedback to the teacher to adjust his teaching[8].

Text, as opposed to video, is a permanent media. A sentence, once read, can be read again immediately[9]. For the learner it is very convenient to read forward or backward one or several paragraphs, at his own speed[10]. When required, the learner can annotate the text, write extra information, and questions for later interaction with the teacher, etc.

Dynabook implications

To flip his classroom, a teacher needs to produce documents to be used outside of the school by the learners. These documents need to be a course from which his students will learn the new ideas.

Research shows course videos are best to learn new ideas. The Dynabook should come with a tool to produce such videos with the following suggested features:
  • Facial capture. The Dynabook embedded camera will capture the teachers face, hopefully capturing any meaningful facial expressions or gestures.
  • Handwritten capture. Researches show that hand gestures are an important path of information for the learner. In the video, the teachers handwriting will be recorded as well. The pen pointer should behave on the recorded video as an extension of the teachers' hand: it could point to any area of the recorded video to provide gesture information. The cursor shape would change to convey additional information as a warning, important notice, etc. The feature will be teacher programmable by keys.
  • User malleable. How and what is captured on the video should be user flexible through the code. A teacher should be able to write his own video capture scenario, by code or preset options.
  • Shareable. From the classroom, the teacher could share his video course to the learners' Dynabook as easily as distributing a sheet of paper.
In terms of ease and comfort of use for the learner, the research shows text is still an unbeatable path for lessons. Moreover, dynamic simulations or models help to teach know-how and relations among situations.
Therefore, complementary to video, the teacher could produce dynamic media content. A mathematics teacher will write a text on Pythagorean theorem illustrated with interactive geometry and algebraic micro-worlds to let the learners explore the concepts, property, situation, etc.
It is interesting to note how Alan Kay's concept of dynamic media is still a new idea compared to the video course promoted in the flipped classroom, which is, after all, a modernization of the sixties TV color set.
Any opinion on the topic? If so leave a comment for further reflection.

Thanks to Michael Davis for his editing.


[1] A. Tricot, L'innovation pédagogique, Retz, 2017
[2] M. Lebrun, C. Gilson, C. Goffinet, Contribution à une typologie des classes inversées : éléments descriptifs de différents types, configurations pédagogiques et effets, Education et formation, e-306, revueeducationformation.be, 2017
[3] E. Durkheim, L'évolution pédagogique en France, PUF, 1938
[4] A. Mazur, B. Brown, M. Jacobsen, Learning designs using flipped classroom, Canadian journal of learning and technology, 41(2), 2015
[5] D. Zhang, L. Zhou, R.O. Briggs, J.F. Nunamaker, Instructional video in e-learning: assessing the impact of interactive video on learning effectiveness, Information & Management, 43, 2006
[6] C. Evans, The effectiveness of e-learning in the form of podcast revision lectures in higher education, Computers & Education, 50, 2008
[7] M.T. Chi, Active-constructive-interactive: a conceptual framework for differentiating learning activities. Topic in cognitive science, 2009
[8] S. Goldin-Meadow, S.M. Wagner, How our hands help us learn, Trends in cognitive sciences, 9, 2005
[9] W. Leahy, J. Sweller, Cognitive load theory, modality of presentation and the transient information effect, Applied cognitive psychology, 25, 2011
[10] A. Young, P.G. Bowers, Individual difference and text difficulty determinants of reading fluency and expressiveness, Journal of experimental child psychology, 60, 1995